Medical Marijuana for HIV/AIDS Patients in North Carolina
HIV is a virus that affects nearly 35,000 North Carolina residents, and over 1.2 million Americans. HIV can attack cells that help fight infections, leaving a patient with a compromised immune system, and extremely vulnerable to serious illness.
Medical marijuana is an approved alternative treatment option for people living with HIV/AIDS in North Carolina that offers relief from the painful and volatile side effects associated with HIV/AIDS medications, as well potential pain management and anti-inflammatory benefits.
What are the Symptoms of HIV/AIDS?
HIV Can Go Unnoticed for years – Get Tested Regularly
HIV can be present without any noticeable effects for several years, making HIV one of the more difficult conditions to diagnose without regularly scheduled tests for STDs.
Typically, after contracting HIV, a person will experience cold or flu-like symptoms around 2 – 6 weeks after infection, and then symptoms can remain dormant for many years.
Once symptoms begin to become noticeable, they can include:
Rashes or skin problems
Ulcers & sores in mouth, throat, anus, or genitals
Loss of appetite
Significant Weight Loss
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the result of an HIV infection not being treated. The body's defense mechanisms and immune system eventually become ineffective or fail altogether, leaving a patient at risk for life-threatening illnesses that could have been prevented with treatment.
How is HIV/AIDS Treated?
Treating HIV is Easier than Treating AIDS
HIV is often manageable with prescription medications, though without treatment it will eventually develop into AIDS and become much more difficult to treat.
Antiretroviral therapy is the most common form of treatment for HIV/AIDS patients, which helps to reduce the amount of viral load in the bloodstream and works to keep HIV from destroying more cells in the body.
Antiretrovirals are taken every day for life to help prevent HIV from developing into AIDS, although they do come with some unfortunate side effects, and antiretrovirals are quite hard on the body.
Using Medical Marijuana for HIV/AIDS Patients
Medical marijuana has been used to help offset some of the unpleasant side effects from antiretroviral medications that are taken by HIV/AIDS patients, and cannabis may even offer its own medical benefits for HIV/AIDS patients.
Medical marijuana was adopted by the HIV/AIDS community very early on, and has become one of the go-to sources of relief for HIV/AIDS patients.
Can Medical Marijuana Help with HIV/AIDS?
Medical Marijuana Prescribed for HIV/AIDS
Medical marijuana has many benefits that HIV/AIDS patients will find encouraging.
Improved appetite, reduced nausea, less pain, better sleep, and less depression are among some of the benefits that HIV/AIDS patients have found with medical marijuana.
There are even synthetic chemical copies of THC specifically patented by pharmaceutical companies for HIV/AIDS treatments called Dronabinol, or marinol.
And although these synthetic alternatives are available, over 1/3rd of HIV/AIDS patients report smoking dried cannabis flower to address their symptoms.
Medical Marijuana and Inflammation Associated With HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS is known to cause heightened chronic inflammation, which can become debilitating if it develops into advanced stages.
Studies have shown that HIV/AIDS patients who use medical marijuana daily had a significantly reduced level of chronic inflammation, similar to those without an HIV/AIDS positive status.
And many terpenes in the cannabis plant are known to have anti-inflammatory effects, further adding to the value of cannabis as an alternative medicine for HIV/AIDS patients.
As a powerful alternative treatment option, medical marijuana may be a step in the right direction for HIV/AIDS patients in addition to their regularly prescribed medications.
Get Your North Carolina Marijuana Card
HIV/AIDS will be approved as a qualifying condition for a medical marijuana certification in North Carolina.
It’s our hope that patients will soon be able to apply for a medical marijuana certification and begin receiving the compassionate treatment that they deserve.