A recent study published by the National Institutes of Health has found that roughly 1 in 4 young adults who have HIV use cannabis on a daily basis to help cope with the symptoms.
“[It’s] what I do to make the problem go down or just make me forget about what I was thinking”, stated a 24-year-old who was part of the study, “It just takes away my problems. It makes it seem not so bad.”
According to the study’s researchers, “This study documents the motivations for and prevalence of heavy marijuana use among HIV-positive gay and bisexual male emerging adults”, they continue, “Our findings suggest that using marijuana to alleviate stress associated with living with HIV is a widespread phenomenon among this population, and that this phenomenon may not extend to other forms of substance use.”
The study states that daily cannabis use among this group is nearly four times higher than the national average for the same age group; “The marijuana use reported in Phase II of this study greatly exceeds that of national samples of emerging adults and previous studies on LGB emerging adults. Almost one-quarter of the sample reported smoking marijuana every day, almost four times higher than percentages reported in national samples of emerging adults”
The study found that this increase in cannabis use led to a decrease in alcohol use; “On the other hand, heavy alcohol use reported in this study was substantially lower than in national samples of emerging adults”.
This study gives one of the first clear glimpses into the drastically increasing usage of cannabis as a medication for those with HIV, and gives a clear indication of how useful it can be.