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marijuana (MARIJUANA, 2008)
Dec 12, 2008

I no you are sick of this question. But my sister just got DX with Hiv and she is a smoker and has been for 15yrs. She is worried about it worsening her immune system.I no it obviously isn't good but is there been any findings oneway or another to which it can make her sicker? She is also Bi-polar to be honest it has always mellowed her out without making her a zombie like the meds they use to have her on as a child.Just want to know what you thought.Thank you.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

My opinion on marijuana hasn't changed. Maui Wowie and related products do not compromise the immune system. The only potential health risk is that inhaling any type of smoke is not good for the respiratory track, from the sinuses all the way to the lungs. Despite many efforts to vilify marijuana, the science doesn't really support the vast majority of concerns once associated with sparking a doobie. See below.

Dr. Bob

Smoking Pot affecting HIV meds Dec 2, 2007

Hi, Dr. Bob

My lover is HIV+ for over 10 years now (I'm negative). He's undetectible and his t cell count is 278. He smokes marajuana several times a day. I would definitely say he's a major stoner. I'm curious to know what kind of effect that can have on the meds that he is taking.

Thanks!

Lorenzo

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Lorenzo,

Wow, is your lover Willie Nelson? Bill Maher? No matter. There is no significant drug-drug (or drug-"herb") interaction between Mary Jane and HIV meds. That said, extremely heavy use can pose other problems, such as irritation to sinuses and respiratory tract, not to mention insatiable munchies and a strong urge to watch "I Love Lucy" reruns.

Dr. Bob

Atripla & Marijuana Mar 19, 2007

I just started on Atripla about a month ago and about a week after starting I began to smoke pot again, something I had been doing quite a bit of before I got sick. What I am concerned about is the amount of food I consume after smoking (munchies). It's in fact quite a bit. I've even almost gotten sick from how much I've eaten. I know the accompanying leaflet and my doctor and staff advised against taking my meds on a full or somewhat full stomach. The accompanying leaflet even states "empty stomach". I let my doctor know about the pot and he wasn't concerned as long as it was helping me put on weight. But I neglected to tell him that I wasn't taking my meds on an empty or somewhat empty stomach. What I'd like to know is if there has been any indication that Atripla is less effective if taken consistently on a full or somewhat full stomach. Also, is there any correlation between the meds (I'm currently taking Atripla as well as Sulfamethoxazole) and how much food I'm consuming after smoking. I never consumed this much having the munchies before. I guess I could switch to taking the pill during the am, but it in fact makes me tired and that would not be a good thing for my job. I just got on this medication and am currently having no side effects so I really would hate to ruin its effectiveness. Thank you for your time.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Atripla should indeed be taken on an empty stomach. Since this is only one pill once per day, don't you think it's possible to use your bong at times that won't have you breaking into your local Piggly Wiggly with munchies madness at exactly the same time you need to pop your once-a-day pill? I have no qualms about your sparking doobies in moderation, but just time them appropriately, OK? Now stop Bogarting that joint!

Dr. Bob

Smokin Weed part deux May 2, 2007

About your statement that there is no scientific data that smoking marijauna is harmful, ludacris. There may not be any data but I have many friends in their 20's toking away with significant hairloss, I wonder if there is any significant data about that? Also, I just saw on the news smoking tobacco the burning of an "organic substance", is attributed to the many diseases associated with smoking, from the tar which is also found in marijauna smoke. It also stated the risk of TB, which we all have a higher risk of with impaired immune system is higher, along with emphysema and many other lung problems. Now I do realize the appetite aspect of marijauna is invaluable to someone going through that situation, but other than that I don't see how you could just say there is no scientific data against smoking mary j. Marinol comes to mind, rather than saying toke away. There is plenty of data and plain old common sense and observation, whether or not it is acceptable sounds like more the case here. Thanks love your articles, weed capital of NC.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello

"Ludacris????" Isn't he a rapper? Other than being a stoner, what does he have to do with this topic? Perhaps you meant that my statement that there is no scientific data that smoking marijuana is harmful to HIVers was LUDICROUS!?!? Of course then you immediately go on to state "there may not be any data but . . . ." I could rest my case right there, but what follows is just too precious to pass up. "There may not be any data but I have many friends in their 20s toking way with significant hair loss . . . !!!!" Dude, that you have some Rogaine-Failures as buds who also happen to spark the occasional doobie doesn't constitute scientific data! At best, it a weak observational association, not a cause and effect relationship. Let me give you another observational association. Every fall birds in New England migrate south for the winter. Three weeks after they head south it snows in New England. By your type of "science," you could conclude migrating birds cause snow in New England! You see it happen every year, right? Birds fly south and then BINGO, it snows! Therefore birds cause snow. See what I mean?

Will sucking on a bong make you a cue ball? No, there is no scientific data to support this.

As to your other point about burning organic substances, tobacco leaves and marijuana leaves are two very different plants. Tobacco is the more deleterious due to its addictive potential and its documented relationship to lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. Can inhaling marijuana smoke have some deleterious effects? I would assume inhaling any type of smoke would not be beneficial to the sinuses and lungs; however, the question that was asked was whether lighting up the "occasional joint" would interfere with the efficacy of HIV medication. Once again I stick by my answer: there is no scientific data that I'm aware of indicating there are any HIV drug-marijuana interactions. Perhaps you would be more comfortable with a qualified statement, like there is no scientific data that smoking weed is any more harmful in HIVers than in the general population. (Note the biggest risk for all tokers remains getting caught by the ridiculous and indefensible inclusion of pot in our crazed "war on drugs.)

Yes, Marinol is synthetic THC and available by prescription. However, some folks don't respond as well to Marinol as to the "organic" variety of THC.

Hope that helps clarify things a bit.

Dr. Bob

grass and meds Apr 29, 2007

Hi, Thanks for your continued support and knowledge sharing. I'm currently taking Atripla and all my numbers look good. I don't drink, but would certainly enjoy and occasional joint (maybe both kinds). Does pot interfere with my meds efficacy? How about other types of HIV drugs - PI, etc? Thanks, Riley

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Riley,

No, I am not aware of any data that sparking a doobie interferes or interacts with HIV meds. Now stop bogarting that joint!

Dr. Bob

Herbal Healing Apr 9, 2007

Are there studies where marijuana is used to treat HIV?? I have a friend thats positive and since they have been smoking marijuana there viral load has decreased right now the viral load is less then 80 and there not on any meds.

Thanks alot

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Stoner,

Mary Jane as an HIV therapy? Gosh, wouldn't that be loverly?!? But alas, I'm afraid it's just a Fig Newton of your stoned-out imagination combined with a healthy dose of wishful thinking. That said, I certainly admit to being a strong proponent of medical marijuana. But we need to clarify exactly what marijuana can and can't do. Sparking a doobie can be helpful for some aspects of HIV/AIDS complications, including stimulating appetite, decreasing nausea and possibly even mitigating discomfort/pain; however, there is no evidence that it decreases HIV's ability to replicate, decreases HIV plasma viral load or increases CD4 counts. To make such claims would be, in my opinion, "one toke over the line, Sweet Jesus."

Now stop Bogarting that joint.

Dr. Bob



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