have reported that hard-partying HIVers may forget (or ignore) their
meds when high. But recent data suggest that puffing to lessen certain
side effects doesn’t lessen adherence.
investigation at California’s San Mateo Medical Center of 168 HIVers on
HAART found that alcohol and party-drug use did indeed correlate with
missed meds. But some marijuana users—those suffering “moderate to
severe” nausea—actually had better med adherence. Only the
non-nauseated HIVers exhibited poorer adherence when they lit up.
(Results were published in January’s Journal of AIDS.)
everybody must get stoned? Hold your fire: The researchers “do not
advocate [marijuana’s] widespread use.” They stress that the study
results merely “suggest that using marijuana to relieve nausea is not
associated with lower rates of adherence.”
David Bangsberg MD,
of San Francisco General Hospital’s AIDS Program, says, “All drugs
aren’t the same—marijuana’s not usually as harmful to adherence as
[other] stimulants, or even alcohol.” And, Bangsberg explains, since
pot effectively alleviates nausea, which often causes HIVers to miss
doses, “for this group of people, it’s reasonable that
marijuana’s benefits could have outweighed the risks.”
Glanville, a Toronto long-term HIVer, smokes to stoke his daily battle
with weight loss. “I don’t even want to get high,” Todd says. “It
interferes with my life too much. I just smoke enough to make my HIV
meds tolerable and to maintain my weight—because it works.” Choosing
for yourself what’s best? A smokin’ idea.
Space Cakes Whether you bake from scratch or use a mix, the magic’s in the oil. To prepare the shortening for Mary Jane sweets:
1. In a frying pan over low heat, melt the shortening— butter or oil—specified by the brownie recipe.
Remove seeds and stems from about a half ounce of marijuana (obtained
with a doc’s script, of course!). Grind the weed fine in a coffee
grinder, then cook in the oil over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes,
stirring. (This breaks down the cell walls of the leaves, releasing the active ingredient THC into the fat.) Let it sit about 5 minutes.
Strain the shortening through a sifter or cheesecloth to remove all the
pot. Now use the shortening to bake the brownies, following the
instructions on the box—or, if you’re channeling Martha Stewart, in the