HIV and AIDS can damage the cells around your spinal cord and brain. This damage results in peripheral neuropathy, which disrupts the messages between your brain and nerves.
Neuropathy can make you feel pain, numbness or weakness. It impairs your coordination, making it harder to move and perform everyday activities. In some cases, you must take caution when doing tasks like bathing or cooking since you can’t feel temperature.
Regardless of the progression of your disease, the other symptoms make it hard enough to function. Neuropathy just adds to the difficulty of having HIV/AIDS.
If you haven’t found relief in typical pharmaceuticals, you could consider trying medical marijuana — it has great promise for lessening your pain symptoms. These patients’ stories demonstrate the power of medical marijuana for neuropathic pain relief:
A neuropathic pain patient featured in the press is Andrew Greenspan. Andrew has spinal injuries that cause him to feel neuropathic pain. Combined with autism and other debilitating illnesses, his pain proved hard to manage.
Doctors tried numerous medications, including painkillers, as well as spinal surgeries to relieve his health issues. But, after many drugs and procedures that didn’t work, he was at the end of his rope.
Fortunately, before he lost all hope, he became eligible to get cannabis medicine from a local dispensary. Within a few months, his life completely changed. He can manage his pain much better, and his other symptoms have been reduced.
Ellen Lenox Smith works with the U.S. Pain Foundation, the Arthritis Foundation and the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition. In collaboration with the National Pain Report, she recounted her experience with medical marijuana.
She has sarcoidosis and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which can both cause peripheral neuropathy. She tried all sorts of medications for her symptoms, but had allergic reactions to every single one. Even over-the-counter drugs give her issues.
So, when her doctor recommended marijuana for her health problems, she was naturally wary. She had tried weed in college and had to stay in bed the next day. But, after using THC oil, she found she had no reaction to the drug and felt the best she had in months.
Now that she has lower pain levels, she can help other patients dealing with severe pain. She counsels them on their pain relief options and advocates for the healing powers of marijuana.
Andreas Thörn lives in Sweden, where the attitudes and laws surrounding marijuana are harsher than in the United States. When he was 15, he got into a motorcycle accident that crushed his fifth and sixth neck vertebrae, rendering him paraplegic. Twenty years later, his pain started to severely flare up, and every painkiller prescribed to him just didn’t work.
So, he tried medical marijuana. It worked in ways the painkillers hadn’t — he experienced less pain, spasticity and anxiety. He could finally take care of his children and run his business without his pain getting in the way.
However, two years later, Andreas was charged with drug possession. After a legal case tracked by the nation, he was fined and sentenced to probation. Since he couldn’t take his medicine anymore, his symptoms returned in full force.
The story does have a happy ending, though. At the beginning of 2017, Andreas became one of the first two patients legally prescribed medical marijuana in Sweden. The Medical Products Agency ruled he could go back on his medication, changing the course of the country’s marijuana history.
We don’t have just anecdotal evidence on cannabis’ ability to treat neuropathy — scientific experts also agree. The Neuropathy Journal reviewed numerous recent studies on the subject and found weed has worked for many patient subjects. It has promise for supplemental treatment for your neuropathic pain, whether you have HIV/AIDS or another condition.
If you want to learn more about the medical marijuana experience, look no further. Our database of trained doctors and guide to marijuana dispensaries can point you to professionals who can get you started with cannabis treatment. In addition to our blog, we have a comprehensive resource library to answer any questions you have.