Federal Medical Marijuana Studies Finally Move Forward

about AIDS

Few more controversial topics have revolved around the AIDS epidemic than whether using marijuana medically is an appropriate therapeutic path. The U.S. electorate (or at least what passes for its leadership) seems panicked about even discussing the idea, lest they be seen as "soft on drugs."

Finally, however, a group of University of California at San Francisco physician researchers has successfully passed peer review at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for their study protocol, "Short Term Effects of Cannabinoids on HIV Patients." NIH approval will enable access to funding and the government-supplied marijuana required for research.

Much anecdotal testimony and some preliminary clinical evidence suggests that pot use may offer relief from various disease symptoms and treatment side effects, not only with HIV/AIDS, but also with cancer and glaucoma. The situation, however, is not without its potential medical downside, even without the legal issues.

This writer's strictly personal opinion is, as it always has been in such matters, that appropriate clinical trials need to be undertaken so we may proceed on the basis of medical science -- not on less relevant responses based on politics, religion, or other agendas. When clinical understanding is available, then it will be appropriate to examine the issue from other perspectives. This study is a rational step in that direction.

-- Sandy Bartlett, Information/Education Coordinator

AIDS Services of Austin

ASA Info Line: 458-AIDS

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