AIDS wasting syndrome was a typical complication of HIV infection before protease-inhibitor drugs were created, resulting in radical weight loss and cachexia-weight and appetite loss, fatigue and muscle atrophy-serving to further debilitate patients with already failing immune systems or infections like pneumonia.
Due to the standard side effects of cannabis consumption being a larger appetite, both medical marijuana and drugs created from cannabinoids are often used to combat AIDS instead of standard techniques, being valued for their aforementioned appetite stimulant as well as being beneficial to the relief of other AIDS-induced symptoms.
Human trials to determine cannabis’ ability to increase weight gain and food intake began in the 1970s, but only utilizing healthy volunteers. In a trail that focused solely on AIDS sufferers, the chemical THC displayed the ability to decrease nausea and increase appetite when compared to the effects of placebos. Patients’ mood and weight were both shown to improve as well, empowering the American Institute of Medicine to determine that cannabis was a proven treatment for HIV and AIDS.
Since these studies planted the seed for cannabis’ benefit in the medical field, trials are continuously held on a cannabis-based drug known as Dronabinol, which can be used as an appetite stimulant and nausea suppressant for both chemotherapy and AIDS patients. These studies are also being conducted for Dronabinol’s use for pain relief from retroviral drugs, a side effects suffered by almost 30% of HIV/AIDS patients.