Study: Cannabis Use Associated With Immunological Benefits In HIV Patients

Seattle, WA: Cannabis use in patients with HIV is associated with reduced inflammation and immunological benefits, according to clinical data published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Investigators from the University of Washington, Seattle and the University of California, San Francisco assessed the impact of cannabis use on immune cell frequency, activation, and function in 198 HIV-infected patients.

Authors reported: “[W]e found that heavy cannabis use … in HIV-infected, ART-treated individuals was associated with lower frequencies of activated CD4 and CD8 T cells compared to frequencies of these cells in non-cannabis using individuals. This novel finding is important given that elevated levels of T-cell activation have been associated with lower CD4 T-cell gains following ART (anti-retroviral therapy) and with mortality in this population.”

They concluded, “[O]ur work suggests that cannabinoids may have an immunological benefit in the context of HIV infection, as lowering the frequency of activated T cells could limit the risk of development of non-AIDS-associated comorbidities.”

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “Cannabis use associated with reductions in activated and inflammatory immune cell frequencies in anti-retroviral therapy-treated human immunodeficiency infected individuals,” appears in Clinical Infectious Diseases. Additional studies assessing the safety and efficacy of cannabis in patients with HIV/AIDS is available online.