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|Marijuana - Medical Information|
Cannabis as an Adjunctive Treatment for AIDS Related Illness.
By Tod Mikuriya, M.D.
Ken D. is in a protracted war. For the last nine years this thirty eight year old
married mainframe computer programmer with a degree in accounting has fought the human
immunodefficiency virus in his body one skirmish, one battle at a time. He is a long term
survivor, beating the odds. A wiry intelligent man with a neatly trimmed beard to hide the
lesions of Kaposi's Sarcoma, KS, a form of cancer with many small colonies growing slowly
in his skin and mouth with itching and discolored patches. His beard also protects from
irritating the inflammation of the skin erupting from the side effects of medications.
Ken also holds a fungal pneumonia at bay. Pneumocystis Carinii, a fungus that is found
most everywhere, including normal healthy lungs without causing symptoms, hecomes invasive
and toxic when the immune system is weakened. This is one of many opportunistic infectious
diseases taking advantage of a weakened immune system.
He wishes he could work but the terms of his disability status would cost him his
benefits that see him through his periods of immobilization. The chemotherapies are
specific poisons to target specific enzyme systems of the cancer cells or the fungus but
are debilitating to the body. A major symptom is loss of appetite. Anorexia is a major
threat to the body when fighting these invaders. In order to summon the strength to
stimulate the immune system to resist, there must be nourishment. Otherwise, the body must
consume itself to support the immune system. Ths loss of appetite, and thus weight,
represents a major threat to survival. The weakness from inadequate nutrition leads to
immobilization, stasis, and other complications.
Many of the therapeutic agents cause anorexia as a side effect, further suppressing an
already poor appetite.
Ken had used cannabis 20 years but only occasionally in social situations. Since then,
he has come to rely on using it daily to maintain his appetite while taking the various
chemotherapeutic drugs. Not one to run from a fight, he has been a "guinea pig"
in many therapeutic research trials that have had varying success in beating back the
cancer or the fungal infections.
Despite the sensitivity of his lungs from the PCP infection that caused him to be
hospitalized three years ago for four days, he prefers to smoke cannabis.
Two or three puffs of high grade Northern California sinsemilla twice or three times a day is sufficient to maintain his appetite and provide the antidote to the side effects of the antibiotic and other chemotherapeutic agents.
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Schaffer Library of Drug Policy
Major Studies of Drug and Drug Policy
Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding - The Report of the US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse
Licit and Illicit Drugs
Short History of the Marijuana Laws
The Drug Hang-Up
Congressional Transcripts of the Hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937
Frequently Asked Questions About Drugs
Basic Facts About the Drug War
Charts and Graphs about Drugs
Information on Alcohol
Guide to Heroin - Frequently Asked Questions About Heroin
LSD, Mescaline, and Psychedelics
Drugs and Driving
Children and Drugs
Drug Abuse Treatment Resource List
American Society for Action on Pain
Let Us Pay Taxes
Marijuana Business News
Reefer Madness Collection
Medical Marijuana Throughout History
Drug Legalization Debate
Legal History of American Marijuana Prohibition
Marijuana, the First 12,000 Years
DEA Ruling on Medical Marijuana
Legal References on Drugs
GAO Documents on Drugs
Response to the Drug Enforcement Agency
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