Medical Marijuana for Sickle Cell Anemia
The most common cause of sickle cell anemia is inheriting two copies of the sickle cell gene from both parents.
Sickle Cell Anemia: A Personal Struggle
Your ReThink-Rx™ Doctor Will Help
Sickle cell anemia is a genetic blood disorder that affects millions of people around the world. While there is no cure for sickle cell anemia, medical marijuana has been shown to be effective in providing relief from some of its symptoms. In this article we will discuss how weed can help those suffering from this debilitating condition. Finally, we will look at the various forms of medical marijuana available, as well as potential risks associated with using it to treat sickle cell anemia patients.
Keep reading to learn more.
What is Sickle Cell Anemia?
Sickle Cell Anemia is a type of inherited disorder that affects the hemoglobin in the red blood cells. It is caused by an abnormal form of hemoglobin called Hemoglobin S, which causes the red blood cells to become distorted and curved into a sickle-shape. As a result, these cells are unable to effectively transport oxygen throughout the body, leading to a host of health problems such as anemia and organ damage.
Sickle Cell Anemia Causes
The most common cause of sickle cell anemia is inheriting two copies of the sickle cell gene from both parents. This type of inheritance is called autosomal recessive inheritance and occurs when both parents have a defective copy of the gene located on chromosome 11. People who inherit one copy of the gene from only one parent generally do not develop sickle cell anemia, but they are carriers of the gene and can pass it on to their children.
Other causes of sickle cell anemia include mutations in the HBB gene or other genes involved in red blood cell production. These mutations cause abnormal red blood cells with defective hemoglobin, which can cause anemia and other health problems. In rare cases, sickle cell anemia can result from exposure to certain chemicals or drugs that affect red blood cell production.
Symptoms of Sickle Cell Anemia
Common sickle cell anemia symptoms include:
- Anemia: Anemia is characterized by a decrease in the number of red blood cells, which can lead to fatigue and shortness of breath.
- Pain: Sickle cell anemia can cause sudden episodes of pain, called “sickle crisis,” which may last from a few hours to several days or even weeks. These episodes are caused by sickled red blood cells blocking small vessels in the body, leading to a decrease in blood flow.
- Frequent infections: People with this condition are more prone to recurrent infections, such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections.
- Jaundice: Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes caused by an accumulation of bile pigments in the body due to increased levels of bilirubin.
- Delayed growth: Children with sickle cell anemia may have slower than normal growth rates, due to a decrease in the number of red blood cells and their inability to carry oxygen efficiently.
- Eye problems: People with this condition are more prone to developing eye complications such as cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal damage.
- Stroke: People with sickle cell anemia may be at a higher risk for stroke due to blood vessels becoming blocked by sickled red blood cells.
It is important to note that symptoms of this condition can vary from person to person, so it is best to contact your doctor if you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms. Treatment for sickle cell anemia may involve medication, blood transfusions, and lifestyle changes. With proper management and treatment, many people with this condition can lead a normal life.
Can Medical Marijuana Treat Sickle Cell Anemia?
Medical marijuana has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for many ailments, and recent studies suggest that it may have potential to treat sickle cell anemia.
Research suggests that the cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with sickle cell anemia. These compounds are thought to interact with the endocannabinoid system in the body, which helps regulate pain and inflammation levels.
In addition to reducing pain and inflammation, medical marijuana may also reduce blood vessel damage associated with sickle cell anemia by relaxing the walls of vessels and allowing more oxygen-rich blood to flow through them. This effect could help reduce the frequency and intensity of painful sickle cell crises.
Medical marijuana can also be beneficial for people with sickle cell anemia in other ways, such as by reducing anxiety and depression, relieving nausea, improving appetite, and helping to control insomnia.
Although medical marijuana is not a cure-all for sickle cell anemia, research indicates that it may provide some relief to those affected by this condition. If you or a loved one suffers from sickle cell anemia, talk to your doctor about the potential benefits and risks of medical marijuana treatment.
To learn more about medical marijuana and how you can gain access to it, contact ReThink-Rx today.