Are Cannabinoids The Key To HIV Treatment?
There is a vast amount of research out there showing the many ways in which cannabis can be used to fight HIV - from a reduction in HIV-related neuropathic pain to inhibiting the spread of the virus itself. There appears to be a lot of potential for treatment, so it comes as no surprise that a couple of scientific organisations are teaming up to put theory into practice.
As things currently stand, people suffering from HIV with few options but antiretrovirals (ARVs). These are drugs that that work to suppress HIV, but can’t fully stop it in its tracks. Without a doubt, they are effective, drastically inhibiting the spread of the virus throughout the body – which is notorious for getting into every cell there is, even bone marrow. However, they are only so effective, and are unable to penetrate the brain-blood barrier, giving the virus free-reign in the brain. Much like bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics, HIV can become resistant to ARVs – making its transmission to other people an even more dangerous prospect. In addition to being only so effective, ARVs come with all kinds of side effects, ranging from chronic diarrhoea to loss of cognitive function. While there are currently few other options for those suffering from HIV, science is now working to explore new avenues of treatment – avenues that involve cannabinoids.
Cannabis Science and IGXBio Inc. are teaming up to bring their expertise together, combining cannabinoids with DNA immunotherapy. The aim is to produce cannabis-base drugs that target the areas ARVs are incapable of protecting, such as passing through the blood-brain barrier to combat HIV in the brain, as well as drug-resistant strains of the virus.
Currently, Cannabis Science produces a drug that combats HIV-related Kaposi sarcoma and are developing drugs to fight HIV-associated cognitive impairment in the brain. IGXBio Inc. has produced a DNA-based vaccine that inhibits the replication of the virus. The hope is, by combining Cannabis Science’s knowledge of cannabinoid with DNA-based vaccination, the two companies will be able to make a breakthrough in HIV treatment.
“To further cement our foothold in the substantial pharmaceutical drug development industry, we expect our IGXBio, GenePro drug development program to be a major pharmaceutical success,” said Dr. Allen Herman, the Chief Medical Officer at Cannabis Science.
Their work could not come any sooner. The current treatments available to HIV patients are often described as unbearable. While they do work, they subject the user to all kinds of negative effects. Not including the ones mentioned earlier, some also cause side effects like severe hallucinations and even a loss of bone mass. In fact, hallucinations can be so powerful that they have been likened to taking LSD.
One thing is clear, the fact that two medical companies are moving to produce a cannabis-based HIV drug means that aspects of cannabis being an effective treatment for HIV is more than just theory. Yet another reason we should be pumping way more funding into medical cannabis research.
Written by: Josh
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