Cannabis alleviates many common HIV/AIDS symptoms such as nausea, loss of appetite, pain, depression and anxiety. It also has a well-deserved reputation for increasing appetite.
As also seen with cancer patients, medical marijuana is an effective and non-addictive painkiller. Cannabis can also help with depression.
In addition to abundant anecdotal evidence that cannabis can treat HIV/AIDS symptoms, the Annals of Internal Medicine published an article on the “Short-Term Effects of Cannabinoids in Patients with HIV-1 Infection.”
The study also found that people who smoked or ingested marijuana were healthier than those who didn’t. The accompanying explanatory article states, “Patients receiving cannabinoids had improved immune function compared with those receiving placebo. They also gained about 4 pounds more on average than those patients receiving placebo.”
Not only did marijuna help HIV/AIDS patients gain weight, it also had a positive effect on their immune systems over the course of 21 days.
Reportedly, 27 percent of people with HIV/AIDS used marijuana to cope with their symptoms in 2005. Considering today’s greater access to medical marijuana and increased knowledge of its benefits, this percentage would be higher if the same study were conducted in 2020.
New research goes even further in answering the question, does cannabis affect your immune system? Two recent studies support the findings that cannabis could improve immune function for people with HIV/AIDS.
The first study, dating from 2014, was published in the scientific journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. It links THC to higher production of CD4 and CD8 cells in monkeys. These two cells are primarily responsible for fighting disease.
A second study conducted by New York City’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine discovered that cannabinoids prevented the HIV virus from infecting immune system cells.
Ultimately, the study found that the cannabinoids reduced the number of infected cells from 30 to 60 percent.
Due to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, cannabis may have a profound impact on the immune system. On the cellular level, it could significantly strengthen the immune system.
Final Hit: Does Cannabis Affect Your Immune System?
As with all health-related questions and cannabis, it’s impossible to guarantee that cannabis will have a positive effect. For now, we know that most research shows that marijuana has no effect, or has a positive effect, on immune system cells.
Research also shows that being properly vaccinated has a positive effect on the immune system.
By the nature of the legalization movement it would seem that we’ll have access to medical marijuana before conclusive research can answer the question, does cannabis affect your immune system?