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MEDICAL POT SAFE FOR HIV PATIENTS

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The420Guy

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Newshawk: Herb
Pubdate: Fri, 14 Jul 2000
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2000 The Province
Contact: provedpg@pacpress.southam.ca
Address: 200 Granville Street, Ste. #1, Vancouver, BC V6C 3N3 Canada
Fax: (604) 605-2323


USE OF MEDICAL POT SAFE FOR HIV PATIENTS ON OTHER DRUGS

DURBAN, South Africa - The first U.S. study using medical marijuana for people with HIV
has found that smoking the plant does not disrupt the effect of antiretroviral drugs that keep
the virus in check.

The results were announced Thursday at the 13th International AIDS Conference and are the
first to be released from research conducted at San Francisco General Hospital into the use of
marijuana by people infected with HIV.

It took four years for UC San Francisco professor Donald Abrams to jump through hurdles
erected by the federal government to get the research under way, and in the process he was
restricted to focusing on marijuana's safety rather than its effectiveness.

The 67 people who participated in the study were kept in the hospital during the 25-day study
period.

"Any good clinician with his eyes and ears open has known for a long time that cannabis is
very useful in the treatment of AIDS reduction syndrome and does not harm patients." said
Dr. Lester Greenspoon, professor of psychiatry at Harvard University and author of
"Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine."

"When all the dust settles, and when marijuana is admitted to the U.S. pharmacopoeia, it will
be seen as one of the least toxic drugs in the whole compendium. What Don (Abrams) has
done is put the seal of approval on a new drug with his double blind study."

The participants were divided into three groups - one set smoking pot, another taking a pill
containing pot's main ingredient, and a third taking a placebo pill.

In all groups, tests showed that the level of virus in the blood dropped or remained
undetectable by current tests. But those taking marijuana either by smoking or in a pill form
saw their level drop slightly more than those on the placebo.

Researchers also found that those using the pill or smoking pot gained an average of 2.2
kilograms, compared to .6 kilograms in the placebo group.

- - Scripps Howard

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