Marijuana may help patients suffering from HIV maintain their mental stamina, according to a new study published in the journal AIDS.
Patients suffering from HIV often experience a decline in cognitive function due to inflammation of the brain, which is caused by the constant stimulation of the patient’s immune system trying to fight off infection.
But marijuana may act as an anti-inflammatory agent by decreasing the number of inflammatory white blood cells and reducing the amount of proteins that they release into the patient’s body.
To come to these conclusions, researchers examined blood samples drawn from 40 patients suffering from HIV who have reported that they either use marijuana or not. Researchers then isolated the white blood cells from each patient and studied the inflammation levels in each sample.
Researchers found that patients that do not use marijuana had much higher inflammation levels than patients that did use marijuana, with some patients even having inflammation levels close to what a healthy person would have.
In a statement, study co-author Mike Rizzo said that the results of this study could have treatment implications for other brain diseases.
“We’ll continue investigating these cells and how they interact and cause inflammation specifically in the brain,” Rizzo said. “What we learn from this could also have implications to other brain-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s since the same inflammatory cells have been found to be involved.”