Can Cannabis Treat Anorexia?
Anorexia nervosa is a devastating eating disorder that often endangers the lives of sufferers. The causes of the condition are not fully understood, making it extremely difficult to treat, although there is some evidence to suggest that cannabis may play a role in helping people deal with certain aspects of anorexia. Related Post Psychedelic Therapy With Cannabis Cannabis, Cannabinoids, Anorexia And Appetite The fact that cannabis is so synonymous with the munchies has led to the suggestion that smoking weed may help to combat anorexia by stimulating the appetite. In reality, however, the condition entails much more than a simple lack of hunger and is underpinned by complex psychological issues such as body dysmorphia, low self-esteem and obsessive behaviours. Cannabis alone is therefore unlikely to be enough to bring about recovery from anorexia, yet it may be a useful tool in the quest to increase eating and gain weight. The hormone leptin, for example, is heavily involved in appetite suppression and is greatly influenced by the activation of the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor. In studies on mice, the inactivation of this receptor significantly disrupted the function of leptin, hinting at a role for cannabinoids in the treatment of eating disorders[i]. Further animal research has revealed that CB1 receptor signalling mediates the link between smell and hunger. When mice were treated with cannabinoids, they became more responsive to the aroma of certain foods and increased their intake[ii]. Similarly, patients with cachexia – or appetite loss – following cancer or HIV treatment tend to eat more and gain weight when given CB1 agonists[iii]. Such findings do not amount to evidence that cannabis treats anorexia but do imply that cannabinoids may help underweight patients put on some extra pounds. Given that severe weight loss is one of the most dangerous symptoms of anorexia,…
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