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marijuana and hiv

May 20, 2005

I have been smoking marijuana for a few years now, and really enjoy it. Recently however when I get high instead of feeling good I feel like I have schitzophrenia, I feel paranoid, depressed and think everyones talking about me. This started 2 months after I think I was infected with hiv, and I wanted to know if hiv could be the cause of this new condition.

Response from Dr. Horwath

Paranoia is a common reaction to smoking marijuana. Many people develop paranoid ideas in reaction to smoking marijuana at some time or other. I don't know why you have developed this reaction now. It might be changes in your nervous system related to aging or it might be related to HIV infection.

In any case, the obvious answer is to stop smoking. If you have an unpleasant reaction, then it's not something you should continue.

Incidently, the reaction that you describe is not the same as schizophrenia, which is an illness with a variety of other symptoms and severe impairment in one's ability to fucntion.

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