Sickle cell anemia is a sickle cell disease that results in sickle-shaped, rigid blood cells. This is caused by an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying protein in the hemoglobin found in red blood cells. There are various subtypes of sickle cell anemia, and they are usually inherited from one’s parents.
Sickle cell anemia and other such diseases can cause problems such as pain (“sickle pain”), anemia, bacterial infections, swelling in the hands and feet, and an increased chance of stroke. The disease mainly affects people of Sub-Saharan origin, although people from Arabia and India are also affected, due to the high incidence of malaria in such places.
The therapeutic effects of cannabis for sickle cell carriers have only been looked at more recently. Traditionally, the opioids were used to manage “sickle pain”, but it has problematic side-effects like extreme sedation, nausea, appetite loss, constipation respiratory depression and, of course, addiction.
- Helps manage pain without the need for opioids
- May inhibit the chance of infection from other sources
- Induces relaxation and aids sleep
- Relieves anxiety and depression
- Lowers heightened sensitivity to pain (hyperalgesia)
- Smoking may heighten breathlessness
- Cannabis may increase the chances of stroke for some individuals
- May cause uncomfortable side-effects such as racing heart and dizziness
- Some people report increased sensitivity to pain, especially after using high-THC, low-CBD strains or products