New Study Finds that Marijuana is Associated with “Better” Cognitive Performance in HIV Patients

New Study Finds that Marijuana is Associated with “Better” Cognitive Performance in HIV Patients

According to a new study published in the journal AIDS Care (and epublished by the U.S. National Institute of Health), HIV positive subjects who use marijuana exhibit similar or greater cognitive performance than do non-users.

For the study researchers examined the relationship between marijuana use and neurocognitive performance in 138 patients living with HIV. Of these patients, 47 had a history of marijuana use.

The study found that those with a history of marijuana use, on average, displayed “better processing speed, visual learning and memory, and dominant hand motor ability” compared to those with no past cannabis use.

The study concludes by stating that marijuana use “did not negatively impact neurocognition in a primarily Latinx sample of PLWH [people living with HIV]”. It continues by stating that these “Findings suggest PLWH with past cannabis use have similar or better neurocognition across domains compared to PLWH without past use.”

The study is titled “The neurocognitive effects of past cannabis use disorder in a diverse sample of people living with HIV”. The full abstract of this study can be found below:

People living with HIV (PLWH) report higher rates of cannabis use than the general population, a trend likely to continue in light of recent policy changes and the reported therapeutic benefits of cannabis for PLWH. Therefore, it is important to better understand cannabis-associated effects on neurocognition, especially as PLWH are at heightened risk for neurocognitive impairment. This study aimed to elucidate the effects of a past cannabis use disorder on current neurocognition in a diverse sample of PLWH. This cross-sectional study included 138 PLWH (age M(SD) = 47.28(8.06); education M(SD) = 12.64(2.73); 73% Male; 71% Latinx) who underwent neuropsychological, DSM-diagnostic, and urine toxicology evaluations. One-way ANCOVAs were conducted to examine effects of a past cannabis use disorder (CUD+) on tests of attention/working memory, processing speed, executive functioning, verbal fluency, learning, memory, and motor ability. Compared to the past CUD- group, the past CUD+ group performed significantly better on tests of processing speed, visual learning and memory, and motor ability (p‘s < .05). Findings suggest PLWH with past cannabis use have similar or better neurocognition across domains compared to PLWH without past use.

The study’s affiliated researchers are from the following locations:

  • Department of Psychology, Fordham University, New York, NY, USA.
  • Department of Neurology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA.
  • Department of Psychology, Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY, Queens, NY, USA.
  • Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
  • Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

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