Should weed be part of AIDS prevention? Daily marijuana use by the HIV-positive could block them from infecting others, the Daily Beast reports:
The study itself was fairly simple. For 17 months, Dr. Molina and her team at Louisiana State University administered a high concentration of THC to 4-to-6-year-old male rhesus monkeys who were RIV-positive (a virus in chimps similar to HIV), twice daily. An examination of the tissue in their intestines before and after the chronic THC exposure revealed dramatic decreases in immune tissue damage in the stomach and a significant increase in the numbers of normal cells.
During HIV infection, one of the earliest effects is that the virus spreads rapidly throughout the body and kills a significant part of cells in the gut and intestine. This activity damages the gut in a way that allows the HIV to leak through the cell wall of the intestines and into the bloodstream. When THC is introduced into this environment, it activates the CB2 receptors in the intestines to build new, healthy bacterial cells that block the virus from leaking through the cell walls.
Put another way: HIV kills the cells that protect the walls— THC brings them back. Reducing the amount of the virus in the lower intestines could then help keep uninfected people uninfected.
But the U.S. government won’t let scientists try out this promising treatment on humans. marijuana, despite many studies proving its medical value, is sill classified by the government as a Schedule I Substance. In the face of mounting evidence that it is beneficial in treating diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis, it remains a controlled substance.
Proving that an illegal drug can stop a deadly disease in humans—without testing it on them—is impossible. This bleak truth renders Dr. Molina’s discovery—at this point—futile.
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