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Study Finds Marijuana May Stop Progression Of HIV

Interesting findings: could marijuana help prevent the progression of HIV in those fighting the disease? According to a study led Dr. Patricia Molina and her fellow researchers at Louisiana State University, that may be the case. 

From Leaf Science:

Published last week in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, researchers at Louisiana State University showed that daily doses of THC, marijuana’s main ingredient, have a number of beneficial effects in animal models of HIV.

In particular, THC given to monkeys over a 17-month period decreased damage to immune tissue of the gut, an important site of HIV infection. The team also found evidence that THC could do this by acting at the gene level.

....

HIV spreads by infecting and ultimately killing immune cells. However, the researchers observed higher levels of healthy immune cells in animals that received THC – something they noticed in a previous study as well.

In 2011, Dr. Molina and her colleagues found that monkeys treated with THC had lower levels of viral infection and better survival rates. They also experienced a spike in immune cells and less weight loss from the disease.

So far Dr. Molina is attributing THC's positive effect on healthy cells to its action on CB2 receptors. The THC in marijuana binds to two receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 causes the high that marijuana users feel, while CB2 can impact the immune system.

“There’s quite a bit of interest in trying to understand whether what we see as a immunomodulatory effect is mediated exclusively by the CB2 receptor,” Dr. Molina continues. “And if so, could that potentially lead to the development of agonists specific to the receptor that could have the same beneficial effects.”

Science, y'all!

What do you think of these findings, which may prove that marijuana provides benefits beyond alleviating pain and treating weight loss in those living with HIV?

 

(H/T: HuffPo via The Gaily Grind)

Comments

Intramuscular THC is not the same as smoking weed.  Crappy reporting.

Where does the article say anything about smoking weed? Nowhere.  Crappy Commenting.  

Incorrect.  Animal modeling is chosen PRECISELY because of the analogies that can be drawn between reactions in animal species. It is the mechanisms and effects which are observed. Testing in humans would prove to be only anecdotal as getting proper controls for human models would be unethical. 

DESPITE bs to the contrary, animal models prove viable because they are analogous.  

I don't see why an ethical trial in humans could not be designed... placebo control and evaluate for differing viral loads and GALT health.  Any CB2 agonist would eventually have to go thru such trials, if it is proved that this is the mechanism of action,  But I have no argument with your main point, which is that animal models are indeed analogous and are, at this point, fundamental to medical research.

If you read the actual article, the monkeys used weren't infected with HIV. They were infected with SIV, the predecessor of HIV. Primates have co-evolved with SIV so that it doesn't kill them. Making such broad assumptions off of a flawed model system is so irresponsible.

Incorrect.  Some cases of SIV infection in certain host-species do not appear to be pathogenic. Sooty mangebees for example, don't suffer immune decline  when infected.  Other species, such as rhesus macaques, do.  And notably, SIV-infected chimps, our nearest relatives, ( who, not coincidentally, host an SIV virus most closely associated w/HIV-1) DO indeed develop simian AIDS, 

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