Alexithymia clinical trials at UCSD
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Given the treatments that are available today for HIV disease, people living with HIV (PLWH) can generally expect good medical outcomes. However, HIV is still a chronic disease and there are remaining barriers to achieving ideal health status and quality of life. One barrier may be a condition that is common among PLWH, called alexithymia, which can make it difficult for a person to name and describe the emotions that they are feeling. As a result, it is difficult to resolve negative emotional states, which can then lead to worse outcomes over time due to ongoing stress and related problems such as inflammation. In this study we will try to find out whether taking cannabidiol (CBD) helps PLWH who have alexithymia to resolve those negative emotional states, which may then reduce inflammation in the body as a result. CBD may work by enhancing the body's own chemical messengers that can help to regulate emotions and encourage emotional benefits. We will compare a group of people who take CBD for 4 weeks to those who take a placebo, which is a substance that will closely resemble the CBD but will not contain any active drug. Study participants and the researchers who are working directly with the participants will not be able to tell which is the CBD and which is the placebo. We will evaluate participants before and after the 4-week study period. We will also collect samples, such as blood, so that we can measure inflammation. We will compare the two groups to see if those who took CBD have lower alexithymia and lower inflammation compared to those who took the placebo. The potential benefit of this study is that CBD may be an effective treatment for alexithymia in PLWH, which may then improve both their emotional and physical health outcomes. This can help to address a remaining barrier to good medical outcomes for PLWH.
Our lead scientists for Alexithymia research studies include Erin E Morgan, PhD.