Pubdate: Fri, 30 Nov 2012
Source: Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2012 The Jamaica Observer Ltd,
Author: Ingrid Brown


VANCOUVER, Canada - Marijuana has been found to be quite effective in 
the treatment of some symptoms exhibited by HIV infected persons, 
according to the doctors here in Vancouver, Canada who prescribe it 
for their patients.

Dr Silvia Guillemi, director of clinical education at the British 
Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, said marijuana controls 
nausea and helps patients with weight loss issues among other things. 
As such, Dr Guillemi said she often prescribes it for those patients 
who are desirous of using it.

"We have a liberal approach here but not all physicians are online 
with that," said Guillemi, who is in charge of the immuno deficiency 
clinic which treats some 1,200 HIV infected persons.

Although there are two marijuana pills on the market, Dr Guillemi 
said some persons opt for other forms of it as they prefer to smoke 
it or make a oil from it. She, however, pointed out that the effect 
is usually not the same for all patients.

"I have a 60 year-old patient who was diagnosed late with HIV and she 
also has colon cancer and so she had tried using marijuana to control 
the nausea but it just didn't work for her," Dr Guillemi told the 
Jamaica Observer, following a tour of the facility by a Jamaica 
delegation of journalists and policymakers who are here to 
participate in a knowledge exchange organised by Panos Caribbean in 
partnership with the Simon Fraser University and the Vancouver Initiative.

Dr Julio Mantaner, also from the Centre of Excellence, said the 
marijuana pills have also shown to be very effective in treating some 
of the symptoms exhibited by patients. "A lot of my patients use it," 
he said, adding that it may be best not to smoke it as it may alter 
some people's judgement.

A recent report published earlier this year by a group of scientist 
at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, United States 
noted that drugs that target one of the two cellular receptors 
stimulated by the active ingredient in marijuana may prove to be 
effective at blocking a form of HIV that has been linked to faster 
disease progression during late stages of the infection.

The numerous effects of marijuana are said to be the result of 
chemical interactions between the drug's active ingredient, 
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and two receptors on a variety of cells in 
the body: cannabinoid receptor 1 (CRI) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CR2).
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom