Medical cannabis for treating eating disorders

Eating is one of the basic needs of human beings, therefore it is vitally important to be sure that it is done correctly, to guarantee nutrition and survival. There is a large number of people in the world who develop eating disorders due to mental health problems and also as a consequence of other diseases and factors.

The use of medical cannabis to treat eating disorders is just one of the applications that cannabis can bring to people's nutrition. Thanks to its components, it can help regulate the appetite of people with eating disorders such as obesity and anorexia.

Like other living beings, humans have an endocannabinoid system, which regulates physiological processes to maintain homeostasis and pathological processes, such as pain perception and cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and liver functions. Cannabis contains phytocannabinoids, these are chemical substances that come into contact with the receptors of the body's cells, through this intricate system. By consuming them, they interact by getting involved in its functions and turn can alter the perception of the environment. The best-known cannabinoids in cannabis are CBD and THC, but this plant contains more than 100 minor cannabinoids; It should be noted that consuming medicinal cannabis depends on what condition the user presents, you should always consult with a health professional before starting any medical treatment and continue with their supervision during it; it is never advisable to self-medicate.

It has been shown that these molecules from the plant are useful for treating various symptoms, pathologies, and disorders; one of them is anorexia. Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by self-deprivation of food and excessive weight loss, this can be a consequence of loss of appetite, caused by another condition, such as cancer, or derived from a distorted perception of the personal image. This disorder leads to loss of fluids, vitamins, proteins, minerals, and nutrients that are essential for the body to function properly, with the loss of these elements it can even lead to death.

Currently, many investigations are focused on discovering the relationship between the endocannabinoid system and certain diseases. In the case of anorexia resulting from other corporal complications, cannabis can help as a treatment to stimulate appetite, gain weight, and prevent relapse. THC is known to help treat this condition when it is caused by cancer, hepatitis, or AIDS, however; there are also studies supporting the use of cannabis to treat anorexia nervosa.

Anorexia nervosa is caused by the distorted perception of the body, generally as a consequence of psychological problems derived from low self-esteem, overwork, or social pressure. CBD is used in patients with high levels of stress and anxiety, obtaining good results to reduce these symptoms, that is why cannabis can help treat anorexia nervosa.

Also, THC activates receptors in the brain that refine the sense of smell and taste, thereby influencing hunger and the experience of food. This helps people with anorexia nervosa to enjoy mealtime, which is usually an extremely stressful time for them.

Another of the disorders associated with eating where cannabis derivatives turn out to be very useful is in the treatment of obesity. Obesity is a health problem that affects the world population, causing other diseases such as diabetes, various types of cancer, damage to muscles and skeleton, and cardiovascular diseases, for that reason; it is imperative to combat this eating disorder.

Several factors cause overweight and obesity, for example, increased sedentary lifestyle, caused by changes in the population's work and transportation dynamics. However, one of the main ones is the change in eating habits, since now people tend to consume foods with high levels of sugar and saturated fat; and precisely in these cases, cannabis can help combat this type of disorder. Although popularly, the sensation of a significant increase in hunger is usually present, which in popular slang is known in some places as "the munchies" as the consequence of cannabis use; this is not an effect that occurs every time.

Cannabis can have different effects, depending on several factors: such as the dose taken and how often, the personal reaction of each body, how it is consumed, for example, if it is eaten, taken in an extract or is inhale, and it also depends on the cannabis strain used.

Among its components, cannabis has two cannabinoids that can fight obesity: CBD and THCV. CBD can decrease appetite by helping to control anxiety and in conjunction with a balanced diet and exercise, can promote weight loss; high sugar levels cause dangerous diseases, such as diabetes, on the contrary, low sugar levels cause an excessive increase in appetite, which leads to anxiety and the search for immediate satisfaction. For this reason, people end up choosing foods that are processed or high in sugar, such as chocolate. Instead of taking the time to prepare a balanced meal or prefer fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, the THCV contained in cannabis can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent these problems, it also helps to decrease appetite by counteracting the feeling of hunger that THC sometimes causes.

Also, depending on the variety of cannabis chosen, the effect will be different for the body. Sativa strains are known to increase energy levels, improve people's spirits, stimulate creativity and motivate them to do activities; That is why this variety of cannabis can improve the experience of people when they exercise, promoting physical activity.

In conclusion, how to consume medical cannabis will depend on the eating disorder that the person presents. In the case of anorexia, THC will help stimulate the appetite. In the case of obesity, CBD may suppress the appetite, and Sativa varieties can make physical activity more pleasant, encouraging its performance.

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El sistema endocannabinoide. (s.f) Fundación Canna

Lleonart, E. (2018) Diferencias entre THC y CBD. El Salto

Kosen, J. (2016) Can Medical Cannabis Be Used as an Anorexia Treatment?


Marihuana Medicinal contra la Anorexia (2018) Matilla Plant: blog cultivo marihuana

Beneficios del cannabis medicinal para tratar la obesidad y el sobrepeso. (s.f) Diosa

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