Age has been the greatest factor cited as the reason why such a large proportion of medical marijuana users in the United States are people with AIDS. There might not have been comprehensive surveys implemented on users of medical marijuana in the United States yet small-scale surveys show that most users are trying to find ease from AIDS symptoms.
People are indeed looking for relief from symptoms of AIDS and this is evident in three cannabis buyers’ club from California which are organizations that administer the drug to patients – that have been visited by the team from IOM. The report appears that over 60 percent of the members of the club asked for the drug for the treatment of AIDS. Since HIV has excessively infected a population of a generation that has been nurtured being curious with marijuana, the theory has it that AIDS patients are more inclined to be relatively willing to utilize marijuana as medicine.
On the other hand, patients with cancer who are relatively older and hence less probable to have attempted using marijuana are really less disposed to seeking the drug. This means that the rise in numbers of patients with cancer should resort to medical marijuana as generation matures. One other factor that may also add to the fame of medicinal marijuana among AIDS patients is the drug’s alleged ability to pacify different devastating symptoms. Patients who are HIV-positive have asserted that marijuana soothed their stomach immediately after taking the drug, stirred their appetite, eased their pain, and enhanced their mood.
HIV not only affects the immune system, it also brings destruction throughout the human body and other than giving a grip for opportunistic cancer and infection, the virus as well prompts a potential fatal wasting syndrome, dementia, and painful nerve damage. Further, patients also suffer from severe anxiety and depression. Patients who have tried marijuana say that the drug relieves all of these conditions.
Patients who have AIDS rely on drugs that tend to make their daily life wretched as evident in the life of a 41 year-old theatre technician from Virginia who explained to the IOM team of his struggle with the virus. Thirteen years has passed when he first learned that he was HIV-positive, he has taken AZT, ddl, Crixivan, d4T, Viramune, Viracept, Megace, Bactrim and other drugs in the hope to survive; at the same time however, these drugs made him even sick as these caused him nausea, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and vomiting. When a doctor finally recommended an effective and simple manner to cope with the many of his medical symptoms, the remedy kept him from gradually being starved to death, helping him reconnect the human race as a productive and responsible citizen – this remedy is none other than medical marijuana.
As with the experience of this man, there have also already been an increasing number of patients with AIDS who seemed to use marijuana to counter the side effects of approved medicines and to cure disease symptoms. Those who receive extremely effective antiviral drugs known as protease inhibitors oftentimes experience vomiting and nausea which is identical to that being experienced by patients with cancer in chemotherapy.
The effectiveness of marijuana and cannabinoids to reduce vomiting and nausea caused by AIDS remain to be evaluated in the clinic. This basically warrants further studies to greatly discover the potential of medical marijuana in helping patients overcome medical symptoms brought by AIDS.