What is Sickle Cell Disease?
Sickle cell disease is a group of disorders that affects hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body. People who have sickle cell disease have an abnormal protein in their red blood cells.
Signs and symptoms of sickle cell disease usually begin in early childhood. Characteristic features of this disorder include a low number of red blood cells, anemia, repeated infections, and periodic episodes of pain. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person. Some people have mild symptoms, while others are frequently hospitalized for more serious complications.
Normally, your red blood cells are flexible and round, moving easily through your blood vessels. In sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells become rigid and sticky and are shaped like sickles or crescent moons. These irregularly shaped cells can get stuck in small blood vessels, which can slow or block blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body.
There’s no cure for most people with sickle cell disease. But treatments can relieve pain and help prevent problems associated with the disease.
How Might Cannabis Help Sickle Cell Patients?
Cannabis may not be a remedy for everyone’s diseases, but its usefulness and versatility cater to many, including those suffering from sickle cell disease. Alongside the potential mood-enhancing, uplifting, and euphoric effects, cannabis also has analgesic (pain relief) and anti-inflammatory (anti-swelling) properties that are particularly useful for sickle cell patients. These attributes lend themselves to people surviving sickle cell disease.