The University of Florida is currently selecting participants for it's new study on the health effects of medical marijuana on patients with HIV. This will be the biggest study of it's kind and follow 400 Florida patients over 5 years. The patients will be purchasing and administering the cannabis themselves, while researchers record the potency, quantity, method and frequency of use, and will be asking what they're using, is it helping, and how do you know it's helping. There are still lots of gaps in research as it's extremely difficult to be approved for, but this study will educate the scientific community on important factors of cannabis and HIV and hopefully pave the way for new legal policies.
About 30 percent of those with HIV surveyed across the state of Florida – which has the highest rate of new infections annually in the U.S. according to the HIV Surveillance report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention – use some form of marijuana. Most claim usage helps manage different symptoms like pain, anxiety, stress, sleep difficulties and nausea. About 70 percent of these users reported some degree of health benefit.
“I hope studies like this one will help shed light on the issue of utilizing cannabis in a true medical context while informing us of the possible drawbacks,” he said. “When the biggest pros and cons are realized, we can formulate the best ways to lower the risks and maximize benefits associated with the use of cannabis.”