A recent study reported that if people with HIV consume marijuana, or having alcohol or drug abuse are at a higher risk of developing brain problems.
The research lead, Richard Saitz, Professor and Chair of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health told that people with HIV infection have multiple reasons for having cognitive dysfunction, such as the virus affecting the body and medication for HIV. Moreover, the risk increases with the increasing age of the infected person.
A HIV-infected person suffer from chronic pain and mental health symptoms and in such cases, use of marijuana is considered as a good option, whether medically or recreationally. However, among these people, the ones with substance abuse, it was noted that there are detrimental effects on the cognitive functioning.
Still, there is limited research on the combined effect of alcohol and marijuana on the functioning of the brain in people infected with HIV.
Researchers said that it is suggested to have sufficient information regarding the effect of substance use, as the limited substance use is considered beneficial for health. But, in cases of HIV infections, even this limited substance use may result in clinical consequences, and so, the use of marijuana is recommended as a relatively safe and effective therapeutic alternative.
The study was validated through an investigation on 215 adults with HIV, who were associated with some kind of substance use. People, who participated in the research were involved in Boston Alcohol Research Collaboration on HIV/AIDS. In the study, they were assessed for their current and lifetime status of the use of alcohol and marijuana.
It was reported that there was no effect of the past consumption on the cognitive health, but the current use was found to have association with reduced brain function.