With so many studies coming out on the numerous ways medical cannabis can treat health ailments, some of us may have become slightly numb to the wonders being revealed about this beneficial plant. But a new study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS) might change that.
Researchers have found that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, can help prevent HIV from becoming AIDS. According to the abstract, published online by the National Institutes of Health:
"Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) play a crucial role in host antiviral immune response through secretion of type I interferon. Interferon alpha (IFNα), a type I IFN, is critical for mounting the initial response to viral pathogens. A consequence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV) infection is a decrease in both pDC number and function, but prolonged pDC activity has been linked with progression from HIV infection to the development of AIDS. Patients with HIV in the United States routinely use cannabinoid-based therapies to combat the side effects of HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy. However, cannabinoids, including Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are well-characterized immunosuppressants. Here, we report that THC suppressed secretion of IFNα by pDC from both healthy and HIV+ donors through a mechanism involving impaired phosphorylation of interferon regulatory factor 7. These results suggest that THC can suppress pDC function during the early host antiviral response by dampening pDC activation."
Much of that is Greek to those of us not in the medical field, but the results suggest something stunning. HIV patients taking cannabis have likely helped prevent their condition from turning into full-blown AIDS. This will open the door for medical cannabis to be used for the dual purpose of treating side effects and preventing disease progression.