Marijuana use among people coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) is linked with a lowered risk of insulin resistance. Publishing their findings in Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers in the French ANRS CO13 HEPAVIH study followed 703 coinfected people for 60 months to determine the connection.

The participants made study visits every 12 months, during which they completed a questionnaire about their pot use during the previous four weeks as well as about other variables connected to insulin resistance.

At the outset of the study, 45 percent of the participants said they’d recently used weed. Twenty-one percent said they used it occasionally, 12 percent regularly and 13 percent daily. The median HOMA-IR value at this point was 2.06.

The HOMA-IR, or homeostatic model assessment, is a calculator used to measure insulin resistance, which in this study was defined as a value greater than 2.77. Forty-six percent of the participants had at least one HOMA-IR value above that threshold during the study’s follow-up period.

After factoring out numerous variables, including sex, HIV viral load, the use of the HIV antiretroviral Zerit (stavudine), and coffee consumption, the researchers found that pot use was associated with a 60 percent reduction in the risk of insulin resistance among this population, regardless of the frequency of use.

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