HIV / AIDS
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a life threatening disease that weakens a person’s immune system and their ability to fight off infections and cancer. It is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which can be transmitted sexually, through blood transfusions, unsterilized hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breast feeding. HIV destroys a person’s CD4/T-Cells whose primary function is to fight off disease. An individual with HIV is said to have AIDS when he/she begins to form serious infections and cancers as a result of their T-Cell count dropping to below 200.
Symptoms of the early onset of HIV include: painfully swollen lymph nodes, fever, fatigue, diarrhea, rapid and unhealthy weight loss, cough, and shortness of breath.
As HIV progresses into AIDS and the sufferer’s immune system has been severely damaged, symptoms of the disease begin to include: persistent fevers, soaking night sweats, insomnia, severe and constant cough, chronic diarrhea, lesions and white spots throughout one’s mouth, headaches and migraines, severe fatigue, blurred and distorted vision, dangerously rapid weight loss and anorexia (wasting syndrome), skin rashes and bumps, nausea and vomiting, and severe anxiety, depression, and possible psychosis.
While there have been developments in drugs and therapies that help to manage HIV/AIDS and to prolong the life of the sufferer, these therapies are oftentimes expensive, and they only work to slow disease progression. There is still no known cure to date, and HIV/AIDS continues to decimate populations in 3rd world countries.
Using Cannabis to Treat HIV/AIDS
Cannabis is a complex medicinal plant that may actually be used to treat a variety of debilitating symptoms caused by a surprisingly large number of ailments. Its usefulness as a non-lethal medicine (you cannot die from an overdose of cannabis) cannot be overstated and its versatility in terms of how it can be consumed and as to how it can be useful for so many illnesses is something to be excited about. However, it is important to remember that consulting with your primary care physician should be your first priority when considering incorporating cannabis into one’s medical regiment and that cannabis is to be used as an adjunct therapy and not a replacement. It is also your responsibility to communicate with your doctor as to how your use of cannabis has affected your health and of your progress with utilizing medical cannabis.
With that said, exciting studies since the 90s have shown that cannabis may be quite useful for treating individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS for the following reasons: reducing neuropathic pain and pain in general; reducing anxiety and depression; helping to manage nausea and vomiting; stimulating appetite to combat weight loss caused by wasting syndrome; helping to combat insomnia; helping to reduce painful inflammations (skin, sores, muscles, lymph glands); and with protecting the central nervous and immune systems.
Beneficial Cannabinoids and Terpenoids Useful for Treating HIV/AIDS
While much of the medical and scientific studies over the past two decades have been interested in Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for its ability to help significantly reduce pain and stimulate a sufferer’s appetite to combat weight loss caused by Wasting Syndrome, the cannabis plant also offers a plethora of therapeutic benefits and contains cannabinoids and terpenoid compounds that are useful for treating a multitude of the symptoms of HIV/AIDS.