Saturday, December 2, 2017

Medical Cannabis Benefits: Treating HIV/AIDS



Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a life threatening disease that weakens a person’s immune system and their ability to fight off infections and cancer. It is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which can be transmitted sexually, through blood transfusions, unsterilized hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breast feeding. HIV destroys a person’s CD4/T-Cells whose primary function is to fight off disease. An individual with HIV is said to have AIDS when he/she begins to form serious infections and cancers as a result of their T-Cell count dropping to below 200.

Symptoms of the early onset of HIV include: painfully swollen lymph nodes, fever, fatigue, diarrhea, rapid and unhealthy weight loss, cough, and shortness of breath.

As HIV progresses into AIDS and the sufferer’s immune system has been severely damaged, symptoms of the disease begin to include: persistent fevers, soaking night sweats, insomnia, severe and constant cough, chronic diarrhea, lesions and white spots throughout one’s mouth, headaches and migraines, severe fatigue, blurred and distorted vision, dangerously rapid weight loss and anorexia (wasting syndrome), skin rashes and bumps, nausea and vomiting, and severe anxiety, depression, and possible psychosis.

While there have been developments in drugs and therapies that help to manage HIV/AIDS and to prolong the life of the sufferer, these therapies are oftentimes expensive, and they only work to slow disease progression. There is still no known cure to date, and HIV/AIDS continues to decimate populations in 3rd world countries.

Using Cannabis to Treat HIV/AIDS


Cannabis is a complex medicinal plant that may actually be used to treat a variety of debilitating symptoms caused by a surprisingly large number of ailments. Its usefulness as a non-lethal medicine (you cannot die from an overdose of cannabis) cannot be overstated and its versatility in terms of how it can be consumed and as to how it can be useful for so many illnesses is something to be excited about. However, it is important to remember that consulting with your primary care physician should be your first priority when considering incorporating cannabis into one’s medical regiment and that cannabis is to be used as an adjunct therapy and not a replacement. It is also your responsibility to communicate with your doctor as to how your use of cannabis has affected your health and of your progress with utilizing medical cannabis.

With that said, exciting studies since the 90s have shown that cannabis may be quite useful for treating individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS for the following reasons: reducing neuropathic pain and pain in general; reducing anxiety and depression; helping to manage nausea and vomiting; stimulating appetite to combat weight loss caused by wasting syndrome; helping to combat insomnia; helping to reduce painful inflammations (skin, sores, muscles, lymph glands); and with protecting the central nervous and immune systems.

FINDINGS: EFFECTS OF CANNABIS ON HIV
While the side effects of HIV and AIDS treatments can impinge on one’s life quality, studies have shown that medical cannabis can help make the adverse effects more manageable. Studies have found that daily and chronic neuropathic pain related to HIV can be significantly lowered by regular cannabis consumption. Medical marijuana also boosts appetite and daily functioning, helping to combat weight loss and muscle breakdown.

Research also suggests that consuming medical cannabis is safe for patients with HIV/AIDS. One study found no significant association with cannabis use and the CD4 T-cell count of patients co-infected with HIV and HCV, suggesting cannabis has no adverse effects on the immune system.

While research surrounding cannabis potential treatment effects on the HIV virus itself, a recent study discovered that cannabis-like compounds blocked the spread of HIV virus during the late stages of the infection.

STATES THAT HAVE APPROVED MEDICAL CANNABIS FOR HIV
Nearly all U.S. states will medical cannabis laws have approved medical cannabis for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. These states include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.

In Maryland, medical cannabis may be prescribed for patients of any disease or condition that causes chronic pain.

In Washington D.C., any condition can be approved for medical cannabis as long as a DC-licensed physician recommends the treatment.

FINDINGS FROM RECENT STUDIES ON CANNABIS’ EFFECT ON HIV
Marijuana-like compounds can block the spread of HIV virus throughout the body during infection’s late stages.
Cannabinoid Receptor 2-Mediated Attentuation of CXCR4-Tropic HIV Infection in Primary CD4+ T Cells
(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3309010/)


Smoking cannabis found to reduced HIV-associated daily pain levels by 34% and chronic pain levels by a median of 72%.
Cannabis in painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy: a randomized placebo-controlled trial
(http://www.neurology.org/content/68/7/515.long)


Marijuana found to cause substantial increases in food intake in HIV positive patients that suffered from significant muscle loss, without any negative side effects.
Dronabinol and marijuana in HIV(+) marijuana smokers: acute effects on calorie intake and mood.
(http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00213-005-2242-2)


Cannabis found to have no ill-effects on CD4 cell counts in HIV-positive individuals.
Short-term effects of cannabinoids in patients with HIV-1 infection: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
(https://www.researchgate.net/publication/10574358_Short-Term_Effects_of_Cannabinoids_in_Patients_with_HIV-1_Infection_A_Randomized_Placebo-Controlled_Clinical_Trial)


Beneficial Cannabinoids and Terpenoids Useful for Treating HIV/AIDS

While much of the medical and scientific studies over the past two decades have been interested in Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for its ability to help significantly reduce pain and stimulate a sufferer’s appetite to combat weight loss caused by Wasting Syndrome, the cannabis plant also offers a plethora of therapeutic benefits and contains cannabinoids and terpenoid compounds that are useful for treating a multitude of the symptoms of HIV/AIDS.

In fact, the following chart denotes which cannabinoids and terpenoids also work synergistically with each other for possible therapeutic benefit. It may be beneficial to seek out strains that contain these cannabinoids and terpenoids.



Americans For Safe Access Condition-based Booklets
These booklets summarize the history of medical cannabis and the recent research used to treat a variety of conditions, including Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Pain, Arthritis, Gastrointestinal Disorders, Movement Disorders, HIV/AIDS, and conditions related to Aging. (About Americans For Safe Access)

HIV/AIDS



The effectiveness of cannabis for treating symptoms related to HIV/AIDS is widely recognized. Its value as an antiemetic and analgesic has been proven in numerous studies.



Article: "How to Qualify for Medical Cannabis in New Mexico"



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