Drug resistance is a real threat for HIV+ patients. A nagging worry that doesn’t go away. Patients frequently develop resistance to medications because of the high mutation rate of HIV.

HIV adapts to nearly any situation in the body. Patients are not advised to skip even one day of medication. Once resistant, the drug is rendered useless. It nearly happened to myself last year when I lost funding for medication for several months.

Those co-infected with both HIV and Hepatitis C face a different kind of drug resistance- insulin resistance or IR. IR leads to Type 2 Diabetes giving them a trifecta of illnesses- HIV, HCV, and Diabetes.

Fear not, because cannabis can help.

Patients co-infected with HIV and Hepatitis C are referred to as HCV/HIV. Type 2 Diabetes is common among HCV/HIV patients as a result of insulin resistance. Doctors in Marseilles, France found that cannabis helps prevent IR or insulin resistance in HCV/HIV patients.

HEPAVIH is a French community of HCV/HIV patients. 703 members of HEPAVIH were analyzed over 60 days by scientists in Marseilles, France. A lowered risk of IR was noted among the participants. Based on this evidence, daily cannabis use, or any use of cannabis at all significantly reduced the risk of IR in HCV/HIV patients. The research by a team of French scientists concluded,

“Cannabis use is associated with a lower IR risk in HIV-HCV-coinfected patients.”

Preventing IR with cannabis is not exclusive to those co-infected with HCV/HIV.

 The correlation between cannabis use and decreased diabetes was published by the British Medical Journal three years earlier in 2012. The previously known effects of cannabinoids prompted the research by several doctors at The University of California, Los Angeles. Dr Magda Shaheen’s team concluded,

“We hypothesized that the prevalence of  diabetes mellitus(DM)  would be reduced in marijuana users due to the presence of one or more cannabinoids because of their immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties… …Marijuana use was independently associated with a lower prevalence of DM.”

 A common misconception was that marijuana use accelerated liver failure in HCV/HIV patients. This claim was refuted in the June 28, 2013, advance edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. No evidence was found supporting cannabis and the acceleration of fibrosis or cirrhosis. The benefits of cannabis on HCV/HIV patients outweigh the risks.

 It’s hard to visualize a scenario worse than an HIV diagnosis but keep in mind those suffering from HIV super-infection(multiple strains) and those co-infected with other STD’s such as Hepatitis C. It’s relatively common.

And Cannabis can certainly help if you’re co-infected with HCV/HIV.