According to a study published in Clinical Nursing Research, published by SAGE, those in the United States living with HIV/AIDS are more likely to use marijuana than those in Kenya, South Africa or Puerto Rica for alleviating their symptoms.
It was revealed by the study that those who did not use marijuana rate it as effective as prescribed or over the counter (OTC) medicines for the majority of common symptoms, which raises the issue that therapeutic marijuana use merits further study and consideration among policy makers.
Marijuana is used by a significant percentage of those with HIV/AIDS symptoms as a symptom management approach for anxiety, depression, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, and peripheral neuropathy.
Symptom management and quality of life experiences among those with HIV/AIDS in the US, Africa, and Puerto Rico were examined by members of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) International HIV/AIDS Nursing Research Network for gaining a fuller picture of marijuana’s effectiveness and use in this population.
The researchers used four different evaluation tools with data from a longitudinal, multi-country, multi-site, randomized control clinical trial to survey demographics, self-care management strategies for six common symptoms experienced by those living with HIV/AIDS, quality of life instrument and reasons for non-adherence to medications. No differences between marijuana users and nonusers in age, race, and education level, income adequacy, having an AIDS diagnosis, taking ARV medications, or years on ARV medications was found by the researchers.
Those who used marijuana rated their anxiety significantly lower than those who did not and marijuana was rated more highly than anti-anxiety medications. Moreover, marijuana was perceived to be more effective than either prescribed or OTC medications for nausea and neuropathy.
Corless et al. Marijuana Effectiveness as an HIV Self-Care Strategy. Clinical Nursing Research, 2009; 18 (2): 172 DOI: 10.1177/1054773809334958