Quick Links

The CANNABIS Study: Impact of Cannabis on Inflammation and Viral Persistence in Treated HIV

The CANNABIS Study: Impact of Cannabis on Inflammation and Viral Persistence in Treated HIV

Could cannabis help us treat HIV?

Despite being undetectable, people living with HIV have ongoing inflammation, which is the body’s reaction to infection, a state where some of your immune cells remain constantly activated. As well, HIV damages the lining of your intestines soon after infection. This damage also leads to chronic inflammation, which can allow chemical messengers and bacteria in the gut to migrate through the wall of the intestines and get into your blood. HIV thus sets up a vicious cycle of mucosal damage in your gut, chronic inflammation and overall immunological dysfunction.

This study will see if cannabis use by people living with HIV has an effect on inflammation in the body, on abnormalities & dysfunction in the rectum or colon, and on the size of the HIV reservoir.

  • Length of study: 2-4 weeks (one screening visit, followed by one procedure visit)
  • Medications administered during study: Optional sedative during procedure visit
  • Study Procedures: Blood draws, Self-collected rectal swabs, and Flexible Sigmoidoscopy with colonic sponge sampling and biopsies
  • Reimbursement: Subjects will receive $200 after completing all study procedures

Participant Eligibility

  • HIV+ men & women on meds, 21–70 years old
  • Undetectable viral load for at least 2 years
  • T-Cell count is above 200
  • Current use of cannabis 3 times or more per week for at least 6 months (with no other illicit drug use) — OR —have not used cannabis or any other illicit drug use in the past 12 months
  • No heart disease, hep C, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune disorders, uncontrolled asthma or diabetes requiring insulin
  • Not pregnant or breast feeding
  • No antiboitics in past 3 months
  • Able and willing to self–administer Fleet enemas and collect rectal swabs at home


Eric Helgeson, RN
(206) 744-8883

Additional Study Details

Full Study Title
Impact of Cannabis on Inflammation and Viral Persistence in Treated HIV

Study ID: 49623-A
Start Date: 08/10/2017
End Date: 01/31/2022

Ann C. Collier, MD, Professor, Medicine
Elizabeth K. Broussard, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Gastroenterology
Shelia B. Dunaway, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Medicine
Sher Storey, PA-C Health Care Specialist, Medicine
Eric Helgeson, RN Research Nurse, Medicine
Christine Jonsson, HeMBA Study Coordinator, Medicine

Accepts Healthy Volunteers?

Study Site(s)

Harborview Medical Center

325 9th Avenue 2nd Floor West Clinic, Desk B
Seattle, Washington 98104


Use the link below to send a message to the study coordinator, or call the number above to speak directly with a study representative.

I am interested in this research study.