Also known as cannabis (or MMJ/MC), marijuana for anorexia has been proposed as a potential treatment. Anorexia Nervosa is a serious eating disorder characterized by a fear of gaining weight, a distorted body image, low weight, and food restriction. While MMJ has often been used for recreational purposes, the chemical compounds found in the plant, known as cannabinoids, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and appetite-stimulating effects, which may be beneficial for individuals with anorexia. In this article, we will explore the potential benefits of using marijuana for anorexia, as well as the potential risks and considerations for patients and healthcare professionals. So, let’s get more information on marijuana and anorexia.
This post is intended as information and for general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is recommended that you talk to a healthcare professional about this before introducing cannabinoids into your daily routine (especially if you have been diagnosed with any medical conditions or are under any medication). It is not recommended to drive or operate any machinery when using cannabis- or hemp-derived products. Use responsibly!
Impact of Marijuana on the Brain of Patients with ED
The impact of MC on the brain of patients with eating disorders (ED) is not fully understood. Some studies have suggested that MMJ may have the potential to aid in the treatment of ED, as the chemical compounds found in the plant have been shown to have appetite-stimulating effects. However, such research is empirical and lacks large-scale evidence-based data. So far, several studies have concluded that the use of MC was not associated with a significant improvement in nausea or anorexia.
When speaking about marijuana’s impact on the brain of patients with ED, studies look at the endocannabinoid system in the brains of such patients. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex system of receptors and neurotransmitters that is found in the human body. It is responsible for regulating a variety of functions, including sleep, appetite, mood, and pain perception.
There was a study conducted at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven stating that the brain’s ECS system was significantly underactive in participants with anorexia and bulimia. What was observed was the underactive neurotransmitter was in the area of the brain known as the insular cortex.
It is responsible for the integration of the taste of food with our emotional response to eating, the physical characteristics of food, such as taste, flavor, and oral texture, as well as how hungry we feel and food’s rewarding properties.
This might indicate that by stimulating CB1 receptors and ECS, it is possible to influence the course of diseases related to eating disorders. Nevertheless, it is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the benefits of marijuana for anorexia and its impact on the brain of patients with ED.
Cannabis and Eating Disorder Treatment
The use of MC for the treatment of eating disorders is still a controversial topic, and more research is needed to understand its potential benefits and risks fully. Some studies have suggested that cannabis may be able to improve appetite and weight gain in individuals with anorexia, while others have found that it may have negative effects on mood and cognitive function.
There was a pilot study of dosage-controlled cannabis capsules on anorexia syndrome in advanced cancer patients that concluded that despite various limitations, this preliminary study demonstrated a weight increase of ≥10% in 17.6% of patients without significant side effects.
Much other research has suggested that marijuana has slight or no influence on patients with anorexia.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Anorexia Nervosa
So far, there still have been some studies stating that there are certain perks of medical marijuana for anorexia patients, as it may be able to improve appetite and weight gain. Additionally, MMJ has been shown to have other potential benefits, including:
- Reducing anxiety and improving mood. Marijuana has been shown to have the potential to reduce anxiety and improve mood in individuals with anorexia nervosa, who often struggle with negative emotions and a distorted body image.
- Improving sleep. With the potential to improve sleep quality and duration of medical marijuana, anorexia patients may feel a bit relieved as they often struggle with sleep disturbances, and marijuana has been shown to have the potential to improve sleep quality and duration.
- Reducing nausea. Anorexia nervosa can cause nausea and vomiting, which can further contribute to weight loss. MC has been shown to have the potential to reduce nausea, which may be beneficial for individuals with anorexia nervosa.
- Improving the overall quality of life. The physical and psychological symptoms of anorexia can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. By reducing symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disturbances, and nausea, MC may be able to improve the overall quality of life for individuals with anorexia nervosa.
It is important to note that while MMJ for anorexia may be the potential to provide therapeutic advantages, more research is needed on cannabis and anorexia to understand its safety and effectiveness fully. As with any potential treatment option, it is important for patients and healthcare professionals to carefully consider the potential benefits and risks of using MC for the treatment of anorexia nervosa.