CannaTrials adheres to evidence-based medicine – making statements based on medical evidence.
This page is excerpted and quoted from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. A Committee of over 40 experts, researchers, and reviewers in The Health and Medicine Division published a 486 page report in 2017 entitled “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research.”
If you would like to access the entire report you may do so by clicking this link.
Medical Marijuana and Susceptibility to and Progression of Infectious Disease
“The primary role of the immune system is to protect against infectious agents (e.g., bacteria, viruses, parasites). The immune system confers this protection by its ability to recognize what is foreign, often termed as “non-self,” which it then seeks to destroy using a broad repertoire of different cell types and mechanisms. Significant changes in immune competence can result in serious adverse health effects. For example, inappropriate or exaggerated immune responses can result in autoimmunity or allergy. Conversely, the suppression of immune function can lead to an increased susceptibility to infectious agents, an increased duration of infection, or a reduced ability to recognize and destroy cancer cells. A large body of literature using animal models and cell cultures has described the immunosuppressive properties of cannabinoids. Reduced immune competence due to cannabis smoke or cannabinoid treatment would be especially relevant in cases when immunocompromised HIV patients used the cannabis to stimulate their appetite or cancer patients used it to relieve the nausea associated with cancer chemotherapeutic drugs. Very few studies have investigated the effects of cannabis smoke or cannabinoids on the susceptibility to, or clearance of, infectious agents or on progression of cancer in human subjects. This section discusses findings from the few studies that have evaluated the association between cannabis use and immune status in terms of an individual’s susceptibility to infection and the health status of individuals with HIV, HCV, and other infectious diseases.
Collectively, the studies suggest that cannabis smoke and/or cannabinoids do not adversely affect the immune status of HIV patients. However, each of the four studies possessed major shortcomings in experimental design which could have contributed to the absence of adverse effects being observed in HIV patients who used cannabis or cannabinoids; these shortcomings include study durations that where insufficient to observe adverse effects in the endpoints being measured, small numbers of study participants, and poorly defined and variable levels of cannabinoid exposure.
CONCLUSION 8-2 There is insufficient evidence to support or refute a statistical association between cannabis or dronabinol use and adverse effects on immune status in individuals with HIV. “
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