Can Medical Marijuana Help Anorexia Nervosa Patients?
The most recognized feature of cannabis is that it causes the stomach to grumble with hunger. Which brings us to the word munchies. A famous term used by canna-users soon after a smoking sesh. This also means that cannabis makes you hungry. So, can cannabis treat anorexia? Few studies suggest the use of cannabis in the case of people suffering from cancer and AIDS. But the anorexia associated with cancer patients is different from the general anorexia – widely known as anorexia nervosa.
If we look at the statistics, according to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), 30 million men and women will develop eating disorders at some point in time in their lives. This proves that anorexia is the most common disorder yet we have very little research on the effect of cannabis on anorexia patients.
Not only this, but there are several reports on the eating habits that college students develop over a certain period of time. The disorder leads to the formation of anorexia and if left untreated can lead to a lot of other problems. So,
What Is Anorexia And How Is It Caused?
In simple words, anorexia is a term given to eating disorders. The former stages of anorexia are not noticeable but the later stages of anorexia involve excessive weight loss and death due to starvation. Basically, an anorexic individual will always keep a count of calories, will constantly worry about the shape and size of the body and will obsessively control the environment concerning diet.
Having said that let us familiarize ourselves with the causes of anorexia. One of the major reasons why anorexia grows over time is bad childhood experiences, constant pressure to stay slim, and a strong desire to not gain fat. However, some studies suggest that neurobiological and genetic factors can also lead to anorexia nervosa. Which brings us to the big question does medical marijuana helps patients suffering from anorexia. Let us find out!
Medical Marijuana And Anorexia Nervosa
Given the fact that medical marijuana causes munchies makes it easier for us to answer this question. But let’s not jump right into the conclusion. First, let us take a look at some of the studies.
In a 2011 study under the title, cannabinoid receptor availability in patients with anorexia revealed that the receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) combine with the cannabinoids (THC, CBD) of the marijuana plant. This chemical reaction leads to no changes in the body. Similar changes were seen in 14 anorexia affected female patients. Also, it was clearly mentioned in the study that CBD has the potential to improve the deficiency of receptors in the ECS. But it is noteworthy that the study was conducted on 14 patients, which is a very small number.
Another animal study revealed why THC may be helpful in treating anorexia. Though the study was conducted on an animal, yet it showed how CB1 receptors in the brain heighten the capacity of an individual to eat and smell. This, in turn, can help anorexic patients because they lose interest in food and the senses associated with hunger also diminish over time. But yet again the study was conducted on animals which brings us to a final study.
A human study including 24 subjects (a small number) conducted by the Centre for Eating Disorders in Denmark showed that anorexic patients can be treated with dronabinol. Placebo and dronabinol are a synthetic form of THC. The result showed that dronabinol successfully helped the patients increase weight in a short period, with no or minor effects. So, keeping the studies in mind, it is fair enough to say that cannabis may be a potential savior for anorexic patients.
So, Can Anorexic Patients Trust Medical Marijuana
If we look at the mainstream community doctors, most of them will suggest Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a possible solution for the treatment of anorexia. Because according to them anorexic patients are good at resisting the temptation to eat. So, enhancing the appetite cannot necessarily be an effective solution. Cannabis will not improve the neurological disorder, it will only increase the appetite. So, the mainstream community will advise you to avoid cannabis for the treatment of anorexia.
Weighing all the pros and cons and looking at everything so far. It can be concluded that cannabis is a valuable option for the treatment of anorexia nervosa. But given the seriousness of the issue and how anorexia can also lead to suicide. It’s best you consult your doctor first. But if you wish to take cannabis for the treatment of anorexia because nothing else is working for you, make sure you seek medical marijuana doctors online or by visiting a physical clinic in your area. Only then go and purchase the right product for your medical condition.