Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an asymptomatic virus which causes AIDS and interferes with the body’s ability to combat infections. The virus spreads through body fluids and specifically attacks the immune system’s “T cells” (CD4 cells), gradually breaking them down and making the body less effective at fighting infections and illnesses. If HIV is left untreated, the virus can evolve into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which is considered the stage of HIV infection when the immune system is substantially damaged and T cells fall below 200 cells/mm3. When someone has AIDS, easily-combated diseases and infections can pose a fatal threat.
There is currently no cure available for HIV; however, there are treatment options available for controlling the virus and preventing it from progressing to AIDS. An individual who has AIDS needs treatment to prevent death.
Often, patients are treated with a combination of drugs suited to their needs and must follow a strict daily treatment regimen. Although antiretroviral therapy can abridge HIV from progressing to AIDS, this long-term drug therapy is associated with debilitating symptoms and side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, muscle tissue breakdown, weakened bones, chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and heart disease.
Since the side effects of HIV and AIDS treatments can obstruct a person’s quality of life, studies have shown that medical marijuana can help manage the adverse effects of such treatments. While some researchers had worried that heavy cannabis use could further impair white blood cell counts and immune functioning, the plant has proven to be safe and well-tolerated by patients—as well as an effective pain reliever.
Those interested in medical marijuana should consult with their healthcare provider before using cannabis to treat their symptoms. The provider will monitor the patient for potential drug interactions and respiratory complications.
At New Jersey Alternative Medicine, we can customize a treatment plan based on your recommendations from your primary care physician. We can educate you on your possible options in medical marijuana administration.
Call (856) 351-5277 for more information or to schedule a free evaluation today.