Condition Overview

Sickle cell anemia is caused by a genetic abnormality that makes a patient’s red blood cells rigid and sickle shaped. These red blood cells then obstruct capillaries and restrict blood flow.

When that happens, it can cause a “sickle-cell crisis” lasting five to seven days, on average.

Symptoms of a sickle cell crisis include chronic and acute pain, severe anemia, infections, acute chest syndrome, eye problems and heart disease. Sickle cell crises happen suddenly, without warning.

Patients inherit the gene variant that causes sickle cell from both parents. There is no cure for the disease and it can be passed onto offspring.


Pain-related behaviors and neurochemical alterations in mice expressing sickle hemoglobin: modulation by cannabinoids

Marijuana Use and Sickle Cell Disease

Cannabis use for chronic non-cancer pain: results of a prospective survey

Role of Cannabinoids in Pain Management

Interesting Fact

Approximately 100,000 Americans have sickle cell disease. About 1 in 13 African-American babies are born with sickle cell trait.