Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disorder that affects red blood cells. People with sickle cell anemia have abnormal hemoglobin, which causes the red blood cells to become crescent-shaped and hard. As a result, those with the disorder have a shortage of red blood cells, leading to a lack of oxygen in the body.
While there is no cure for sickle cell anemia, there are treatments available that can help manage the symptoms. Sickle cell anemia is one of the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Florida.
Symptoms of Sickle Cell Anemia
The symptoms of sickle cell anemia can vary from person to person. Some people only have mild symptoms, while others may have more severe symptoms.
The most common symptoms of sickle cell anemia include:
- Chest pain
- Abdomen pain
- Joint pain
- Bone pain
- Swelling of extremities
- Stunted growth
- Delayed puberty
- Problems with vision
Risk Factors for Sickle Cell Anemia
It is estimated that roughly 100,000 people in the United States have sickle cell anemia. The disorder is most common among African Americans, with 1 in every 365 African American births being affected by sickle cell anemia. Other risk factors for sickle cell anemia include:
- Having a family history of sickle cell anemia
- Being of Hispanic, southern European, Middle Eastern, or Asian Indian backgrounds
How Medical Marijuana May Help Treat Sickle Cell Anemia
The most common symptom of sickle cell anemia is chronic pain that can span from mild to severe and last for long periods of time. The use of medical marijuana has been shown to be effective in treating chronic pain in those with sickle cell anemia.
Opioid medications, which are commonly prescribed for pain relief in those with sickle cell anemia, can be addictive and have a high potential for abuse. Medical marijuana is a safe and effective alternative to opioids in the treatment of chronic pain. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory properties found in medical marijuana make it an effective treatment for the pain associated with sickle cell anemia.
Moreover, medical marijuana has also been shown to help with other symptoms of sickle cell anemia, such as fatigue, appetite loss, anxiety, and depression. Medical cannabis helps with the mood disorders associated with sickle cell anemia by interacting with the endocannabinoid system and providing the user with euphoric and relaxing effects.
Suggested Strains and Terpenes for Sickle Cell Anemia
When it comes to using medical cannabis to treat sickle cell anemia, there are a few strains and terpenes that may be more effective than others. Those with higher levels of THC tend to be more effective in treating pain, while strains with high levels of CBD may provide more relaxing effects. Marijuana strains ideal for treating sickle cell anemia include:
Jack Herer is a Sativa strain that has a high THC content and is effective in treating pain. With notes of pine and spice, Jack Herer is also known for its energetic and euphoric effects, making it perfect for treating fatigue.
This hybrid strain often leaves users feeling happy and relaxed while also providing pain relief. Cherry Pie is an outstanding choice for those looking for an all-around strain to help with the symptoms of sickle cell anemia, including pain, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. This strain has a flavor profile of sweet cherries and earthy spices.
Pineapple Express is a hybrid strain that is high in THC and is known for its tropical flavor profile. This strain effectively treats pain and may also provide users with a boost of energy. Moreover, Pineapple Express gives off a feeling of happiness, making it perfect for treating the mood disorders associated with sickle cell anemia.
Unlike the other strains on this list, Harlequin is a high CBD strain that effectively treats pain without the psychoactive effects of THC. This makes Harlequin a great choice for those who want the pain-relieving benefits of cannabis without the high. Harlequin has a woody flavor with hints of musk and mango. This Sativa strain is known for its uplifting and clear-headed effects.
In addition to choosing the right strain, it is also important to consider which terpenes may be most beneficial. Terpenes are compounds found in cannabis that give the plant its unique smell and flavor. Each terpene has its own unique set of benefits. The terpenes that may be most beneficial for sickle cell anemia include:
Myrcene is known for its sedative, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects which is why it is an excellent choice for those with sickle cell anemia. This terpene is often found in Indica strains and has a fruity aroma. Myrcene can be found in strains such as Cherry Pie and Harlequin.
Caryophyllene is a terpene that provides anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, and anti-depressant effects. This terpene gives off a spicy, peppery aroma and is perfect for those looking to treat the symptoms of sickle cell anemia.
Side Effects of Cannabis for Sickle Cell Anemia
While medical cannabis is a safe and effective way to treat sickle cell anemia, there are a few potential side effects that users should be aware of. However, it is important to note that these side effects are typically mild and temporary. The most common side effects of medical cannabis include:
- Dry mouth
- Increased appetite
- Changes in reaction time
- Changes in sleep pattern
If you are experiencing any of these side effects, it is important to consult with your medical marijuana doctor so they can make the necessary changes to your treatment plan.
Visit a Florida Medical Marijuana Doctor
Medical marijuana has shown to be effective in treating a number of conditions, including sickle cell anemia. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia in Florida and are interested in how medical marijuana may help you, take our qualification survey or schedule an appointment today.