Chronic City: New U.C. San Francisco Study -- Marijuana Rivals Mainstream Drugs For HIV/AIDS

A new study suggests that medical Marijuana may be as effective as conventional, mainstream drugs for alleviating the symptoms of HIV/AIDS, according to an article in today's Science Daily.

Those who actually use Marijuana -- who would presumably be in a position to know -- rate the herb as effective as prescribed or over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for the majority of symptoms, "once again raising the issue that therapeutic Marijuana use merits further study and consideration among policy makers," according to the article.

Those who used Marijuana rated their anxiety significantly lower than those who did not. Marijuana was perceived to be more effective than either prescribed or OTC medications for nausea and neuropathy, but the differences in perceived efficacy were slight.

"Given that Marijuana may have other pleasant side effects and may be less costly than prescribed or OTC drugs, is there a reason to make it available?" asked study leader Inge Corless. "Our data indicate that the use of Marijuana merits further inquiry."

The study, conducted by members of the University of California, San Francisco  International HIV/AIDS Nursing Research Network, examined symptom management and quality of life experiences among those with HIV/AIDS. Data was collected from a longitudinal, multi-country, multi-site, randomized control clinical trial.

According to the results, HIV/AIDS patients the United States are much more likely to use Marijuana than those in Kenya, South Africa or Puerto Rico to alleviate their symptoms. The study was published in Clinical Nursing Research.

No differences were found between Marijuana users and nonusers in age, race, educational level, or "income adequacy." 

The study results match anecdotal evidence collected over the last 20 years which suggests that Marijuana helps manage HIV/AIDS symptoms such as anxiety, depression, fatigue and nausea.
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