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Sickle Cell Diseases (SCDs)

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Cannabis for Sickle Cell Diseases (SCDs)

Sickle cell diseases are a group of blood disorders that results in abnormalities in the blood cells, of which the most common disease is sickle cell anemia. SCDs mainly affects people of Sub-Saharan origin, where about 80% of cases of sickle cell anemia are found. People from Arabia and India are also affected, due to the high incidence of malaria in such places. It is thought that, in the past, the sickle shape of blood cells helped reduce that chances of people with sickle cell from developing more deadly forms of malaria. However, other studies show that some types of sickle cell sufferers are actually more susceptible to the deadly effects of malaria.

Both THC and CBD may be helpful in treating “sickle pain” and reduce reliance on more addictive painkillers. THC’s and pinene’s vasodilatory effects may help ease breathing and improve blood flow. CBG, CBD and beta-caryophyllene may help treat inflammation, as well as provide some antimicrobial effects that may help treat infections associated with sickle cell diseases.

However, some studies show an increase in hospitalization due to a vaso-occlusive crises in those with sickle cell diseases. Those with other heart and circulatory problems may suffer other complications as well due to cannabis use (in particular smoking cannabis). However, even here the studies are mixed, with some suggesting positive effects for cannabinoid use in heart diseases and others negative. Overall, cannabis has a complicated relationship with the heart and circulatory system.

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Animal Study

3

Double Blind Human Trial

1

Meta-analysis

9

Total studies

Sickle Cell Diseases (SCDs)

13

Positive

7 studies

54%

Inconclusive

4 studies

31%

Negative

2 studies

15%

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