Dr. Ostrow on Medical Cannabis and HIV

For his entire career, Dr. Ostrow has dedicated his work to ending health disparities and finding innovative solutions to the most challenging problems in public health. Trained at the University of Chicago in their Medical Scientist MD/PhD Program (MSTP) he began his research on the neuropharmacology of mood disorders, but soon found himself as the founding PI of the largest and longest running longitudinal observational study of men at-risk for AIDS, the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) in 1983. His research since then has focused on the links between psychoactive drugs and HIV infection, recently showing that the use of three types of drugs-stimulants, EDDs and volatile nitrites-are associated with the majority of new HIV infections among gay/bisexual men.


From his clinical practice as an Addiction Psychaitrist and his MACS research findings, he concluded that cannabis use did not have negative effects on either HIV infection or disease progression. This led him to be an early advocate for research on the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis and drug policy changes, including ending the Federal prohibition of Cannabis use and research. Currently he is focusing on translational research to develop Cannabinoid-based HIV therapies and the establishment of a Community-Based Cannabis Research Network to accelerate the development of data based MC therapeutic guidelines for specific symptoms and conditions.