When HIV/AIDS becomes too much too handle, people will often seek alternative treatments. A lifelong disease, HIV isn’t something that will simply go away. While conventional treatments can save lives and help stop the progression of an infection, they often carry nasty side effects that can make a patient’s conditions even worse. For this reason, more patients are seeking medical marijuana to help manage and treat symptoms of HIV/AIDS. Cannabis has been proven to help treat other diseases and conditions for quite some time, and evidence shows it is a strong candidate for treating HIV as well.
What Exactly is HIV/AIDS?
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus is spread by human-blood contact. This can be through needles, sexual contact, and other exposure involving the body fluids of an infected person. The virus itself gets its name from its key trait of attacking and suppressing the immune system to prevent it from eradicating the infection. Therefore, HIV infections cannot be cured and stay present in the body. If left untreated, HIV can develop into AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. As the name suggests, AIDS is a late stage condition of HIV caused by severe damage to the immune system, leaving it weak or unable to fight off other infections and even some cancers.
Effects of AIDS
Living with HIV/AIDS can not only produce distressing physical ailments, but emotional ones as well. The plight of learning of an HIV infection can lead to severe depression and a sense of hopelessness. In addition, patients can experience a variety of symptoms like fevers, weight loss, fatigue, loss of appetite, red blotching on the skin, mouth ulcers, etc. What many do not know is the plethora of treatment options available to them, as well as the importance of detecting the infection early. This is the key to being able to manage the virus and prevent it from worsening. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to detect it within the first six months because many people show no symptoms at all.
When a patient is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, their first course of action is usually to start antiretroviral therapy (ART). Doctors prescribe medications which work against HIV cells by inhibiting their ability to multiply and make copies of the virus at such a fast pace. While this is generally accepted as an effective chemotherapy for patients, it does not come without harsh risks and possible side effects. These include nausea, pain, weakness, allergic reactions, and drug resistance from the virus, making ART potentially ineffective. As a result, researchers have focused more effort on finding therapies that are less prone to harming the patient, and this is where marijuana comes in.
If you are a first-time patient or returning to LifeBoost please fill out this form to schedule your medical marijuana evaluation with Dr. Stratt.
How Medical Marijuana is Different
Cannabis has been legally prescribed by doctors to treat diseases for years. A promising candidate for HIV patients, medical marijuana has been proven to help relieve several of the symptoms associated with the disease, as well as help fight the virus itself. Researchers from Columbia noted that marijuana substantially increases appetite in HIV patients, as many of them are left with a severe loss of appetite from the drugs they take. In addition, cannabis helps soothe the pain caused by nerve sensitivity resulting from HIV. Deeper within the body, marijuana can also target the disease itself and help keep the virus from replicating.
Medical marijuana is most commonly smoked or inhaled through vaporizing. It can also be ingested, but the effects take longer to begin. Upon receiving a prescription, patients will be allowed to purchase medicinal cannabis from a local dispensary with a license. From there, patients can begin treatment and find the right dosage and method that works best for them.
There is hope for HIV/AIDS patients who want other treatment options. While conventional drug therapy can be effective, it can often cause unwanted side effects. In addition, regularly prescribed drugs may not work well for all patients. Cannabis is a natural alternative that can help alleviate symptoms of an HIV infection without causing further harm to your body.