Ending LGBTQ+ Month – The Evidence Behind Medical Cannabis Treating HIV Patients

As LGBTQ+ history month drew to a close yesterday, we wanted to continue highlighting the effects that medical cannabis can have when treating HIV symptoms after the 80s crisis has been so brilliantly highlighted in ‘It’s A Sin’. With the heart-breaking final episode airing a couple of weeks ago, we couldn’t be prouder to be a part of treating the disease that took so many men from us not so long ago.

While NICE, who oversee matters of clinical regulation for the NHS, haven’t made a determination around the use of medical cannabis in this context, it’s interesting to note that they have allowed for its use in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), which shares a very similar symptom profile. It’s also significant that, similar to cancer treatments, there are very nascent lines of investigation that could in time support medical cannabis as a direct treatment. 

More advanced studies indicate that cannabinoids have been shown to inhibit productive HIV infection in primary human T cells, and a CB2 antagonist blocked this effect. This is essentially an antiretroviral function, and indicates that cannabis could, at some point, be used in direct treatments.  

The highest standards of evidence are required to support any clinical pathway though, and more evidence is currently required to enable the formal use of medical cannabis to treat HIV or its symptoms. While self-medication data would support its use, careful examination of long term effects in relation to drug interactions with existing antiretroviral medications, and other factors, would be required to satisfy that clinical standard.   

As is often the case for medical cannabis in general, there is substantial and exciting potential around its value for HIV treatments, which demands further study to cross the threshold into widespread pharmacopoeias.   

If you or anybody you know is currently struggling with pain or any other symptoms from this disease or others, our team of professionals are here to help.