The University of Florida will soon conduct a five-year study following 400 HIV-positive Floridians who admit to current recreational or medicinal marijuana use to gauge to what extent marijuana alleviates HIV symptoms.
The study, led by Dr. Robert Cook, has already received a grant of $3.2 million from the National Institute on Drug Abuse despite historical funding issues tied to classification and scheduling of marijuana on a federal level, according to First Coast News.
“Marijuana use is increasingly common in persons living with HIV infection,” Cook said. “Yet, past findings regarding the health impact of marijuana use on HIV have been limited and inconclusive.”
HIV is one of the 13 qualifying medical conditions that are required for the legal use of medical marijuana according to Florida’s Senate Bill 8A.
However, the Florida Board of Medicine states there is “little evidence” that marijuana is an effective form of HIV treatment, questioning its effect on symptoms such as decreased appetite and increased weight loss according to NewNowNext.
Cook said the long-term goal of this study is to provide patients, physicians and health professionals with the information necessary to “guide clinical and safety recommendations for marijuana use.”
According to First Coast News, UF Health said they believe this study to be the largest and most comprehensive study of marijuana benefits on HIV symptoms ever.
Cook said, “We expect the study to contribute to clinical and public health guidelines, while also addressing knowledge about gaps about how much marijuana is ‘too much’ and how the effects of marijuana may be different in older individuals.”