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HIv - Atripla - Marijuana - Vaporization
Apr 7, 2011

Dr. Fawcett,

I was diagnosed HIV+ on April09 and started on Atripla a month later. My base CD4 was 220 and VL 33,000. Today I'm hovering around the low 500s and an undetectable VL so I guess I'm doing good.

I practically don't drink alcohol, don't smoke cigarettes, work and have safe fun. Nevertheless I smoke pot 2-4 times a week, normally after work.

I did some research and found that other than the negative health benefits from smoking pot due to the smoke and the burning, it really had no effects on my overall health, HIV regimen or CD4 count.

I then decided to buy a vaporizer, did research and the ones that had the best reviews and the ones the heated up the pot to a temperature where there was absolutely NO combustion, therefore no smoke.

I'm really happy with my portable vaporizer (Iolite Vaporizer) but wanted to ask what where your thought on this method of smoking pot (vapor vs smoke) (vaporization vs combustion).

Thanx a lot!

Response from Dr. Fawcett

As you know, marijuana smoke contains numerous toxins that, in my opinion, outweigh its health benefits. Vaporization is an effective way to mitigate some of those effects because it creates adequate heat to release the THC without releasing some of the other more harmful chemicals. While it's true that the use of medical marijuana can alleviate some symptoms commonly experienced by those living with HIV, I'd encourage you to monitor your use to be certain that a dependency doesn't develop. -David



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