Medical cannabis is now used in the treatment of a wide range of physical and mental symptoms – including eating disorders. Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and others often occur due to a range of mental health problems. They can also emerge due to other serious conditions, such as HIV/AIDs and cancer.
Eating disorders are often treated via psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a range of medications. However, research suggests that the effects of cannabis can also help those suffering from lack of appetite, loss of appetite, and other eating problems. Here’s what you need to know about eating disorders and cannabis.
What Are Eating Disorders?
An eating disorder can refer to any long-term chronic illness related to disordered eating patterns. These often occur due to distorted body image issues and result in people becoming unhealthy and even emaciated in some cases. Sufferers often end up eating too little food to support their health, and in some cases eat too much due to mental issues.
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are two of the most commonly reported eating disorders. These disorders are often characterized by low body weight, fear of eating, distorted body perceptions, and sufferers taking extreme measures to lose more weight. These problems can occur due to traumatic incidents, self-esteem issues, and various other reasons.
Eating disorders are often related to other chronic conditions. For instance, cancer and HIV/AIDs patients often suffer from cachexia or wasting syndrome – a syndrome characterized by a severe loss of appetite to the point that sufferers lose significant amounts of body mass and become more ill.
Medical Cannabis For Eating Disorders
The right treatment for eating disorders largely depends on a range of factors, including the root causes and the nature of the disorder itself. Forms of therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) are often used to counteract eating disorders. Certain medications can also help.
More recently, medical cannabis has emerged as a potential option. When you consume cannabis, cannabinoids such as THC and CBD interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system in various ways. While it’s often hailed for its ability to help with pain, inflammation, anxiety, and other such issues, the effects of cannabis may also help users with eating disorders.
Research suggests that cannabis often helps sufferers of cachexia due to its ability to enhance your appetite, make food more appealing, and ease certain mental symptoms. A pilot study on using cannabis for anorexia nervosa also found that cannabis treatment led to improvements in self-reported body care, sense of ineffectiveness, asceticism, and depression.
Medical Cannabis For Appetite Loss
Medical cannabis can help with many of the symptoms as well as the causes associated with eating disorders. Perhaps most notably, cannabis is particularly helpful for counteracting appetite loss and lack of appetite. Various studies have shown that medical marijuana can help trigger hunger in users and enhance their appetite.
Research from Washington State University found that inhaling cannabis could trigger the release of hunger hormones in rats and switch the brain into hunger mode – even when the subjects had already eaten. Many humans also report a sharp increase in hunger after using cannabis.
Another study found that THC, the main psychoactive component in cannabis, also helped cancer patients regain their appetites. Not only did the use of THC help to increase appetite, but it also heightened their sense of taste and enhanced their enjoyment of food. As such, cannabis is often used to counteract cachexia and other eating issues in patients with cancer, HIV/AIDs, and other chronic conditions.
Medical Cannabis For Mental Health Issues
Eating disorders are often linked to mental health issues, such as anxiety, PTSD, and OCD. These mental health problems can manifest themselves in various ways, and many patients with anxiety disorders or depression also suffer from conditions such as anorexia and bulimia. Medical marijuana is also prescribed to patients with certain mental health problems.
Anxiety disorders are listed as qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in many U.S. states, including Pennsylvania. Research suggests that cannabis could help significantly reduce ratings of depression, anxiety, and stress in users. Additionally, research on CBD, one of the main components of cannabis, also suggests that it may help with anxiety and sleep.
A 2022 study also found that cannabis could help relieve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Patients who took cannabis to help with their symptoms showed much greater improvements in their symptoms than ones who didn’t, with many recovering to the point that they no longer met the DSM-5 criteria for PTSD.
How To Get Medical Cannabis
Where and how to get medical cannabis largely depends on where you live. While many states now offer adult-use cannabis stores, other states require you to undergo an assessment with a medical marijuana doctor and apply for a medical card. This will give you access to high-quality medical cannabis products.
In Pennsylvania, patients initially register via the Pennsylvania medical marijuana registry. They then need to visit a Pennsylvania medical marijuana doctor to allow them to certify that they have a qualifying condition. After being assessed and approved, patients can pay for their medical card online and receive it in the post. They can then visit Pennsylvania dispensaries to buy medical cannabis products.
While the process is relatively straightforward, patients often need help and advice when it comes to getting a medical marijuana card. Fortunately, you can find a range of helpful information and resources online at Comp Care MD or even book an appointment for a medical marijuana consultation from an experienced doctor.
Patients suffering from eating disorders may wish to use cannabis as an alternative treatment. According to research, cannabis has the potential to help with many of the underlying causes and symptoms related to eating disorders, including lack of appetite, mental health issues, and chronic conditions such as cancer.
You can find a wealth of information about medical cannabis, how to get it, and how it can help at Comp Care MD. You can also book an appointment with an experienced Pennsylvania medical marijuana doctor online.