What you should know about HIV/AIDS
HIV stands for The Human Immunodeficiency Virus. As the name indicates, the disease is related to the immune system of a person. The disease deteriorates the immune system functioning. It worsens the immune function by killing the primary cells that can fight infection and disease.
HIV has three stages. They are acute HIV, clinical latency, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The most serious and severe phase of HIV infection is the Acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome.
Patients suffering from AIDS have a weak immune system, and they are prone to severe illnesses. Opportunist infections are the name given to the diseases that a person catches while going through Acute Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
Unfortunately, there is no effective cure for Acute Immunodeficiency Disease, but it can be controlled with proper medical care. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has believed to increase the life expectancy of the patients.
The dark side is that many patients don’t receive the necessary treatment. Those who go through the treatment face many side effects of medicines. The side effects include depression, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, insomnia and many others.
The virus is the leading cause of AIDS/HIV. This virus is transmitted to another individual through sexual intercourse, sharing the needles, due to blood transfusions, and through breast-feeding.
How does living with HIV/AIDS feels
The symptoms of the aids vary with the stage of infection. The primary stage of the disease is known as acute HIV. In this phase, the person initially develops flu. The other symptoms include headache, fever, rash, muscle pain, diarrhoea, sore throat, weight loss, night sweats, and cough.
The next stage is the clinically latent stage in which a person goes through fatigue, weight loss, oral yeast infection, shingles, and pneumonia.
When AIDS develops, the person is most likely to get opportunist infections and opportunist cancers. The signs and symptoms of the infections are chills, sweats, swollen lymph glands, weakness, skin bumps and rashes as well.
One of the patients of AIDS describes its experience as suffering from chronic exhaustion, nausea, physical weakness, loss of appetite, and anxiety was extreme.
Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and weight loss are the common symptoms of AIDS.
The link between HIV/AIDS and Marijuana
For the treatment of symptoms of HIV/AIDS, the cannabis is used. It is also beneficial in lowering the side effects of medications of AIDS/HIV. In the year 2014, there was a study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The study stated that cannabis users are seen to be relieved from the symptoms of AIDS.
Cannabis smokers reported that smoking cannabis helped them to get relief from depression and anxiety. The stimulation in appetite and relief from nausea were also reasons to stick to cannabis.
The patients taking Antiretroviral Therapy go through the problem of nausea and anorexia. This leads to the alteration of ART. There is a synthetic form of marijuana cannabinoid known as Dronabinol (Marinol) that is approved by the FDA for treating HIV.
Not only marijuana gives relief from the symptoms, but it also tends to attenuate the tissue inflammation and viral load. This reduces mortality and morbidity.
The exact working mechanism of cannabis is unknown how it works and reduces the symptoms. There is a theory that explains the anti-inflammatory properties of marijuana. The uncontrolled HIV replication leads to the creation of the cytokines that are the pro-inflammatory proteins.
Several pieces of evidence show that the cannabinoid immunomodulation is the result of the cell-mediated events that include decreased inflammatory cell recruitment, attenuated cytokine production. It also protects from the injury that results from the release of the toxic materials by the cells that are infected.
The viral replication can be lowered by mediating the neuroinflammation. Other studies suggest that the cannabinoid receptor can suppress the HIV-replication.
The University of Florida did very considerable work in the year 2017. The University of Florida investigated marijuana’s role in helping the patients of HIV. On this excellent work, the National Institute on Drug Abuse awarded $3.2 million to the University of Florida.
The head of the researcher explained the result of the study that the patients who used marijuana have a lower amount of the virus in their blood as compare to ones who didn’t use it.
The Marinol is the synthetic pill that is prescribed before marijuana. Marinol is legal and readily available for the patients to get it. Marinol is not as effective as marijuana because it lacks many of the therapeutic compounds that reside in the plant. The therapeutic compounds such as terpenoids and cannabinoids lack in Marinol. Marinol also imparts negative side effects in some individuals.
Cannabis can be taken in many ways. How marijuana can be taken is either inhale it, smoke it, or vaporize it. The patients have reported that cannabis is far more fast working than Marinol. Within minutes it shows the effect. Cannabis is excellent for increasing appetite.
Cannabis is great in reducing the side effects and symptoms. It is also proved to inhibit the progression of HIV/AIDS. There was a study conducted that observed the characteristics of one of the constituents of marijuana. That constituent is Denbinobin. The results of the study depicted that Denbinobin plays a role in slowing the replication of HIV.
Further studies are taking place to know the exact mechanism. But this study opens the possibilities that new and advanced therapies for curing HIV/AIDS can be made.
In the present era, the mental health of people is not given the proper attention it deserves. It is mostly swept under the rug and brushed off. It is still considered taboo to talk about mental health. The patients of AIDS/HIVS required attention in this matter. The signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS induce patients with substantial physical discomfort that some time is converted to the emotional anguish.
Stress, anxiety, and depression takes over the person. In this matter, cannabis recuses the person. Cannabis induces the euphoric relief in the patients.
Peter McWilliams was the author and medical cannabis activist. He died in the year 2000. He was the patient of AIDS and cancer. He shared his views on the role of cannabis in making the patient’s life better. He threw light on the advantages of cannabis regarding mental health.
Cannabis has anti-nausea effects, and in addition to that, it makes the person feel better and relieved.
Experiences of Patients
The therapeutic effects of marijuana are studied by the researchers and patients are satisfied with its use. Attorney Keith Viney shares his experience as after taking two to three puffs of the marijuana cigarette, the appetite returns. The effect is speedy, and it can be seen within minutes rather than hours. While the Marinol capsule shows the result after hours.
The Author and Doctor Kate Scannell summarize her experience as well. Marijuana has tremendous properties regarding the treatment of AID. It restores the appetite. It is proved to be very effective against nausea. Fatigue and vomiting are also cured by it. The political agenda that keeps marijuana away from the reach of sick and dying people is irrational.