Should You Use Marijuana for Sickle Cell?

Editor’s Note: On the Sickle Cell Warriors Facebook page, a few warriors have asked questions on using marijuana to control sickle cell. As an organization, we choose not to support or contest this choice, however, here is some information to help guide your decision. Our resident health & wellness expert, April Farrell-Hasty interviewed several people to create this report. The views in this post represent her personal opinions and should be viewed as such. 

I hear a lot of warriors smoke marijuana for mild pain and nausea relief.  I’m not endorsing marijuana with this article, especially if it’s not legal in your state. However, if it’s legal in your state why not? If you qualify for medical marijuana why not? I am and always will be an all-natural girl. I had acupuncture yesterday. I do homeopathy and aromatherapy, yoga, and meditation. I’ve been vegetarian for 27 years. I believe in natural over allopathic medicine. Several universities here and abroad have proven that cannabinoids work for chronic pain. Cannabinoids are the property in marijuana that reduces pain.

If you want to go a more traditional route, there is actually a pill form of marijuana. Tetrahydrocannabinol (Marinol) is the prescription the doctor can write for you that is a prescription for synthetic marijuana pills. However it lacks many of the compounds found in natural marijuana. It’s often prescribed for cancer and HIV patients to reduce nausea and to increase their appetite. I’ve asked dozens of sickle cell patients and several doctors, but no one I could find is prescribing Marinol for sickle cell patients. However is it right for sickle cell? I can’t answer that. Everyone’s body is different. Each person must also make their own personal decision on the legal and ethical implications.


More and more states are legalizing medical marijuana. California has even established green clinics, where the practitioners treat patients and prescribe marijuana. The interviews were from a broad mix of people in various states (CA, CO, WA, FL), some had sickle cell, and some did not. Here are some ideas to consider before to take the plunge.

Is it legal in your state? Make sure you are following all the rules in the state you are currently living in. And understand that the rules may change from state to state in how you obtain, how much you can carry, and what the requirements are to receive MJ.

Does it work to manage your pain? This should be one of the top questions to consider. If it doesn’t work on your sickle cell pain, then why even bother?

How will you partake of the marijuana? Most of the SC warriors I talked to smoke their marijuana. I don’t understand why. Everyone knows smoking is harmful, especially for sickle cell patients. [alert color=”770011″ icon=”128227″] With sickle cell, our lung tissue is already disadvantaged from acute chest syndrome, previous respiratory conditions, sickle cell crises’, and susceptibility to infection.[/alert]

I only talked to one person who makes marijuana food or tinctures.  I think ingesting is better for you than smoking. Why do something harmful to your body? You’re trying to create wellness., not get lung cancer from smoking. If you are going to use it, use it in a manner that won’t further harm your body. Make or buy a tincture or food. Make oil, flour, or butter.  Vaporize.

If you are going to smoke it cut back. Smoke once a month or less. Try to smoke as little and as infrequently as possible. The goal is to create better health. Not make your health worse.

If marijuana was illegal in your state, would you still use it? I personally would not. I’m sick enough without adding the prison system. In one of my previous jobs, we used to do eye exams in prison. The prison systems’ optometry equipment was at least 10 years older than what we were using at the time. If you were to go to jail you would not have as good medical care as you do now. Is it worth it? Not to me. My health care is really important to me. It’s the thing that has kept me as healthy as I am now and I don’t want to jeopardize that or my freedom.

To conclude, here are a few other tips from my interviews.

[alert color=”770011″ icon=”59290″]Use organic. Don’t smoke. Favorite products are Dama oil, Bhang Infused tonic, edibles, making cookies or brownies. They recommend buying a good marijuana cookbook. I was told that if you use edibles it works better than smoking and the effects last longer. However smoking is faster for nausea.[/alert]

Tell me your experience. Would you use marijuana? If you did would you consider not smoking it? Would you use it for your child with sickle cell? What do you think about marijuana legalization?



  1. MRBEEF1000 on March 18, 2014 at 9:21 am

    umm i do not believe smoking marijuana will affect your lungs i have smoked marijuana everyday since i was 18 and im now 30 annd my lungs are great and marijuana will not give you cancer either why would a doctor perscribe something to help cancer if it would cause cancer do some more research

  2. Mz lady Hayes on March 20, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Hello everyone, this was a great article. I started smoking weed at 16 at first I just smoked to “fit in with the popular” then as time passed I noticed the weed helped my appetite. I am now 32 and I smoke to help my Sickle Cell crisis. I live in the state of California we have doctors who issue medical marijuana licenses. I am able to go to my local dispensary “pot shop” and choose through a variety of buds. If it’s Legal and it helps why not smoke it. I find it better than taking intravenous drugs.

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  4. LuvDoctaEnergy on April 16, 2014 at 9:23 am

    I agree eating it is better than smoking, but smoking weed hasn’t killed anyone yet and still safer than cigarettes. PILLS destroy! I advice all Sickle Cell patients to get off the PILLS. I have Sickle Cell too and weed is all I need…eating & smoking it helps me on a daily basis.

  5. ceceluvsgod on July 14, 2014 at 10:31 am

    I have been a smoker since the age of 16, I also caught started because it was one of the in things to do in the early 70’s! I was diagnosed with sickle cell at the age of 20 but suffered first attack at the age of 18, I have used marijuana regular all my adult life because it has help me with the symptoms that came with SC. Life in a state where it is legal for medicinal purpose, thank God. My current age is 59 have suffered alot but still standing and smoking!!!

  6. Morenike on March 29, 2015 at 9:36 am

    I love your article. It is candid and to the point. Your article outlines your response to the common questions I or anyone considering medical marijuana would ask prior to starting use. One must note that patients with sickle cell sometimes get very desperate . They are willing to try anything to reduce their pain. Therefore I would not fault anyone for considering this method of pain relief.I am a mother of three boys with sickle cell beta thalassemia plus. They have crises like sickle cell patients but not as frequent. While I would NEVER have considered marijuana in the past when my sons were younger, I would consider it now to reduce pain rather than go to the emergency room. After seeing my oldest college age son in such intense pain after playing his favorite game of basketball, I am willing to revisit other methods to reduce his pain. (I am yet to purchase this . If I do , I would try oils only). I agree that smoking should be avoided. There are vaporization tools that release the vapor from the marijuana without actually smoking it. (less fumes etc).If marijuana is legal in your state AND you have a doctors written recommendation to use it , you will not be at risk for imprisonment.

  7. LaBella on April 18, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    I have contemplated smoking weed for my Sickle Cell. I have type SS, and I’m 31 years old. I’ve only smoked weed about 5 times in my adult life. I HATE the smell. Hate it. So for me, I would get over the odor if it helped me stay away from heavy narcotics for chronic pain, like Methadone, which I have taken for almost 8 years. I used to take OxyContin before that, and maxed out at 200 mg a DAY. And I only weigh 125 lbs. That is enough to knock down a large horse. The tolerance I developed to OxyContin, liver issues from excessive Percocet/Vicodin/Hydrocodone and the short duration of oxycodone have pushed me to try and find alternative remedies. I am tapering myself off of Methadone, and have gone from 20mg every 8 hours to 2.5 mg every 8 hours in the last 3 months. I will “make the leap” from 2.5 to zero once I have gone from every 8 hour dosing to every 12. I hate taking Methadone. No east coast state has legalized MJ so I have been using things like Turmeric, cayenne pepper, and white willow bark as natural aids for inflammation and pain. I love natural remedies. I think that I’m going to do more research, but since it is illegal in my state, and since I do not want to lose my rights as a mom, productive member of society, or my right to keep and bear arms, I will stick with a prescription from my doctor for opiates for now.

  8. jicho nyanya on August 15, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    I have been experiencing pripiasm for a while now and had no idea it is a disease,am a sicler(sickle-cell anaemia) and smokes weed..I just thought of researching about it and thanks to this website. now I fully understood what was wrong with me.

  9. jehu de invicibiliz on August 20, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Watsup fellaz and sister,am a worrior and been trying to gain muscles like the rock and also get raid of my yellow eyes,sometimes I feel shy to to talk to a lady plz brodaz and sisters if u know of any remedy to my worried. Plz help me out

  10. SCheryl on January 28, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    I have never smoked weed for my SCD type SC. I smoked for recreational purposes a while back. I am 49 now and don’t have the desire. I take IBU for the pain but limited it to less than the recommended dosage. Don’t want to have other bodily issues down the line. So, my answer for me is water water water, natural juices and as less alcohol as possible. My vice is vodka in juices and wine. UGH. Don’t want to give that up so I limit and drink a lot of water afterwards so I dont’ get dehydrated and start sickleling.

  11. D on February 8, 2016 at 12:06 am

    I disagree with this whole thing im 16. Ii smoke weed & i a also have sicklecell anemia . It helps with my pain I hate taking all the pain medications that Im prescribed some of them make me feel dizzy & long down the road that stuff will eventually fuck up my livers,kidneys,etc . I’ll choose weed over taking those drugs any day MY OPINION TO SCD PATIENTS IS TO CONTINUE SMOKING MARIJUANA

  12. Richard Bland on March 21, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Awesome article to share and read. You have posted a great article. I definitely agree with all your valuable information. I agree with you that eating marijuana is much better than smoking it.

    Smoking cannabis can lead to several health issues and problems in the body.I loved reading your article.

  13. Omozuhiomwencharles on September 25, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    No way, I prefer adding it to my diet. Smoking is bad because it kills slowly. I also fear being addicted.

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