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J Cannabis Ther 2001(3/4):035-41


Marijuana Use in HIV-Positive and AIDS Patients: Results of an Anonymous Mail Survey

S. Sidney

While there is a great deal of anecdotal reporting regarding the medical use of marijuana in HIV-positive patients, there have been few systematic surveys performed. The prevalence of medical use of marijuana in HIV-positive and AIDS patients was assessed by an anonymous mail survey of 1970 attendees of HIV clinics in the San Francisco, Oakland, and South Sacramento medical centers of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program (KPMCP) in California. Of 442 responders (22.4% response rate), 147 (33.3%) reported current use of marijuana for medical purposes. Among current users, the most common reasons for using cannabis were: to feel better mentally/reduce stress (79%), improve appetite/gain weight (67%) and decrease nausea (66%). Patterns of use were heterogeneous, with daily use of cannabis reported by 34% of current users. Nearly half of participants reported buyers' clubs as a source for obtaining cannabis, a finding of particular interest because of recent successful government efforts in closing down these clubs in California. In combination with other reported surveys, these data suggest that the use of marijuana for medical purposes is relatively common in HIV-positive and AIDS patients.

Marijuana, cannabis, HIV, AIDS, epidemiology

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