Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus which attacks the immune system and eventually destroys it, leading to the condition that’s known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). It is most commonly spread through unprotected sexual intercourse as well as through intravenous (IV) drug use coupled with sharing of IV needles. When someone has AIDS, they are extremely susceptible to infections and can even get severe infections that would not occur in someone with a functioning immune system. In end-stage AIDS, unusual cancers, like Kaposi’s sarcoma, occur due to the immune system’s inability to clear neoplastic cells (tumors).
Medical marijuana helps patients afflicted with these conditions by decreasing some of the side effects of their occasionally harsh medication regimens in addition to preventing AIDS wasting by improving appetite. It also helps control nerve pain, combat insomnia and ease nausea. It is NOT a substitute for conventional HIV/AIDS medications which consist of highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAART).