Today, one of the hottest topics in the news is marijuana. Not only is it garnering a healthy amount of media and legal attention, but it is also becoming more widely studied by the scientific community. One such study was recently published by Louisiana State University which found that the active ingredient in cannabis (THC) can decrease the spread of HIV.
A pill form of marijuana has been used since the 1990s to help treat the symptoms of weight loss and decreased appetite in HIV/AIDS patients, but these new findings indicate that it can also be used to help stop its spread. The 17-month study published in AIDS Research and Human Retrovirusesfound that by administering daily doses of THC the scientists were able to stop the spread of HIV in the stomachs of primates. The stomach is one of the most common areas of the body for HIV to spread. HIV spreads through immune cells by infecting and killing them. THC allowed the infected primates to maintain a higher level of healthy cells.
This study helps back a similar 2011 study which indicated that THC could increase the survival of infected hosts. The 2011 study demonstrated that HIV-infected primates had a higher level of survival and a lower viral infection when treated with THC. This would seem to contradict previous research which illustrated that marijuana compounds can inhibit the immune system, but studies have indicated that THC does not have a negative effect on the immune system.
Not only does marijuana seem to have the ability to decease the spread of HIV, it has also been found to help control diabetes. For instance, a 2013 study published in The American Journal of Medicine demonstrated that current marijuana users had significantly lower fasting insulin levels and were also less likely to be insulin-resistant; thus, it could be a helpful tool in controlling diabetes.
With the scientific information regarding marijuana continually expanding, we are bound to hear more about how it can be a natural cure for many aliments or about how it can negatively affect our health. The study by Louisiana State University helps back (along with previous research) the emergence of THC as a way to treat and even decrease the spread of HIV. Research is ongoing to help determine the other beneficial effects marijuana may have.
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