Mar 31, 2016 5:36 AM

How can medical marijuana help with… HIV/AIDS?

Definition of HIV and AIDS.

Among many confusions and misconceptions about HIV/AIDS is the common belief that HIV and AIDS is the same thing. This is neither true from medical, nor logical points of view: HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is actually what causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome); furthermore, being affected by the HIV would not necessarily mean the AIDS diagnosis straight away – in fact, it may develop years later, or never develop at all. However, the risk of developing AIDS is ever-present with every HIV-positive individual, and treatment is a necessity should HIV be found during examination.

AIDS is the illness that targets the immune system. It does no direct damage, but rather exposes the human body to other diseases, which would be fought off if the immune system worked properly. That is why AIDS is hard to diagnose if the person has never submitted an HIV blood trial. Symptoms occur in 60% of cases and most commonly include moderate fever, rash, headache, throat inflammation, large tender lymph nodes, and/or sores of the mouth and genitals. HIV-positive people should (and often do) take every infection seriously, as it may lead to unpredictable outcome without proper treatment.

How can medical marijuana help?

AIDS is a chronic, life-threatening condition that is one of the most commonly cited reasons patients apply for medical marijuana. In fact, each state where medical marijuana is legal includes HIV/AIDS as a qualifying medical condition. Patients living with HIV typically go through series of antiretroviral treatments to prolong the onset of AIDS. Side effects of such therapies - vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite - are often unbearable. Other side effects of HIV/AIDS include wasting syndrome and intractable pain. Medical marijuana can be helpful in managing all of these symptoms. Its value as an anti-emetic (stops vomiting) and analgesic (relieves pain) has been proven in multiple studies and recognized by several government-sponsored reviews. Positive emotional experience, which is another acknowledged effect of cannabis smoking, may also be of help in fighting depression and wasting away, which often accompany the physical condition.

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Mar 31, 2016 5:36 AM