A US study has found that marijuana use does not interfere with antiretroviral drugs taken by those with HIV. The results were presented by Dr Donald Abrams on July 13, at the 13th International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa.
The study was performed at the San Francisco General Hospital, and looked at marijuana’s safety rather than its effectiveness. Because THC is metabolized in the liver, it was thought that it might interfere with the liver’s metabolizing of the protease inhibitors.

67 people were studied in the hospital over a 21-day period. They were provided with either smoked marijuana, oral dronabinal capsules, or oral placebo capsules. The study found no increase of HIV virus levels in any of the categories.

Also, those consuming marijuana or THC had an average weight gain almost three times greater than the placebo group.

“Now that we’ve demonstrated the safety in a population as vulnerable as people with HIV, said Abrams, “I think it paves the way for doing studies of efficacy. Abrams added that he wants to study smoked marijuana used to control nausea and pain.

* AIDS International Conference website: : email [email protected]