HIV Progression Moderated By Cannabinoid Agonist

  • According to preclinical data published online in the journal PLoS ONE, progression of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is moderated by the activation of specific endogenous cannabinoid receptors.

    Investigators at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City evaluated whether administering a selective cannabinoid agonist could regulate HIV-1 infectivity and reported that HIV infection in culture is inhibited by activation of the CB2 receptor.

    Authors concluded, “The clinical use of (selective CB2) agonists in the treatment of AIDS symptoms may also exert beneficial adjunctive antiviral effects … in late stages of HIV-1 infection.”

    It was reported last year by investigators at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center that the long-term administration of delta-9-THC, the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, is associated with reduced mortality in monkeys infected with the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a primate model of HIV disease.

    The authors concluded, while writing n the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses: “Contrary to what we expected, … delta-9-THC treatment clearly did not increase disease progression, and indeed resulted in generalized attenuation of classic markers of SIV disease. … These results indicate that chronic delta-9-THC does not increase viral load or aggravate morbidity and may actually ameliorate SIV disease progression.”

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