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HIV/AIDS & Marijuana

Medical cannabis became a patients rights issue in the 1980’s and 1990’s when HIV/AIDS became a public concern in the San Francisco area. Cannabis was found to help the symptoms related to AIDS, primarily mass weight loss. It was also found to relieve the appetite suppression and nausea that came with the drug AZT, that was used to treat AIDS patients. In 2007, a clinical study by Columbia University found that smoked and orally consumed cannabis significantly stimulated appetite, and thereby increased the caloric intake of HIV/AIDS patients. In addition, it was found by Dr. Abrams at San Francisco General Hospital, that cannabis, both smoked and taken orally, was found to relieve neuropathic pain in these patients. The enteric nervous system controls the gastrointestinal tract and manages nausea, appetite, and vomiting triggers. Cannabinoids act on the receptors in the enteric system to modulate the responses and keep symptoms to a minimum. Stimulation of appetite seems to occur when low doses of THC heavy cannabis is administered to patients. Historically, the oral use of marijuana goes back many years to when cannabis was put into sweet items such as candy, brownies and cookies to appeal to those who had no appetite. Even using lollipops infused with cannabis can be effective for those patients who have problems with solid food. Oral consumption of cannabis allows it to be rapidly absorbed through the mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Vaporization and smoking is effective to help treat the neuropathic pain that can be associated with HIV/AIDS.

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