We have often seen youngsters rant about the benefits of smoking marijuana and why it should be legalised etc. But a recent study has actually said that marijuana can provide some really good medical benefits, and aiding patients with HIV is one of them. HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus, infects and can destroy or change the functions of immune cells that defend the body. The study says that marijuana may help in strengthening the mental stamina of HIV patients.A group of researchers have found that marijuana can slow the process of mental decline in HIV patients up to 50%.Norbert Kaminski, the
“lead author of the study, along with co-author Mike Rizzo (a graduation student of toxicology) found out the compounds present in marijuana can act as anti-inflammatory agents. They can help in reducing the number of monocytes, which are inflammatory white blood cells (WBC), and the proteins that these WBCs release in the body.”
Rizzo says that the decrease of these WBCs garners the slowdown, perhaps even stop the inflammatory process, thus helping HIV patients maintain their cognitive function for a longer period of time.
The study was conducted by taking blood samples from 40 patients based on if or not they consume marijuana. After that, the WBCs of each donor were studied to check for their inflammatory cell levels and the effect that marijuana had on the cells.
As it turns out, people who did smoke marijuana reported low levels of inflammatory cells, which were surprisingly close to a healthy person who is not infected with HIV, said Kaminski.
The standard form of HIV treatment is the antiretroviral therapy, which includes multiple kinds of drugs that work towards warding off the virus. But these cells have better chance of staying intact with help of marijuana therapy as compared to antiretroviral therapy.
The researchers now say that this discovery is capable of having implications to other brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This is possible because inflammatory cells have been involved in these diseases as well.
Rizzo and Kaminski further add that exploring this discovery could lead to new therapeutic agents that could help HIV patients specifically maintain their mental function.