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This Federally-funded Study Will Test Whether Cannabis Can Treat HIV-related Pain

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Jan 06, 2022   

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A group of researchers at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy have been awarded a $1.37 million grant to study whether cannabis compounds can treat HIV-related pain.

The grant was given by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a US federal institution.

With their funding now secured, the team at the University of Mississippi will begin screening and identifying cannabis compounds with known anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.

“Cannabis has hundreds of compounds in it other than THC and CBD, and we don’t know much about how these compounds might affect the human body,” Nicole Ashpole, an assistant professor of pharmacology at the university and one of the grant’s recipients, said in a statement.

“By exploring the effects of these compounds against HIV pain, we can gain insight into their potential benefits or risks in numerous other inflammatory disease states.”

Through their research, Ashpole and her colleagues hope to uncover how cannabis can treat HIV-related pain – many who live HIV claim it does – and help lay the foundations for related cannabinoid-based therapeutics.

“Clinicians have found that HIV-positive patients use cannabis more frequently than the uninfected population,” Jason Paris, an assistant professor of pharmacology at the University of Mississippi, said in a statement.

“When these patients are asked why, they often say that cannabis manages their chronic pain, which HIV predisposes them to, to a greater degree than currently available therapeutics.”

Several other recent studies have also investigated whether cannabinoids can treat HIV-related disorders.

A paper published last August found that frequent cannabis use may reduce neuroinflammation in people with HIV, resulting in possible benefits to cognition.

And back in June of 2020, researchers at George Mason University received $450,000 in funding from the National Institutes of Health to launch a study into the use of cannabinoids as an adjunct therapy for treating HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders.

 

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