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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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does smoking marijuana ?
Jan 30, 2004

I am a 31 yr old female, I tested positive in 1995 during routine pregnancy tests. Ive just recently been put back on meds, I was off meds for almost 2 years, I have recently been noticing wasting particularly on my arms and legs. I hardly have an appetite while on meds, Iam 5'3 and I weigh between 115 & 118, been the same weight for the last 5 years.My Tcells were at 354 and my viral load was 50,000 when I was put back on a new regimen My qustion is about smoking marijuana and the possible effects this may have on my health or med regimen the problem is I smoke pot everyday and I eat alot better, but I am worried that this may affet my health in some way in the long run. Do you have any information you can share regarding this matter. Is smoking pot harmful with the HIV therapies?

Thank you for taking your time to answer all our questions. Sincerely, mimi

Response from Dr. Henry

I have had numerous patients who smoked pot regularly while on treatment with no significant problems. A good nutritional and hormonal evaluation as well as discussion about exercise and diet is recommended. Long term heavy pot use can result in some medical problems particulary psychologic dependence. High dose smokers may develop some pulmonary symptoms. There is also concern about impaired judgement for driving, safe sex, etc. That being said I often believe patients benefit from pot use in situations such as you describe. I frequently would try a prescription of Marinol to see if the patient derives some of the same benefits from that. KH

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