We all are familiar with the popularity of cannabis these days. During the COVID-19 lockdown, people can buy cannabis as it comes under the list of essentials. There are many people who use cannabis for their medical benefits. You can also grow medical cannabis at your home with a growers license in Santa Clara. People can use medical cannabis for various conditions. These may include epilepsy, cancer, arthritis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, chronic pain, HIV/AIDS, and many more.
HIV/AIDS is a group of conditions, and the cause behind this is the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is a disease that attacks the immune system of the person suffering from it. It starts reducing the number of white blood cells in the body and makes it hard for the body to deal with infections. The immune system is the defensive system that protects you from infections, and once it weakens, opportunistic infections (other harmful infections) take advantage of this weakness of the immune system. Some examples of these infections include pneumonia, tuberculosis, meningitis, encephalitis, cancers, and chronic diarrhea.
Fortunately, medical cannabis is known to be effective at managing symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS. It can help people suffering from HIV/AIDS with its analgesic, antiemetic effects, and other benefits. It can help sufferers by eliminating nausea, loss of appetite, and other symptoms of HIV/AIDS. To understand more, read along to learn about the benefits of medical cannabis that can help HIV/AIDS patients. So, let’s learn about them.
#1. It Can Help in Reducing the Loss of Appetite
Loss of appetite is a common symptom associated with HIV/AIDS. It is very important for sufferers to avoid weight loss. And this is where medical cannabis can help them. Loss of appetite can lead to a loss in body weight, but a number of studies suggest that medical cannabis can help in increasing appetite and body weight.
A survey was conducted in 2005 on 523 HIV positive patients, it showed that 143 (27 percent) of the patients used cannabis to deal with symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS. And out of them, around 97 percent reported that they could see improvement in appetite.
In 2007, a double-blind study showed the effects of smoking cannabis and oral dronabinol. Oral dronabinol is a synthetic form of THC. It was seen that in a dose-dependent manner, both cannabis and dronabinol helped increase caloric intake in comparison to the placebo. Another study done in 2018, showed that cannabis leads to more frequent meals, although the meals were smaller. Scientists believe that cannabis can somehow trick the brain’s sensors responsible for appetite control into sensing hunger. In simple language, cannabis gives a signal to the brain that the person is hungry.
#2. Cannabis Can Help Ease Nausea
Nausea is another common symptom of HIV/AIDS. Nausea begins to become more complex as the disease progresses. The cause of nausea can be gastrointestinal problems, central nervous system disorders, or hepatorenal dysfunction. Sometimes, treatments used to treat HIV/AIDS can also cause nausea.
Now, medical cannabis is well known for helping people in managing nausea, and cannabinoids can counter the effects of nausea in people suffering from HIV/AIDS. CBD, or cannabidiol, can help in reducing vomiting and nausea. It indirectly activates a particular serotonin receptor present in the dorsal raphe nucleus. In fact, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved THC analog dronabinol to treat nausea and loss of appetite associated with HIV and cancer.
A study published in 1995 to see the effects of dronabinol as a treatment for loss of appetite because of HIV/AIDS, found that there was a 20 percent improvement in nausea in patients.
Another study done in 2005, showed that patients who tested positive for HIV and experiencing nausea, when used cannabis, were more likely to adhere to their antiretroviral therapies as compared to the patients who did not use cannabis. Further, the study showed that patients who did not suffer from nausea were not experiencing any significant improvements in adherence even after using cannabis. This showed that the increment in adherence was because of the improvement in symptoms of nausea.
#3. Cannabis Can Help in Improving Mood, Reducing Anxiety, and Act as an Antidepressant
People suffering from HIV/AIDS commonly experience anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. The reason behind them can be because of a combination of negative physiological, psychological, and social pressures. The patient survey conducted in 2005 showed that 93 percent of them got some relief from anxiety after they used cannabis, and 86 percent also experienced an improvement in depression.
Further studies show that cannabis can also help people suffering from HIV/AIDS by improving mood. Cannabis causes a “good drug effect.” This effect can increase feelings of friendliness, self-confidence, and stimulation.
#4. Medical Cannabis Can Help in Managing Chronic Pain
HIV/AIDS is to cause debilitating and severe pain. The cause of this pain can be complex sources, such as joint, nerve, and muscle pain. A study found that more severe pain also has some correlation with incidences of depression. But, cannabis can be used to get some relief from muscle pain, and it can also help in improving neuropathy (nerve pain). Cannabis can also help in managing paresthesia (burning, prickling, and tingling sensations).
HIV/AIDS patients can use medical cannabis to get significant long-term subjective relief from chronic pain. Hence, medical cannabis can be a potentially-cheaper and much safer medication and can replace opioids that have various dangerous side-effects. Overall, medical cannabis can help HIV/AIDS patients in reducing anxiety, depression, and fatigue while managing pain, and hence, increasing quality of life for them.
#5. Cannabis Can Reduce Peripheral Neuropathic Pain
Peripheral neuropathic pain is a specific and particularly common form of pain that HIV/AIDS patients have to experience. Any part of the nervous system outside the spinal cord and brain can be the peripheral nervous system. Peripheral neuropathy can damage one or more nerves of this peripheral nervous system. This leads to pain, paresthesia, impaired coordination, twitching, and muscle loss. But, cannabis can help in improving symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy related to HIV/AIDS.