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Marijuana Use

Feb 8, 2003

Hello. I'm a 33yo gay male, hiv+ for 9 years. In the past, I experienced an adverse reaction to Sustiva. I currently take a 5 mg dose of Olanzapine daily for disordered thinking, 60 mg Celexa for depression, and three anti-viral medications for the HIV. I use marijuana in order to stimulate my appetite. My concern is in relation to my marijuana use and the potential drug interactions with the pharmaceuticals I currently take. Could you see any harm in my behaviour?

Response from Dr. Horwath

Marijuana is a well known and effective appetite stimulant. Smoking marijuana also may cause respiratory problems, decrease in short-term memory, impaired psychomotor performance (such as impaired driving or flying), and slower psychomotor performance (slowed reflexes, e.g. slowed braking). There is substantial evidence that smoking marijuana daily can cause dependence in some people. I know of no published data on drug interactions between marijuana and the medications you mentioned, but hardly any research has been done on this topic. You should weigh the appetite-stimulating benefits against the possible adverse effects. Because of the decreased psychomotor performance, you should not drive a car, fly a plane, or perform similar tasks after smoking marijuana.

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