HIV and/or Aids

Medical Marijuana HIV/AIDS

Do you or know of someone who has contracted and developed Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and/or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)? Both HIV and AIDS can be difficult to live with and treatment options are limited. Medical marijuana can be an option to help management symptoms brought on by HIV or AIDS. Scientists are actively researching how medical marijuana affects the body, but early studies can suggest the suppression of some of HID or AIDS' symptoms. Since Cross Valley Health & Medicine has a HIV/AIDS management program, our practitioners have experience with these conditions. Dr. Paul Saladino and Christian Plaza, FNP are based out of Newburgh NY but are able to see patients in-person or virtually through telemedicine. Scheduling an appointment has never been so easy. *

medical marijuana for hiv/aids

What is HIV and AIDS?

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the whole body's immune system making the person more vulnerable to illness. People typically contract HIV through anal or vaginal sex, or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment. Once infected, the person may not experience symptoms right away so the best way to know if you have HIV is to be tested. If left untreated, HIV can progress through three stages: acute, chronic, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Stage I is the onset of HIV infection where some develop flu-like symptoms. Stage II is chronic HIV infection where the amount of HIV in the blood has reached high levels where the damage becomes almost permanent. If HIV is left untreated by Stage II, Stage III takes effect where people develop AIDS making their immune systems so badly damaged that they become sick very often. Medication exists to prevent most people from progressing from Stage I. 

AIDS is the final stage of an HIV infection. A person who has HIV will be considered to have developed AIDS when their white blood cells (CD4) fall below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood. For comparison, a healthy individual would have a CD4 count between 500 and 1,600 cells per cubic millimeter of blood. 

What is the typical treatment for my HIV and/or AIDS?

The ultimate goal of any HIV treatment plan is to reduce the amount of HIV in your body. The most effective treatment method for HIV currently is antiretroviral therapy (ART). Antiretroviral medicine can slow the rate that HIV moves throughout the body. While taking your medication, having a healthy diet, not smoking, and overall being a healthy person can also better the changes to limit your HIV infection's progression. Continuous monitoring of your CD4 cells will most likely be a lifelong commitment.

If the HIV infection reaches the point that AIDS develops, the treatment plan will not change drastically. The goal shifts from lowering the amount of HIV in the body to keeping the immune system as healthy as possible. 

How can medical marijuana help HIV and AIDS symptoms?

Medical marijuana takes the marijuana plant's chemicals and then the plant is grown and cultivated specifically to treat a variety of medical conditions. WebMD explained that "the marijuana plant contains more than 100 different chemicals called cannabinoids. Each one has a different effect on the body. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the main chemicals used in medicine. THC also produces the same "high" people feel when they smoke marijuana or eat foods containing it." Medical marijuana comes in many different forms such as dried leaves, edibles, oils, sprays, and creams.

There are currently no studies that medically prove that using medical marijuana can cure an HIV infection. However, some studies have shown successful cases where medical marijuana relieved some people's pain and made those suffering from weight loss eat again. Medical marijuana has the potential to be one of the most effective alternative treatment methods for those who suffer from an HIV and/or AIDS infection.

 

*Any information listed on this page is provided for medical educational purposes only, and shall not be taken as medical advice provided by Cross Valley Health & Medicine. Any medications listed on this page are also provided for medical educational purposes only, and the use of any of these mentioned medications should stem from consulting with your provider.