Heavy cannabis use in patients with HIV is associated with improved immune function

In a study with 198 patients with HIV, who are treated with antiretroviral medication (ART), heavy use of cannabis was associated with reduction in systemic inflammation and immune activation. This is the result of research by scientists of the University of Washington and other universities across the USA. The study investigated the impact of cannabis use on immune cell frequency in the blood, their activation, and function.

Authors reported, that they “found that heavy cannabis use ... in HIV-infected, ART-treated individuals was associated with lower frequencies of activated CD4 and CD8 T cells compared to frequencies of these cells in non-cannabis using individuals. This novel finding is important given that elevated levels of T-cell activation have been associated with lower CD4 T-cell gains following ART (anti-retroviral therapy) and with mortality in this population."They concluded from their work, that “while the clinical implications are unclear, our findings suggest that cannabis use is associated with a potentially beneficial reduction in systemic inflammation and immune activation in the context of antiretroviral-treated HIV infection.”

Manuzak JA, Gott TM, Kirkwood JS, Coronado E, Hensley-McBain T, Miller C, Cheu RK, Collier AC, Funderburg NT, Martin JN, Wu MC, Isoherranen N, Hunt PW, Klatt NR. Heavy Cannabis Use Associated With Reduction in Activated and Inflammatory Immune Cell Frequencies in Antiretroviral Therapy-Treated Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Individuals. Clin Infect Dis. 2018 Feb 17. [in press]

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