Studieshave reported that hard-partying HIVers may forget (or ignore) theirmeds when high. But recent data suggest that puffing to lessen certainside effects doesn’t lessen adherence.

An NIH-fundedinvestigation at California’s San Mateo Medical Center of 168 HIVers onHAART found that alcohol and party-drug use did indeed correlate withmissed meds. But some marijuana users—those suffering “moderate tosevere” nausea—actually had better med adherence. Only thenon-nauseated HIVers exhibited poorer adherence when they lit up.(Results were published in January’s Journal of AIDS.)

So,everybody must get stoned? Hold your fire: The researchers “do notadvocate [marijuana’s] widespread use.” They stress that the studyresults merely “suggest that using marijuana to relieve nausea is notassociated with lower rates of adherence.”

David Bangsberg MD,of San Francisco General Hospital’s AIDS Program, says, “All drugsaren’t the same—marijuana’s not usually as harmful to adherence as[other] stimulants, or even alcohol.” And, Bangsberg explains, sincepot effectively alleviates nausea, which often causes HIVers to missdoses,  “for this group of people, it’s reasonable thatmarijuana’s benefits could have outweighed the risks.”

ToddGlanville, a Toronto long-term HIVer, smokes to stoke his daily battlewith weight loss. “I don’t even want to get high,” Todd says. “Itinterferes with my life too much. I just smoke enough to make my HIVmeds tolerable and to maintain my weight—because it works.” Choosingfor 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.

2.Remove seeds and stems from about a half ounce of marijuana (obtainedwith a doc’s script, of course!). Grind the weed fine in a coffeegrinder, 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.

3.Strain the shortening through a sifter or cheesecloth to remove all thepot. Now use the shortening to bake the brownies, following theinstructions on the box—or, if you’re channeling Martha Stewart, in thecookbook recipe.