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Top 5 Benefits of Cannabis for HIV/AIDS

Medicinal marijuana is well known for being effective at easing symptoms in HIV/AIDS sufferers. Its analgesic and anti-emetic effects are just a few reasons why so many HIV patients report using cannabis. But indirect effects, like promoting a healthy appetite can also be helpful. How does it do all this? Here’s what the research so far tells us.

HIV/AIDS refers to a group of conditions caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Around 37.9 million people worldwide are infected with HIV in 2018, with nearly 39,000 people in the US alone was diagnosed with it in 2017. AIDS has caused approximately 32 million deaths since the start of the epidemic, and roughly a 770,000 people died from it in 2018.

There are many symptoms and health problems that can arise with HIV/AIDS. Thus, there’s an enormous need for not only viable cures, but treatments to ease symptoms. While it’s no cure, cannabis has been shown to be extremely effective at treating several important symptoms of HIV/AIDS.

1. THC can help increase appetite

Loss of appetite is often reported by people with HIV, but it’s important for them to avoid weight loss. When loss of appetite becomes an issue, cannabis can be used to improve appetite.

A 2005 survey conducted on 523 HIV-positive patients found that 143 (27%) of the respondents used cannabis to manage their symptoms. An overwhelming 97% of them reported that they experienced improvements in appetite.

In 2007, a double-blind study was conducted examining the effects of smoked cannabis and oral dronabinol (a synthetic form of THC). This study found that both cannabis and dronabinol increased caloric intake compared to placebo, in a dose-dependent manner in HIV-positive cannabis users.

Recent research (2018) says that cannabis vapour (used to simulate how people commonly consume cannabis) results in more frequent meals, although they’re smaller. When used on lab rats, it triggered them to eat, even though they had already eaten recently. So it’s believed to somehow trick the brain’s appetite sensors into sensing hunger.

In the 2017 study, food consumption averaged 404 kcal across the board, but dronabinol and cannabis caused a significant shift in distribution of nutrient intake. When given a placebo, patients derived 51% of their nutrients from carbohydrates, 36% from fat, and 13% from protein. But when given either dronabinol or cannabis, this changed:

  • Dronabinol – Fat consumption increased to 40% and carbohydrate consumption decreased.
  • Cannabis – Protein consumption dropped to 11% while fat consumption tended to increase.

When given high doses of cannabis and dronabinol, patients experienced significant increases in body weight, too. Under placebo conditions, the respondents’ mean weight was 77.5 kg; after four days of cannabis, patients gained 1.1 kg, and after four days of dronabinol, patients gained 1.2 kg.

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2. Help ease nausea with cannabis

Nausea is a common symptom of HIV infection, and as the disease progresses, the causes of the nausea can become increasingly complex. Nausea may arise due to gastrointestinal issues, hepatorenal dysfunction, central nervous system disorders, or as a result of treatments used to treat the disease.

The ability of cannabinoids and certain synthetic analogues to counter the symptoms of nausea in HIV/AIDS patients is well-known. Cannabidiol eases vomiting & nausea by indirectly activating a specific serotonin-receptor in the dorsal raphe nucleus (a specific location on the midline of the brainstem).

In fact, the THC analogue dronabinol is approved by the US Food & Drug Administration for the treatment of nausea and appetite loss associated with cancer and HIV. An early study into the dronabinol as a treatment for AIDS-induced appetite loss was published in 1995, and found that patients experienced an average 20% improvement in nausea.

The previously-mentioned 2005 patient survey found that 93% of HIV-positive cannabis users reported subjective improvements in nausea after smoking. Another 2005 study found that among HIV-positive patients experiencing nausea, those who used cannabis were more likely to adhere to their anti-retroviral therapies than non-users. Patients not suffering from nausea did not experience significant improvements in adherence if they used cannabis, indicating that adherence was increased by improving symptoms of nausea.

3. Cannabis may help boost mood and act as an antidepressant

Anxiety, depression, and mood disorders are a common feature of HIV/AIDS, and can arise due to a combination of negative physiological, psychological, and social pressures. The 2005 patient survey found that 93% of respondents experienced relief of anxiety after using cannabis, while 86% reported an improvement in depression too.

The above-mentioned 2007 double-blind study into cannabis and dronabinol found that both substances improved respondents’ mood and caused a “good drug effect” that increased feelings of friendliness, stimulation, and self-confidence. Interestingly, lower doses of THC seemed to provoke higher rates of anxiety in the subjects than higher doses of THC, or dronabinol at any dose.

Related post

Cannabis and Asthma: Top 4 Benefits & Do’s and Don’ts for Patients

4. Using cannabis as an analgesic to reduce pain

HIV/AIDS can cause severe and debilitating pain that arises from various complex sources, including joint, nerve, and muscle pain. A 2011 cross-sectional study on 296 socioeconomically disadvantaged patients found that 53.7% had severe pain, 38.1% had moderate pain, and 8.2% had mild pain. Over half the subjects had a prescription for an opioid analgesic. More severe pain was also found to correlate with incidences of depression.

The 2005 patient survey found that 94% of respondents experienced relief from muscle pain as a result of using cannabis. 90% also reported improvement in neuropathy (nerve pain) and 85% in paresthesia (burning, tingling and prickling sensations).

The fact that cannabis can provide significant long-term subjective relief of chronic pain in HIV/AIDS sufferers is noteworthy. Safer and potentially-cheaper medications that could replace use of opioids in disadvantaged groups could have several positive ramifications, including a decline in opioid-related deaths and increased availability of medicine to those in need.

5. Cannabis may reduce peripheral neuropathy

A specific and particularly common form of pain associated with HIV/AIDS is peripheral neuropathy, in which one or more nerves of the peripheral nervous system (any part of the nervous system outside the brain and spinal cord) become damaged and lead to pain, twitching, paresthesia, muscle loss, and impaired coordination. It has been shown that cannabis may help improve symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in HIV/AIDS, as well as in other conditions in which it appears, such as diabetes.

Beyond the above-mentioned subjective reports of reduced nerve pain and paraesthesia, several other studies have assessed the ability of cannabis to improve peripheral neuropathy in HIV/AIDS patients.

In 2007, a patient survey conducted in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Colombia and Taiwan found that 67 of 450 patients with peripheral neuropathy reported use of cannabis to improve their symptoms.

A randomized placebo-controlled trial also published in 2007 found that pain was reduced by over 30% in 52% of the cannabis-using group and by just 24% of the control group, and that there were no serious adverse effects. The first joint smoked by the cannabis-using patients reduced chronic pain by a median of 72% compared to 15% in the placebo group.

In 2009, a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial into the effectiveness of cannabis in reducing HIV-associated polyneuropathy found that of 28 subjects, neuropathy was reduced by over 30% in 46% of the cannabis-using group and 18% of the control group. It also found that mood physical disability, and quality of life were improved by a similar degree throughout the course of the study.

Comments

51 thoughts on “Top 5 Benefits of Cannabis for HIV/AIDS”

I had sex with a guy that has hiv for about 4 to 5 months now, the condom breaks, he deposited some cemen in me which after I went to toilet and do some hot water drip. Though I don’t know about his status not until 8 days day later. But I was advised by a doctor to take immunace and fruits. Though he is taking drugs written N33. He smokes marijuan, and alcohol occasionally. I was scared of contracting it. I rushed to hiv office after 13 days that’s 3 of this month i was advised to take white vitamin c in large quantities, to be eaten fruits daily, to be taking immunace at night, vitamin c morning, i was also given the new prep which am taking every 10 am daily for 30 days. I ask if am going to be safe after these treatments. What if the Marijuana and alcohol has affected his drugs. Am sure he too his drugs completely for about 3 months.

Thank you for your comment. We are sorry to hear about your situation. As Sensi Seeds is not a medical agency or practitioner, we cannot give any kind of medical advice other than to consult your registered healthcare professional.

You may also find it helpful to contact a support group for medicinal cannabis patients. In the UK there is the United Patients Alliance, and throughout much of the rest of the world there is NORML, who should be able to put you in touch with a group in your area (search United Patients Alliance or NORML followed by your area name).

With best wishes,

Black seeds ground with honey will make you negative in a year or two. Additionally you can add cbd oil with high THC or juicing plant for complete remission

[Editor’s note – I am posting this in the interests of freedom of communication and opinion but would like to remind everyone that there are no scientific studies or evidence referenced with this comment and you should always consult a registered medical professional before stopping or starting any course of medication – Scarlet]

dude are you still alive start talking meds man

I am 21 and was diagnosed positive 2 weeks ago with a CD4 count of 48. I just started my Antivirals yesterday with other Profilaxis meds. I also have PCP. an I smoke pot? And How will i know if its medical marijuana? Are all marijuana plants medicinal?

Thank you for your comment. We are sorry to hear about your situation. As Sensi Seeds is not a medical agency or practitioner, we cannot give any kind of medical advice other than to consult our registered healthcare professional. This article about the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis might be useful for you to show your healthcare provider if they are not familiar with it.

You may also find it helpful to contact a support group for medicinal cannabis patients. In the UK there is the United Patients Alliance, and throughout much of the rest of the world there is NORML, who should be able to put you in touch with a group in your area (search United Patients Alliance or NORML followed by your area name).

This are our pages on medicinal cannabis and medicinal cannabis strains, which you might also find interesting.

With best wishes,

I’m a young Colombian guy who has also a story to share as you all. I’ve been raped by two guys… Since that episode I’ve been dealing not only with my HIV treatment but I also developed a bipolar diagnosis as well due to the trauma.

Today I can say that I’m a young happy Colombian guy! And yes, cannabis has been an amazing help for both diagnosis, to help with my sickness, I’ve been gaining weight again, I’m doing sports as well and as an artist I find my self in peace to continue with my art work.

My parents are pastors, so as you may imagine we have discussed about the use of this plant. But even if you believe in God or no, I can tell you that this plant is one of the best creations that we discovered and its responsable and conscious use has helped me and I’m sure it helps a lot of people around the globe.

Cheer up! Remember: You may have a disease, but the disease does not have you.

Thanks for the post, much love to you all!

Thank you for your comment and for sharing your story with us. I am very glad to hear that cannabis helps you, and your outlook on life is truly inspiring. Much love to you too!

With best wishes,

I am 57 and HIV+ for 17 years since 2001.
1st off, I see a post here of a person feeling very destitute and that he is not going to live long.
What u have learned is that there is no golden rule of “one size fits all”.
Everyone seem to have different experiences.
There are people that are doing excellent on medication and functioning normal.
Then there are people that seem to get all the side effects of the medicine, depression, Pherifiral Neuropathy, permanently fatigue, headaches, mussle dystrophy etc.
I have been one of those unlucky ones.
I have also become Diabetic Type1 5 years ago. (If I had to choose between the 2, I’d rather get HIV 3 times than Diabetes Type1 once.
It is really a dreadful decease and tic’s all the negative boxes.
I also suffer from severe Lower Back Pain for which I use to take pain medication that is bad for your gut and just alround bad for one.
A year ago I decided to experiment with Cannabis Oil for the pain.
Well I was so surprised, my pain was taken care off within a couple of days and still 90% pain free.
With my last routine blood tests after being on the Cannabis Oil for a year, my CD4 count was 1598, were as before it would never rise above 1000.
I am convinced it is as a result of the Oil.
Under supervising of my Cannabis Oil Thetapist, Doctor and a specialist in Holistic Healing, I have decided to cycle off ARV’s and Anti Depressants and see what results the Oil give me after 6 months.
It is my decisions to do the trial and am quite exited about it.
Why am I doing this?
Because my quality of life has become so poor, and I am hopeful that without all the toxic medicine my quality will improve.
I will keep a Journal to track my experiences.

Hey Rene, any updates?

I got my diagnosis of being HIV positive and I thought it was going to ruin my life. I thought it was a death sentence even though I knew about how good the antiretroviral therapy medication is and I’m a veteran so I’m lucky that I have the VA. Either way the meds really do a number of my stomach with nausea, and while I can’t say for sure when I contracted HIV I have suffered from depression and neuropathy, chronic inflammation/pain and other ailments from it. Regardless, the VA hospital wants to prescribe me painkillers and nerve medications to take round the clock that make me feel like a zombie and a junkie. What I have found is that medical cannabis has alleviated my symptoms of nerve pain, chronic pain and inflammation, increases my appetite and eases my nausea, and as well I firmly believe it has been a contributing factor at helping to keep my viral load at undetectable levels. The reason I can say this with a relative degree of certainty is that at one point my PCP made me choose between opiates or Marijuana and I thought I needed opiates more and so I chose them and my next blood test showed for the first time since being on Antiretroviral Therapy and not on Marijuana a detectable viral load. Granted it was very low (only 54.4 copies/ml) and by many tests would still be considered undetectable/suppressed and my doctor described it as a small viral blip, I still found it to be ironic that the one time since diagnosed the only variablestjat had changed in my life were that I had stopped using marijuana and kept using opiates to treat pain. The doctors and big Pharmaceutical companies don’t want to admit what many of us living with this
disease already know and that is that it helps us in more ways than they want to admit. The federal government classifies marijuana as Schedule I but Marinol/Dronabinol as Schedule III. Can anyone explain that to me? Anyways, long story short, I live in Texas, and I have HIV, and I’m married to a woman that loves me unconditionally who doesn’t have HIV. Because I have HIV doesn’t make me any less worthy of being loved or make me any less of a person. I didn’t ask for this disease. I fight it every day. But unfortunately until the draconian in Texas laws change I’m a Criminal because I use a plant to help me fight my disease. Thank you for reading my post. I welcome all comments or questions.

Hi, Ryan. I don’t know enough to answer you about the schedules, but I’m happy to hear that you have a great support group and a working treatment. Not everybody has that kind of privilege. I also wonder if you’ve stopped taking opiates and go back to marijuana. I hope you are healthy and safe wherever you are.
I shared this great article and discussions with my friends hoping that it will inspire more people to fight the disease.

Thanks for your comment. Yes I’m still using MMJ, and haven’t taken opiates since making the decision of marijuana over opiates. My viral load is still undetectable and my wife recently tested Negative again. My CD4 count is 850+ which is great considering it was like 400 At diagnosis. Marijuana has helped me get my life back and has helped me maintain a healthy weight by stimulating my appetite. When my stomach starts to get the bubble guts I take a little tincture or smoke a little and within minutes my stomach settles down and I’m able to have relief. It’s helped me with nerve pain also. It’s a game changer for me.

From what I read above this site should not be promoting “NOT TAKING YOUR MEDS” for HIV and using Cannabis as a ‘REPLACEMENT” for the life saving HIV meds now available. I would hate to be the person that runs this website and have it proven someone dies because they took the advice off of here. It is the meds that stop the growth of the virus and bring it down to an”UNDETECTABLE” level. Only then do your CD 4″s start to rebuild themselves and it takes a long time (years) before your CD 4 levels will stabilize. Yes Cannabis is great for all kinds of patients wanting to relive themselves of pain, depression, inflammation and on and on and on but it is no wonder drug like some here think it is. One guy on here said he was depressed but then smoked some cannabis and then felt great and then said he did not need meds ?? Yeah you feel great because the drug makes you feel great but that does not mean your health has improved from the HIV. People think that because they feel fine that they are healthy but in the meantime they are losing the battle inside their bodies to the vicious HIV virus. Don’t be a fool use both your HIV meds and Cannabis together and it will work.

Thanks for your comment. Nowhere in the article is it recommended, or even suggested, that people should stop taking or reduce their medication. It would be irresponsible of us to send any such signals, and as an authoritative site on cannabis, we are always careful to stress that we are not a medical practice and cannot give any kind of medical advice. This article is concerned only with ways in which cannabis can help alleviate symptoms of HIV and AIDS, and/or side effects of treatment. Each way is backed up with scientific studies and evidence.

Comments left by our readers are only edited for reasons of offense, external links, clarity, and so forth, so approving a comment does not equal endorsement of the views expressed in it. Sensi Seeds emphatically does not recommend substituting cannabis for any treatment prescribed by a medical professional.

I hope this clarifies our position, and the information provided in the article.

With best wishes,

Hiv isn’t a scary disease I am currently in a relationship with a Hiv positive person and aslong as u take your meds as advised ull be ok.. He smokes weed too and I worry it will make his immune system weak or make his medz ineffective but from your comments am alittle at ease..

Look up Rick Simpson Phoenix tears tells u about cannabis oil which prevents hiv from spreading
My blood came up negative whilst taking the oil……
Try it
He shows you how to make YOUR own oil

Is it real? Cannabis oil can cure hiv positive turn to hiv negative?

Only HIV antiviral meds can turn HIV positive to undetectable. Cannabis oil can help with the symptoms of HIV, improve appetite, reduce joint pain etc.

Can you smoke your marijuana whiles taking medication

There is so much to say….my question is there any alternative way you can be heal by natural plants herbs etc. any doctor or person with experience can answer that question for me.

What a wonderful advise, I just found out that m HIV positive was feeling horrible but after I started smoking marijuana I feel free and believe we can leave as much as our time while taking my medication

I havent got my test back but im scare and my boyfriend is with me all the way i was resurching online to see what i can do and i read the comments yall helped alot

I ve been using it to cure diseases for 5 decades
its so great…

Just wanted to know if HIV people can smoke cannibas to help lower the HIV in the body system. I am a stoner of 8 years here soon and wanted to know if someone like me can still take HIV medication and smoke cannibas to maintain a healthy lifestyle

Ive heard that cannibas oil stops the spread of hiv and i have been taking it my test results came back negative
Read Rick Simpson Phoenix tears on fb he shows u how to make it

Could you tell me please. What quantify of oil did you take per day?

I have lived HIV positive since 2010 I started on my Antivirals after 3years when I became pregnant. I gave birth to a healthy baby. But viral load was 315 and I kept taking medication now it’s UN detachable. I have been juicing fresh leaves of marijjuana canabise and drink. Or boil the fresh leaves.

I hope Alex would respond to my reply to his comment.

Medicinal cannabis can be effective at easing symptoms in HIV/AIDS sufferers. These include stimulating appetite, and reducing both pain and nausea.

CBD and HIV – November 2020

Does CBD work for HIV?

  • Scientists believe that CBD and THC impact one’s health by interacting in different ways with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Consuming medical cannabis also affects the immune system directly (1 ) .
  • Studies have shown that CBD might effectively help boost immunity and provide relief for some HIV symptoms, such as inflammation, pain and anxiety characterized by worrying excessively, restlessness, agitation, and fatigue (2 ) .
  • As going through the HIV management process is distressing, CBD supplements can help ease therapy and improve sleep (3 ) . According to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, antiretroviral drugs perform better when the user is getting enough rest and is not stressed (4 ) .
  • Studies have shown that people who combined TCH:CBD in a one to one ratio or a 1:9 ration and the antiretroviral drugs saw an improvement in their CD4+T- cell count (5 ) . CD4+T cells are white blood cells that fight infection.
  • However, CBD has been shown to interact with other drugs and alter how the body metabolizes certain medications, as a 2017 research revealed (6 ) . Consult with a doctor experienced in cannabis use before starting a CBD regimen or combining it with current prescription medications.

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Why Some People Are Using CBD for HIV

Cannabis, including marijuana and CBD, has been shown to possess characteristics that may help people manage symptoms associated with HIV and AIDS treatments.

These characteristics could be the reason why some people with HIV turn to cannabis in the form of THC, CBD, or combination as a viable treatment option for autoimmune diseases, like HIV.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that spreads in the body through body fluids attacking the CD4 cells of the immune system.

CD4 cells, also called CD4+T cells, are white blood cells that fight infection. Destruction of CD4+T cells affects the effectiveness of the body in combating infections and diseases.

CD4+T cell count indicates how severely the immune system has been affected and the extent to which the body can combat infections. The average range for CD4+T cells is 500 to 1,500.

As HIV infection progresses, the number of these cells declines, leaving a person increasingly vulnerable to diseases and cancers, explained the researchers of a 2011 study on laboratory monitoring of HIV infection (7 ) .

When the CD4+T cell count drops below 200, HIV progresses to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), said the authors of the same study, which was published in The Indian Journal of Medical Research .

With AIDS, the body battles threats that can be fatal even from infections and diseases that a healthy individual can handle.

Typically, the CD4 cell count increases when HIV is constrained with effective HIV medication.

By reducing the quantity of HIV particles in the body, HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

Although there has been no proven cure for HIV or AIDS, research is still ongoing, with many supplements and medications coming up to help in its management, according to an article posted on HIV/AIDS Treatment Information Service (HIVATIS) website (8 ) .

The CBD industry has not been lagging in search of a lasting countermeasure for HIV prevention, care, management, and cure, says an article posted on HIVATIS (HIV/AIDS Treatment Information Service) website.

CBD HIV supplements are natural remedies to control the infection, prevent pain, and relieve HIV symptoms.

The use of these supplements, along with other proven prescription medications, helps to make treatment more relaxed and the person with HIV more comfortable (9 ) .

HIV weakens the body’s immune system making patients vulnerable to infections, and many people with HIV are distressed with the thought of the virus present in their body (10 ) .

Meanwhile, studies have shown that CBD might effectively help boost immunity and provide relief for particular symptoms, such as pain and anxiety (11 ) .

In a study published in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management , hard-to-treat pain includes cancer-associated pain, neuropathic pain, and central pain states, such as pain associated with multiple sclerosis. The presence of CBD in the Sativex preparation was crucial to obtaining significant pain relief (12 ) .

People become anxious after testing positive for HIV or any other terminal illness. Signs a person with HIV may be suffering from anxiety include worrying excessively, restlessness, agitation, and fatigue (13 ) .

In stressful situations like this, CBD can help people relax and attenuate panic attacks. As going through the HIV management process is distressing, CBD supplements can help ease therapy and improve sleep quality (14 ) .

Antiretroviral drugs perform better when the user is getting enough rest and is not stressed, a 2013 study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes suggested (15 ) .

The HIV virus itself is not known to cause pain. However, HIV carriers are more susceptible to secondary infections, which can cause pain and inflammation (16 ) .

Authors of a 2019 study published in BMJ Open proposed to conduct a pilot randomized clinical trial to examine the safety and tolerability of cannabis oils containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) consumed orally in people living with HIV (17 ) .

Although research involving HIV has examined THC, data from in vitro , animal and human studies suggest that CBD has favorable anti-inflammatory effects and that the combination of CBD with THC improves the safety and tolerability profiles of cannabis (18 ) .

In a study conducted by experts at universities in Virginia and Florida, CD8 and CD4 white blood cell counts were compared in 95 HIV patients, some of whom were chronic cannabis users (19 ) .

Scientists discovered that both CD8 and CD4 types of infection-fighting immune counts were higher in patients using cannabis than that of non-cannabis users. Results suggested the plant had substantially improved their immune systems.

However, the said study was not specific to CBD use. Further research is needed on the overall effects of CBD alone on the immune function in people with HIV.

Meanwhile, studies have shown that people who combined THC and CBD and the antiretroviral drugs saw an improvement in their CD4+T- cell count (20 ) .

More CD4+T cells can mean the body is more able to fight infection.

How CBD Oil Works to Help with HIV

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) holds crucial information on HIV and AIDS management.

Cannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptor sites to promote the proper physiological function of the muscular system, immune system, and nervous system.

The cannabinoids stimulate the CB1 and CB2 receptors located within the body’s ECS to regulate a plethora of physiological processes, including immune system function and inflammation, and to reinstate stable bodily functions successfully.

A study published in Clinical Pharmacokinetics examined how antiretrovirals work (21 ) . Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the utilization of HIV medicines to alleviate HIV infection to reduce the viral load (the quantity of virus in the blood) while increasing CD4 count.

People on ART take a combination of HIV medicines every day to help them live longer, healthier lives. Although ART cannot eliminate HIV, it can reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

ART’s primary goal is to reduce a person’s viral load to an undetectable level. HIV-positive people who maintain an undetectable viral load would not be able to transmit HIV to their HIV-negative partner through sex.

Disruption of homeostasis, or an imbalance, inevitably results in many HIV and AIDS symptoms, including weight loss, lack of appetite, lethargy and other side effects that result from a weakened immune system (22 ) .

CB2 receptor activation creates an anti-inflammatory effect and becomes a therapeutic target for autoimmune disorders (wherein the immune system mistakenly attacks the body) and neurodegenerative diseases (which affect the neurons in the brain) (23 ) .

However, any ECS immunosuppressant activity, which inhibits or prevents the actions of the immune system, is believed to be temporary. This activity can also be overridden when necessary in the presence of infection (24 ) .

Scientists believe that plant cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) impact one’s health by interacting in different ways with the endocannabinoid system. Thus, consuming medical cannabis also directly affects the immune system (25 ) .

The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for HIV

The Pros
  • Studies mentioned previously demonstrate CBD’s therapeutic benefits in boosting immune response and alleviating HIV symptoms, including inflammation, pain, and anxiety.
  • CBD is non-addictive, says Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in a 2015 article (26 ) . This characteristic makes CBD safe for daily intake.
  • CBD “is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile,” as the World Health Organization (WHO) stated in a critical review (27 ) .
  • CBD oil may be purchased without a prescription in locations where they are legally available.
The Cons
  • Studies are too limited to determine whether or not CBD is an effective treatment for conditions other than the ones approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • As with the use of any natural chemical compound, there are risks involved in using CBD. According to the Mayo Clinic, possible side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, diarrhea, fatigue, and reduced appetite (28 ) .
  • CBD has been shown to interact with other drugs and alter how the body metabolizes certain medications, as a 2017 research revealed (29 ) . Consult with a doctor experienced in cannabis use before starting a CBD regimen or combining it with current prescription medications.
  • Dr Doris Trauner, professor of neurosciences and pediatrics at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and a physician at San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital, cautions that CBD products marketed online and in dispensaries are mostly unregulated (30 ) .

The lack of regulation makes it difficult to determine whether the CBD gummies, tinctures, patches, balms, and gelcaps contain what the product label claims.

A 2107 review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed labeling inaccuracies among CBD products. Some products had less CBD than stated, while others had more (31 ) .

How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for HIV

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) appears to be popular with people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), particularly those outside of the USA, the authors of a study published in AIDS Patient Care and STDs noted (32 ) .

Vitamins, herbs, and supplements emerge as the most common approaches used, followed by prayer, meditation, and spiritual exercise.

According to the said study, supplements and herbs may be used for a range of reasons, including cleansing or strengthening the body (33 ) .

Their popularity may be related to a generally high knowledge of nutrition amongst PLWHA, encouraged by the community and by healthcare clinicians (34 ) .

CBD is also a natural supplement that has been shown to provide therapeutic benefits. Based on the studies mentioned above, CBD may help with HIV symptoms, including pain, inflammation, weak immune system, and anxiety.

How to Choose the Right CBD for HIV

Studies cited previously show that CBD is not the only cannabinoid found in cannabis that can help with HIV and its symptoms. Hence, when choosing a CBD product, opt for one that contains full-spectrum CBD oil.

Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all phytonutrients from hemp, including trace amounts of THC, terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils. These compounds work together to intensify the therapeutic benefits of each cannabinoid, resulting in the “entourage effect”.

Those with allergies to THC may opt to use broad-spectrum CBD oil, which is like full-spectrum CBD but without the THC that makes the user high.

However, regardless of the form of CBD product of choice, careful consideration must still be employed in selecting the best CBD oil to help with the immune system, inflammation, pain, and anxiety.

The following factors are essential to ensure the safety and reliability of the CBD products purchased:

  1. Research on the exact legal stipulations applicable to CBD in the area where it would be bought and used.
  2. Purchase only high-quality CBD products from legitimate and reliable brands. The majority of companies that manufacture the best CBD oil products grow their hemp from their own farm, or they purchase from licensed hemp producers.
  3. Research product reviews before buying from an online store. When purchasing from a physical store or dispensary, check whether the store is authorized by the government to sell CBD.
  4. One important thing to look for in CBD products is certification codes. Several certification authorities approve certain products only after some thorough screening tests.
  5. Compare company claims about their products’ potency with that of the third-party lab reports. Look for a certificate of analysis for every product purchased.
  6. Consulting with a trusted medical professional experienced in CBD use is ideal before one purchases his or her first bottle of CBD.

CBD Dosage for HIV

There is no recommended CBD dosage specific for fighting fungus or any type of fungal infections.

According to an article written by Peter Grinspoon, MD, on Harvard Health in August 2019, experts do not know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition (35 ) .

Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies, effective doses cannot be determined.

How to Take CBD Oil for HIV Symptoms

CBD oil cannot cure HIV but may be beneficial for managing its symptoms. One of the common symptoms, which the people living with HIV experience, is a continuous and irritating skin rash.

In this situation, CBD oil may be an effective option as it is also available in topical forms, such as lotion, cream, patch, balm, salve, and bath salts.

For topical products, look for keywords on the product labels that indicate that the product uses nanotechnology, encapsulation, or micellization of CBD. These words suggest that their solution can carry CBD through the dermal layers, rather than just staying on the skin.

CBD oil capsules and edibles, such as brownies, gummies, and lozenges, are a convenient and straightforward way to take CBD oil, especially for first-time CBD users.

This format is easy to work into a routine, and the dose is consistent. CBD oil can be added to one’s favorite food or beverage as well.

CBD oil tinctures or drops are a practical option for those who seek fast results and maximum dosage control.

Tinctures and drops may be administered sublingually (under the tongue), through which the CBD oil is absorbed directly into the bloodstream.

Place the desired quantity of drops under the tongue using a dropper, and then let the CBD oil stay in place for at least 60 seconds. Once 60 seconds have passed, swallow the CBD oil.

CBD oil vapes are one of the quickest ways to get CBD into the body since it enters the bloodstream through the lungs, without going through the digestive system.

Note that vaping is not for everyone, as some people may not be comfortable with this method.

Experts are not sure if vaping can lead to lung problems but believe the most likely cause is a contaminant, which may include irritation or allergic reactions to chemicals in the inhaled vapors (36 ) .

What is the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV)?

SIV is an HIV-like virus that can infect monkeys and apes and can cause a disease similar to AIDS.

Because HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) are closely-related viruses, researchers study SIV as a way to learn more about HIV.

However, SIV cannot infect humans, and HIV cannot infect monkeys (37 ) .

THC and Antiretrovirals

Marinol (dronabinol), a drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, is a human-made form of cannabis that has been marketed as a safe alternative to medical marijuana.

Its active ingredient is synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) , a compound that produces the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

Only one study has examined the effects of cannabinoids on the pharmacokinetics of antiretrovirals. Researchers in the study concluded that the use of marijuana or dronabinol is unlikely to impact antiretroviral efficacy (38 ) .

Quality of Life

HIV disease is among the most distressing of conditions, having numerous and life-changing effects on the patients. Thus, the assessment of QOL is essential.

Research published in the Indian Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS defines QOL as an overall sense of well-being, including happiness and satisfaction with life as a whole (39 ) .

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes QOL as an “individuals’ perceptions of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in connection to their goals, standards, expectations, and concerns.”

Conclusion

HIV is an autoimmune disease that has no cure. However, CBD’s therapeutic benefits can help people with HIV and AIDS manage their symptoms to make therapies more relaxed and improve their quality of life.

CBD can be a welcome addition to some complementary and alternative medicines used by people with HIV who do not find comfort and relief in common antiretrovirals.

As a natural remedy with unique advantages, CBD also has its limitations and risks. Thus, consumers who plan to include CBD in their regimen must first consult with a doctor experienced in cannabis use.

A growing number of states, except CBD oil-only states, or states with endless lists of conditions, explicitly include HIV or AIDS as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use.

As of 2019, those 29 states include Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Vermont, and Washington.

What is HIV? Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that spreads in the body through body fluids attacking the CD4 cells of the immune system. CD4 cells, also called CD4+ T cells, are white blood cells that fight infection. Destruction of CD4+ T cells affects the effectiveness of the body in combating infections and diseases. As HIV infection progresses, the number of these cells declines. Typically, the CD4 cell count increases when the HIV virus is constrained with effective HIV medication.