Medical Marijuana Treatment for HIV/AIDS: What You Need to Know
Human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) affects approximately 37.9 million people around the world. These chronic, life-threatening conditions can result in unpleasant, severe symptoms that impact the quality of life for the patients with this condition.
However, many states across the country have approved medical marijuana as an effective treatment for HIV and AIDS. This alternative treatment can provide a number of benefits for HIV/AIDS patients, including pain relief, nausea control, and appetite increase.
What Is HIV/AIDS?
AIDS is a condition caused by the progression of HIV, a virus that can be transmitted through sexual activity, infected blood, or through pregnancy, breastfeeding, or childbirth. HIV/AIDS damages immune systems, harming the body’s ability to fight off infection. While there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, many modern medications can help slow its progression.
Symptoms for this condition vary depending on the state of the disease the patient is at. For example, people with acute HIV may develop fever, headache, and diarrhea, among other symptoms, 2 to 4 weeks after infection. People with AIDS are more likely to develop opportunistic infections and may experience sweats, chills, recurring fever, and weakness.
Treatment for these conditions can be difficult as well. Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, heart disease, weakened bones, and emotional problems, among others.
Medical Marijuana as Treatment for HIV/AIDS
In conjunction with medication and other treatment options, medical marijuana can provide significant relief for HIV/AIDS patients. The effects of cannabis can relieve many symptoms associated with these conditions and their treatments.
For example, cannabis can help control nausea and increase appetite, encouraging HIV/AIDS patients to eat even when they are experiencing unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms. Marijuana can also relieve pain, helping HIV/AIDS patients engage in day-to-day activities without distraction.
While medical cannabis is not likely to interact with other HIV/AIDS medications, it is imperative that patients visit a physician certified in their state to recommend medical cannabis to discuss if this treatment is right for them. After a patient receives a certification for medical marijuana, they can apply for a medical cannabis card, depending on the laws in their state.