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Marijuana-for-AIDS Study The first domestic study of marijuanas effects on AIDS patients is expected to begin in May in San Francisco While this preliminary study is designed to focus on whether marijuana is safe enough for AIDS patients to use it is the first clinical trial in 15 years that would obtain any data whatsoever on marijuanas medical effectiveness On September 18 1997 the National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA announced that it would give Donald Abrams MD a grant to study marijuanas safety as a medicine for people with AIDS Dr Abrams an AIDS researcher at the University of California at San Francisco has been trying since 1994 to obtain government permission to study medicinal marijuana MPP and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies MAPS have been working to remove the governments bureaucratic hurdles that blocked the research Unfortunately the federal government would not allow Dr Abrams research to proceed until the design was changed from primarily an efficacy study to primarily a safety study That is the study that Abrams proposed in 1994 would have focused on marijuanas ability to increase the appetite of patients suffering from AIDS wasting syndrome which causes patients to lose significant amounts of body weight The approved study however will focus on the potential health risks of marijuana in people with AIDS who are also on other medications If as MPP predicts the approved study determines that marijuanas risks are negligible -- or at least acceptable -- the path will be cleared to study marijuanas medical efficacy in greater depth About the Study The federal government through the National Institutes of Health will provide Dr Abrams with 978000 and a supply of marijuana A total of 63 AIDS patients who have used marijuana in the past and who are presently taking protease inhibitors will participate They will each be paid 1000 to stay
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