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Cannabis Use in HIV for Pain and Other Medical Symptoms[2005]

Cannabis Use in HIV for Pain and Other Medical Symptoms[2005]

  1. Behrang
    Journal of Pain and Symptom Management Vol. 29 No. 4 :358-67
    April 2005

    Emily Woolridge, MB BS, BSc, Simon Barton, MB BS (Distinction), BSc, FRCP (Ed), FRCP (London), Jonathon Samuel, BSc, Jess Osorio, BSc, Andrew Dougherty, BSc, and Anita Holdcroft, MB ChB, MD, FRCA

    Despite the major benefits of antiretroviral therapy on survival during HIV infection, there is an increasing need to manage symptoms and side effects during long-term drug therapy. Cannabis has been reported anecdotally as being beneficial for a number of common symptoms and complications in HIV infections, for example, poor appetite and neuropathy. This study aimed to investigate symptom management with cannabis. Following Ethics Committee approval, HIV-positive individuals attending a large clinic were recruited into an anonymous cross-sectional questionnaire study. Up to one-third (27%, 143/523) reported using cannabis for treating symptoms. Patients reported improved appetite (97%), muscle pain (94%), nausea (93%), anxiety (93%), nerve pain (90%), depression (86%), and paresthesia (85%). Many cannabis users (47%) reported associated memory deterioration. Symptom control using cannabis is widespread in HIV outpatients. A large number of patients reported that cannabis improved symptom control.

    Key Words:
    Cannabis, HIV, pain, symptoms