Request An Appointment Today

Complete this form to have a patient support specialist find and book an appointment with a certified physician near you.

Medical Marijuana and AIDS Related Illness

What Is AIDS Related Illness?

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS is the last stage that a person with HIV suffers. It is characterized by serious breakdown of the immune system and leads to death. AIDS related illness is a blanket term for a variety of illnesses that co-occur with AIDS. It can be a part of different stages of AIDS or it can be opportunistic illness that takes advantage of the body's weakened state. These illnesses range from irritating to deadly. In fact, they are often the cause of AIDS death. 

The more common symptoms of AIDS may be brought on by AIDS and not necessarily AIDS related illness. These are fever, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, chills, excessive sweating and general weakness. Opportunistic infections are the bulk of AIDS related illness, but AIDS can also make it difficult for the body to fight off diseases like cancer, herpes simplex virus and human papillomavirus, that are seen even in people with healthy immune systems. 

Opportunistic infections that are often found in individuals with AIDS and not as much in the general population are tuberculosis, cytomegalovirus, pneumocystis pneumonia, toxoplasmosis and Kaposi's sarcoma. There are also some conditions, such as wasting syndrome, that occur with AIDS or AIDS related illnesses, but may not be tied to a specific illness. These are only a few of the illnesses that a person with AIDS may develop.

Medical Marijuana and AIDS Related Illness

Medical Marijuana and AIDS Related Illness 

Because of the wide range of symptoms that AIDS related illness can cause, there are numerous ways that medical marijuana can help a person with AIDS. While this is true, few symptoms are widely regarded by the federal and state governments as treatable with medical marijuana. Unlike most conditions that medical marijuana is known to help, certain symptoms of AIDS related illness that medical marijuana can help are actually backed by the Food and Drug Administration and the federal government of the United States. Instead of being available on a state-by-state basis and still potentially punishable by the federal government, certain medical marijuana drugs, such as Marinol, are available to AIDS patients with these symptoms in every state, with a prescription and without fear of persecution. 

As mentioned above, wasting syndrome may occur with AIDS. This is rapid, unhealthy weight loss and difficulty gaining weight back. Medical marijuana is one of the best medications available for wasting syndrome in individuals with AIDS. It increases appetite. It also decreases nausea and vomiting so the food that is ingested is able to make it through the digestive system and provide nutrients for the body. Nabilone and dronabinol are among those rare medical marijuana derivatives that are allowed by the federal government and can help those with AIDS. This is easily among the best-supported and undeniable medical uses for marijuana. 

Medical Marijuana and Pain with AIDS Related Illness 

Mild, moderate and severe pain is usually present in AIDS associated illness. Medical marijuana can certainly help many types of pain, but the evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana for AIDS related pain will depend on the cause. There is sufficient evidence that it can be used with opiates to help lower the dose of opiates necessary and decrease the negative side effects of continued opiate use. It is also known to help with nerve and inflammation pain, which may occur in several AIDS related illnesses. 

Medical Marijuana and Various AIDS Related Illness Symptoms 

While most of the medical marijuana for AIDS support goes to fighting wasting syndrome, vomiting and nausea, there is some research for other symptoms. Other symptoms of AIDS related illness that may be treated with medical marijuana are inflammation, breathing difficulties, constipation and depression. Medical marijuana treatment for these symptoms is available on a state-to-state basis. It is up to the discretion of the local government and personal physicians.

Book Appointment | Back to Glossary | Back to List