Doctors at the University of Florida Health have begun a study to determine the effects of marijuana on those with HIV. The study will also look at marijuana being a potential alternative to opioid medication. Participants will be monitored along with their marijuana use during the study.
HIV patients tend to use marijuana as a sleep aid, painkiller and stress reducer, according to WUFT 5 News. Doctors will review both the positive and negative effects of marijuana for the HIV patients.
A $3.2 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is funding the study that will last five years. Study participants have to obtain their own medical marijuana for the study, whether it be legally from a dispensary or illegally from the black market. HIV is a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in Florida.
Dr. Robert Cook, lead investigator for the study, said, “Not many people have it with a prescription yet, so we will also be looking at if there is a difference between the prescription marijuana and what people get off the street.”
In terms of negative effects, the researchers will look at potential for addiction as well as stereotypical side effects. Some of those side effects could be laziness, intoxication and sleepiness, as some negative effects may be a problem for those with jobs requiring the use of machinery or driving.
Cook wants to see if medical marijuana is an alternative to opioid painkillers. Opioids can be addictive, and a lot of doctors are seeking alternatives for those with HIV. Cook hopes that this study provides answers that haven’t been made available to doctors regarding medical marijuana.