The cannabidiol (CBD) market is larger than ever, with products available online and in stores in the form of chewables, oils, topicals, and more. These contain purified substances from cannabis.
CBD itself is a type of cannabinoid found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Despite claims that CBD can help treat certain conditions naturally, research is ongoing into whether these products can actually help specific health concerns, including HIV symptoms.
If you’re considering CBD for treating HIV symptoms, it’s always a good idea to talk with a doctor first. Read on to learn more about the possible benefits of CBD and what current research says about its potential in HIV treatment.
CBD vs. THC
Tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC, is a compound found in cannabis that may cause you to feel “high.” However, even though CBD and THC are both
In fact, both CBD and cannabis are derived from the cannabis plant. Cannabis itself consists of dried cannabis leaves, seeds, and stems, which may also contain THC compounds.
However, research backing CBD as a specific treatment for HIV symptoms is limited due to small study groups and potential research biases.
Other research has investigated the possible anti-inflammatory effects of CBD in people with HIV. One
Additionally, results from a
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) remains standard in treating HIV by reducing the effect of the virus on your body, according to the
However, adherence to ART may be interrupted due to side effects, like nausea and appetite loss. It’s still unclear whether CBD may help ease ART-related side effects or whether it’s safe to take both at the same time.
In 2018, the
To date, the FDA has not approved any other forms of CBD.
Sold under the brand names Syndros and Marinol, dronabinol is a prescription drug approved to help treat appetite loss and weight loss in HIV, as well as nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy drugs.
The FDA says CBD products cannot be legally sold as health supplements. There’s no formal dosing guidance for taking over-the-counter CBD products to treat any medical condition.
Possible side effects from CBD may include diarrhea and sleepiness. Due to a lack of research, it’s still unclear whether CBD may cause specific side effects in people living with HIV or interact with medications used to help treat HIV.
First, talk with a doctor
It’s important to talk with a doctor before taking CBD products to treat HIV symptoms or medication side effects. If they do recommend CBD, they can help recommend a safe dose based on your symptoms and other OTC or prescription medications you’re taking.
Best type of CBD product
While CBD is widely available in various forms, researchers who have studied the cannabinoid believe that oral CBD may be the safest and most effective.
CBD taken orally may help reduce inflammation and strengthen your immune response. This may also help ensure that you’re taking the desired dose.
Oral CBD may be available as oils, gummies, and drops.
Check for drug interactions
Until researchers know more about CBD’s effects on HIV symptoms, there’s currently no widely recommended dosage of these products for such purposes. We also do not yet know the full extent of CBD’s potential interactions with other drugs.
Also, while cannabis products are marketed as natural, keep in mind that cannabinoids like CBD are strong substances that may act as drugs in your body, according to the
Is CBD safe to take with antiretroviral agents?
It’s unclear whether it’s safe to take these products with ART. More research is needed regarding possible interactions.
Is CBD safe to take with PrEP?
As with CBD and ART, it’s not clear whether taking CBD with preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications is safe.
Is CBD FDA-approved to treat HIV symptoms?
To date, the only cannabis-related product FDA-approved for HIV symptoms is the synthetic THC product ingredient dronabinol.
However, CBD is not FDA-approved to treat HIV symptoms. If you’re interested in trying CBD, it’s important to talk with a doctor first to make sure you take the right dosage and that the product does not interact with any medications you’re taking.
While preliminary and anecdotal evidence shows that CBD may have the potential to help alleviate HIV symptoms and related treatment side effects, more research is needed to determine the exact benefits and how they compare with possible risks.
If you’re interested in trying CBD, talk with a doctor first. They can offer guidance on the correct dosage and other safety considerations so you may gain the most benefits without risking possible side effects or drug interactions.
Is CBD legal? The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC legal at the federal level. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them illegal at the federal level. Some states have legalized CBD, so be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.