AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
AIDS begins as HIV, a virus spread through specific body fluids that attacks the body’s immune system. The virus attacks a specific type of white blood cells, called T cells, and as more of those cells become infected, the body’s immune system becomes compromised. AIDS is the most severe phase of the infection, when the number of T cells reaches a dangerously low level.
For many managing AIDS, quality of life has been drastically reduced. The combination of numerous pharmaceuticals to manage AIDS leads to various unwanted side effects: nausea, fatigue, vomiting and weakness are just a few of the many. Another physical condition experienced by many is wasting syndrome, or cachexia. This condition is caused by excessive weight loss and depletion of tissue due to factors such as appetite loss. In addition to the physical conditions inflicted upon patients suffering from AIDS are the mental ones. Depression and anxiety are common amongst patients.
Uses of Medical Marijuana
The use of medical marijuana is common when managing AIDS. Medical marijuana can not only calm nausea but is also an appetite stimulant, allowing patients to better combat their (or potential for) wasting syndrome. Medical cannabis can also provide energy and pain relief, giving patients the motivation, and ability, to be more mobile. Co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Ethics Department, Kate Scannell, MD, stated in a 2003 article:
“From working with AIDS and cancer patients, I repeatedly saw how marijuana could ameliorate a patient’s debilitating fatigue, restore appetite, diminish pain, remedy nausea, cure vomiting and curtail down-to-the-bone weight loss.”
According to information from the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, taking medical marijuana alongside HIV/AIDS treatment causes 3.3 times more likeliness to continue conventional treatment.
The information provided should not be used as a substitution for physician knowledge. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment with medicinal marijuana.