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J Neuroimmunol. 1998 Mar 15;83(1-2):116-23.

Drugs and immunity: cannabinoids and their role in decreased resistance to infectious disease.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond 23298-0678, USA.


Marijuana, Cannabis sativa, elicits a variety of effects in experimental animals and humans. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the major psychoactive component in marijuana. This substance has been shown, also, to be immunosuppressive and to decrease host resistance to bacterial, protozoan, and viral infections. Macrophages, T lymphocytes, and natural killer cells appear to be major targets of the immunosuppressive effects of THC. Definitive data which directly link marijuana use to increased susceptibility to infection in humans currently is unavailable. However, cumulative reports indicating that THC alters resistance to infection in vitro and in a variety of experimental animals support the hypothesis that a similar effect occurs in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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