April 4, 2012
The use of marijuana in medicine has been practiced for years now, the debate even longer. Scientists are still arguing whether or not it’s a safe and effective way to treat patients suffering from common AIDS symptoms; including pain, weight loss and appetite suppression. Recently, researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine discovered that marijuana like chemicals trigger certain receptors on human immune cells that directly inhibit a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) found in the late stage of AIDS.
The first study performed was to find out how the marijuana receptors on immune cells can influence the spread of the virus. These marijuana receptors are called cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. Triggering CB1 causes the drug high. These receptors are mainly located in brain cells in areas that control body movement, memory, and vomiting. CB2 is what physicians want to single out because it blocks the signaling process and suppressed infection in resting immune cells. The Mount Sinai research team infected healthy immune cells with HIV then treated them with a chemical that triggers only CB2, called an agonist. This led them to find that the drug reduced the infection of the remaining cells.
With AIDS so prevalent around the world, the discovery of this drug probably won’t slow down the actual spread of the disease but it will hopefully cause a decrease in number of deaths. Because marijuana is such a prevalent drug, it would be inexpensive and easy to prescribe and treat patients with. [continues]
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