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Medical Benefits Anorexia

Anorexia

Anorexia

The standard definition of anorexia nervosa, known by most people simply as "anorexia," is that it's a psychiatric illness that causes an eating disorder marked by poor perception of body image, low body weight, excessive exercise, purging of food (forced vomiting), voluntary starvation, or the use of diuretics and diet pills. It's common knowledge that around 90% of all anorexics are female.

Since anorexia also includes what, in clinical language, is referred to as "an acute loss of appetite, often associated with psychological factors," it would seem logical that cannabis, or at least cannabinoid drugs would be an effective therapy. Pot is known for giving you the munchies, after all.

Unfortunately, since anorexia is, at heart, a psychological disorder that manifests itself physically, the use of cannabis may not help. Cannabinoids have been shown to have only minimal success at appetite suppression in patients with classic anorexia, despite the fact that the primary ingredient, delta-9 THC, has a well-established history with the successful treatment of cachexia, the appetite loss associated with HIV/AIDS.

There are synthetic THC pills, marketed under the name Marinol, which may be used as appetite stimulants in qualified patients, but doctors could lose their licenses by prescribing these drugs as "off-label" treatments for patients with true anorexia nervosa and not suffering from the severe weight loss typically associated with AIDS or cancer chemotherapy.

Similarly, the use of either medical marijuana or synthetic THC may be contraindicated in Alzheimer's disease patients. According to a 2002 study by Grotenhermen, Russo. Cannabis and Cannabinoids, Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutic Potential (New York: The Hawthorn Integrative Healing Press), "A positive influence on body weight was also reported in 15 patients with Alzheimer’s disease who were previously refusing food. Surprisingly, THC also decreased the observed severity of disturbed behavior. In patients diagnosed with primary anorexia nervosa there was no measurable cannabinoid effect, presumably because the underlying pathological mechanism is not loss of appetite."

Translation: while the use of cannabis or cannabis-derived drugs improved the appetites of Alzheimer's disease patients, it also made their actual Alzheimer's disease worse, while there was no measureable positive effect in anorexia patients.

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Comments
 
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Guest | Jan 5, 2013
 
Well, I was born not wanting to eat. Since I was a little girl, my mom went insane trying to get me to eat food. As soon as I was of a smoking age, she gave me weed, and it's a miracle... I ate. And ate well. I don't know why I don't want to eat, I have no reasons. And, it sucks to be dependant on marijuana. But I look at it like this: if I don't eat, I will die. If marijuana helps me to eat and keep the food down, then I have to take it to live. Many people think I am addicted, but they have not known me my entire life. People are always amazed at how long I can go without food & water. But it is not healthy, it causes me health problems. You want to know what happens if you don't eat enough for years and years? Your intestines die inside you. That is what happened to me. So, I will do whatever I have to do to get that trash marijuana in my system to I can LIVE.
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Guest | Nov 25, 2012
 
Although I agree that cannabis has many health benefits, I don't think it should be used for anorexics. If someone suffers from loss of appetite, e.g. due to cancer, they actually want to be able to eat. Anorexics starve themselves because they want to be in control, if cannabis takes that control from them they will just get depressed. When I was anorexic and I would smoke weed, I'd get the munchies, realize what I had done the next day and become depressed. Sometimes it even lead to bulimic tendencies. So no, cannabis should not be used by anorexic patients.
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Guest | Apr 17, 2012
 
hahahahaha ^ marijuana's the shit idiots
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Guest | Mar 13, 2012
 
MMJ is good with treatment of the symptoms but not the disease itself.
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Guest | Oct 9, 2011
 
I'm Anorexic. First of all there's no way I'm taking something that will give me the munchies because I'm not a fat ass. Second of all I'm in control of my own body; I'm not going to let some drug decide things for me. Thirdly, if I did want to get "better" I wouldn't turn to something as scary - God! Could you imagine? You're afraid to eat or gain even 0.1lbs and so you smoke weed and eat and appear "better" but once it wears off, you get on the scale only to see what the monster did to you?! What?! That's disgusting and I can't accept that. I will never take marijuana.
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Guest | Sep 4, 2011
 
Seriously? Anorexia is a MENTAL disorder. Increasing someones appetite is not going to work when they think that they are overweight. Since Marijuana has been known to make psychiatric disorders worse, it is NOT a good idea for anorexics. It is better suited for persons with cancer, AIDS, or other issues that decrease their appetite.
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| Jun 8, 2011
 
this is a perfect example of one of the great medical benifits of mmj. it helps people get an appetite which causes them to get the munchees
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Guest | Jun 7, 2011
 
I have a girlfriend who suffers from anorexia, and not only is it physically taxing, but she struggles every day with knowing she should eat but irrationally being afraid to. Not only does smoking a quick bowl help her eat, but it relaxes her enough to think rationally about her thought processes. She's seeing a therapist as well, but the combination with marijuana is leading her to a happier and healthier lifestyle more and more each day.
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Kushie Q | May 1, 2011
 
With living with a person who can not eat unless, they have their smoke of the day. I know for a fact that anorexia could be aided with the use of MMJ, in his case it is from the chronic pain, but the lack of eating is the same. He is not anorexic in any way,but the lack of will to eat is there. So for someone who has reached a point where eating is difficult, I would definitely try giving them the munchies, and a good therapist.
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Guest | Apr 11, 2011
 
I have always had problems eating just from the lifestyle i chose as an athlete in highschool. I haven't been able to gain any weight since graduating 2 years ago and being 15 pounds under weight doesn't sound like much. But i just want to be able to eat normally. Weed for the most part helps but i can't do it as much as i want. I sometimes go 12 to 24 hours without eating just cuz i can't make myself consume any more past a sudden boredom i get for the food in front of me. I wouldn't call it Anarexia cuz i do want to gain weight its just that Im not sure how.
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MrDoc | Mar 31, 2011
 
I could see that smoking weed would greatly increase someones appetite, but I don't think anorexia is rooted in the problem of not wanting to eat. I am sure the person has an appetite the size of an elephants when they are they skinny, but they have deep rooted problems in their head that don't allow them to eat because of the relation of food=fat. If they eat food they gain weight which is their biggest fear, I really feel that cannabis could be a great assistant to the person getting some psychological help to try to fix the image problem they have in their head. Once that is figured out, smoking a little bit of weed to help relax and give you the munchies is never a bad thing. I am a person who lives first hand with severe nausea that cannabis helps daily, so I can vouch for stomach problems being fixed by smoking a little bit of weed.
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MrDoc | Mar 31, 2011
 
I could see that smoking weed would greatly increase someones appetite, but I don't think anorexia is rooted in the problem of not wanting to eat. I am sure the person has an appetite the size of an elephants when they are they skinny, but they have deep rooted problems in their head that don't allow them to eat because of the relation of food=fat. If they eat food they gain weight which is their biggest fear, I really feel that cannabis could be a great assistant to the person getting some psychological help to try to fix the image problem they have in their head. Once that is figured out, smoking a little bit of weed to help relax and give you the munchies is never a bad thing. I am a person who lives first hand with severe nausea that cannabis helps daily, so I can vouch for stomach problems being fixed by smoking a little bit of weed.
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Andy J | Mar 18, 2011
 
I have used marijuana as an aid to nausea and upset stomach and it has worked wonders, I have also seen people using it for the actual disorder anorexia. For some patients, this has been the wonder cure and they are back on their merry way. For others, medical marijuana has actually intensified their situation. Lots of people suffer from Anorexia for many different reasons. If you're thinking about taking marijuana for anorexia I would recommend you really consider what is the root cause of your disorder. If it is psychologically related to an inferiority complex, the paranoia effects of marijuana may intensify your condition.
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Marijuanamama | Mar 15, 2011
 
I've never suffered from this terrible malady but I've had a dear friend who did and at the time anything that would have caused her to eat could have possibly saved her life. My grandpa also suffered from loss of appetite in the last stages of his cancer and the doctor gave him THC pills which prolonged his life and gave it a little better quality in his last days. So I hope the research continues so that the ones who remain disbelievers will finally be hit in the head with the truth.