Cannabis has long been by patients to alleviate some symptoms associated HIV/AIDS. Research on the use of cannabis for HIV/AIDS treatment is still ongoing, but with the legalization of medical marijuana in many states, progress is being made.
That said, there has been quite a bit evidence that suggests cannabis has been able to lessen the suffering of some HIV/AIDS patients.
Before we talk about cannabis treatments for HIV/AIDS, but first, let's go a little deeper to understand how the connection between cannabis and alleviation of HIV/AIDS symptoms is made.
HIV/AIDS and its Affects on the Body
According to this report by WHO, there were nearly 37 million people living with the HIV virus across the globe in the year 2017. More than 35 million people have died from the disease since it was discovered. Most of them were adults aged 15–49 years. These statistics are staggering and scary. And over 4 decades after HIV/AIDS was discovered, a cure has yet to be developed.
HIV is an acronym for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Once the virus enters the body, it starts infecting what are called 'T cells'—a part of the body's immune system—effectively destroying the immune system and rendering it nearly useless in the fight against various ailments. These cells then multiply, creating a network of infected and damaged cells. When the count of healthy T cells is too low, the virus evolves into AIDS.
AIDS itself isn't the killer. However, it weakens your immune system to such a point that patients become highly susceptible other illnesses and diseases.Once a patient develops AIDS life expectancy is a mere 3 years without treatment. Given the proper treatments however and many AIDS patients can live much longer.
HIV can be contracted in several ways. The most common being exchanging fluids, blood or semen through sexual intercourse, or the passing on of the virus from mother to child during pregnancy.
Cannabis Treatments for HIV/AIDS
Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ARTs) drugs are commonly used to relieve and alleviate the symptoms caused by HIV/AIDS. These drugs help the body bolster it's damaged immune system, allowing it to resist other illnesses. ARTs drug will help slow the progression of the HIV virus and keep the body stable. A with continued use of these drugs life expectancy can be greatly increased.
During the early stages and in the treatment stages, the patient will exhibit a number of symptoms. These include acute loss of appetite, nausea, anxiety, depression, and in some cases, paranoia.
This is where cannabis comes into play. While cannabis can't treat HIV/AIDS, cannabis can be very effective in alleviation some of the common symptoms and side effects that come with it.
Cannabis Increases Appetite
Many cannabis consumers have experienced the munchies. This can be a huge benefit for people suffering from HIV/AIDS, as people with this condition generally lack appetite. By consuming cannabis, their appetite may improve, helping them get the nutrients and energy they need to lead a normal life.
Cannabis Can Combat Nausea
Nausea is a common symptom for people suffering from HIV/AIDS. There are many reasons why this occurs among patients, and the effects can be quite severe. According to this 1995 study, some strains of cannabis can reduce nausea by upto 20 percent.
Improvement in Moods/Anxiety
As with may life-altering and debilitating conditions, HIV/AIDS is often accompanied by anxiety and depression. Cannabis may prove to be an effective means of battling anxiety and depression for some patients. This isn't always the case though, as some people find consuming cannabis can actually induce anxiety. You may need to experiment with different strains to find the one that works best for you.
In advanced stages of HIV/AIDS condition, patients may experience chronic pain. This is often caused as a side effect from the patient's other medical conditions. Cannabis has been shown to be effective in pain reduction among patients suffering from chronic conditions.
Research into how cannabis treats symptoms and side effects of people with HIV/AIDS is still ongoing. Advancements in medical marijuana research, however, have shown that consuming cannabis is one way HIV/AIDS patients can help alleviate some of the symptoms that come with their condition.