Porphyria and Marijuana Information: Treat Porphyria With Cannabis

Porphyria refers to a group of disorders that result from a buildup of natural chemicals that produce porphyrin in your body. Porphyrins are essential for the function of hemoglobin — a protein in your red blood cells that links to porphyrin, binds iron, and carries oxygen to your organs and tissue. High levels of porphyrins can cause significant problems.

Porphyria mainly affects your nervous system, skin and other organs. The signs and symptoms of porphyria can vary, depending on the specific type and severity. There are two general categories of porphyria — acute, which mainly affects the nervous system, and cutaneous, which mainly affects the skin.

Possible signs and symptoms of acute porphyria include:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Swelling of the abdomen (abdominal distention)
  • Pain in your chest, legs or back
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Heartbeat you can feel (palpitations)
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Mental changes, such as confusion, hallucinations, disorientation or paranoia
  • Breathing problems
  • Muscle pain, tingling, numbness, weakness or paralysis
  • Red or brown urine

Cutaneous porphyrias include forms of the disease that cause skin symptoms as a result of oversensitivity to sunlight, but these forms don’t usually affect your nervous system.  As a result of sun exposure, you may experience:

  • Sensitivity to the sun and sometimes artificial light, causing burning pain
  • Sudden painful skin redness (erythema) and swelling (edema)
  • Blisters that take weeks to heal
  • Itching
  • Fragile Skin
  • Scars or skin color changes from healing blisters
  • Increased hair growth
  • Red or brown urine

Clinical Information Related to Porphyria and Medical Marijuana

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