Marijuana and HIV have been closely linked since the start of the HIV epidemic. Nowadays, the use of sensitization is cutting down the occurrences of this disease. Furthermore, the use of modern-day drugs helps in reducing the symptoms of HIV, which has made cannabis less noticeable. However, there are multiple reasons to use cannabis for HIV symptoms.
What is HIV?
HIV attacks the immune system, destroying white blood cells in charge of defending the immune system.
When the body becomes infected, it usually responds by generating compounds that notify other components of the immune system. Then, white blood cells increase to attack the infection.
Nonetheless, HIV also increases by attacking certain white blood cells (CD4 T cells). When this happens, HIV dominates and infects the whole body, preventing the immune system from functioning. This brings malicious ailments, including lead pneumonia, cancer, tuberculosis, meningitis, and more. When HIV is left unattended for long, it is then termed as autoimmune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
How cannabis helps HIV patients
The use of cannabis for HIV patients is limited due to the lack of in-depth research on the plant. Cannabis is popular for its ability to ease symptoms in people living with HIV/AIDS. The analgesic and anti-emetic properties of cannabis are the main reasons why patients use it. Cannabis also offers indirect effects, like increasing appetite and facilitating sleep.
According to research, HIV/AIDS is a collection of conditions caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In 2018, it had affected about 37.9 million people worldwide, and in 2017, nearly 39,000 people in the US alone were diagnosed with it. About 32 million people have died from AIDS since the start of the epidemic, with roughly 770,000 people dying from it in 2018.
HIV/AIDS can bring different symptoms and health problems to those affected. So, many people are desperate for not only viable cures but treatments to ease symptoms. While there’s no cure for HIV, cannabis can serve as an alternative in reducing significant symptoms of HIV/AIDS.
Many HIV patients report loss of appetite, which usually results in weight loss. When it becomes difficult to eat, cannabis can be used as an appetizer.
According to a 2005 survey conducted on 523 HIV-positive patients, it was discovered that 143 (27%) of the respondents successfully used cannabis in easing their symptoms. The majority of the patients (97%) reported gaining more appetite after consuming cannabis.Å
Nausea is a common symptom for most HIV patients, and it can arise due to gastrointestinal issues, hepatorenal dysfunction, and other common disorders.
Cannabinoids can effectively overcome the symptoms of nausea in HIV/AIDS patients by indirectly activating a specific serotonin-receptor in the brain called the dorsal raphe nucleus.
Cannabis can reduce peripheral neuropathy
HIV usually brings about a common form of pain called peripheral neuropathy. This happens when several nerves of the peripheral nervous system become damaged, prompting pain, twitching, paresthesia, muscle loss, and loss of coordination. Cannabis can overcome the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in HIV patients and other related conditions such as diabetes.