Cachexia, which is also known as wasting syndrome is a condition that results in extreme weight loss and body wasting. This condition, could as well result in loss of fat in the body. The wasting syndrome normally affects people who are in the final stage of certain serious conditions, including AIDS, cancer, kidney disease, congestive heart failure, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD).
It is worthy to note that cachexia is different from other types of weight loss. With cachexia, the sufferers do not lose weight voluntarily, but rather, they lose weight because they eat less as a result of their health complications. Moreover, certain chronic conditions can cause the metabolism to change, thereby also prompting the body to break down too much muscle.
For example, inflammations as well as substances created by tumors could affect appetite adversely, thereby forcing the body to burn more calories than ordinarily. According to researchers, cachexia is part of the body’s response in fighting chronic diseases. This assertion can be explained by the fact that the body, usually breaks down muscles and fat in a bid to get more energy to fuel the brain whenever the nutritional stores are low. That said, people suffering from cachexia do not simply lose weight, but they also become too weak and frail to the extent that their body becomes vulnerable to more infections that could result in death.
Unlike other kinds of weight loss, getting more nutrition and calories is never enough to reverse cachexia. Cachexia is very common in people with late stage cancer, and an estimated one third of people with cancer die from this condition. Some of the common symptoms of cachexia include fatigue, anorexia, reduced muscle strength, anemia, low fat free index, high levels of inflammation, as well as low levels of protein.
Cachexia has no cure and there is no way to reverse it even though there exist treatment options that can improve symptoms and the quality of life in sufferers. Some of such treatments include appetite stimulants, medications to decrease inflammation, diet changes and even adapted exercises.
Most often, physicians prescribe expensive corticosteroids or other drugs similar to Progesterone to people suffering from cachexia. Well, the problem is that such drugs often come with serious side effects which could even exacerbate the situation. This therefore explains why many people, especially in states where marijuana is legal, have resulted in the use of medical marijuana to alleviate some of the symptoms of cachexia. For example, in California, the wasting syndrome is among the qualifying conditions for marijuana to be prescribed to patients. Unlike the prescription medications for cachexia, the side effects of medical marijuana are lower and often classified as ‘low risk’. After all, the findings from a study in 2006 concluded that the oral administration of medical cannabis was well tolerated by patients who suffered from cancer related-anorexia cachexia syndrome.
Many scientists have linked medical marijuana as one of the effective treatment options against cachexia or wasting symptom. The reason is that medical cannabis has been proven to contain cannabinoids that are effective in improving appetite by merely interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. For instance, medical cannabis contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that goes a long way to influence neural networks that trigger the brain to tell it to eat.
The findings of a 2011 study also indicated that the oral consumption of THC increased the appetite of cancer patients by up to 40%. Further findings from this same study revealed that the THC compound in medical marijuana is the most effective in terms of stimulating appetite.
Many studies have also focused on the effectiveness of medical cannabis on AIDS as well as cancer patients with symptoms including nausea, vomiting and anorexia. It is worthy to note that these studies have all noted a significant improvement in patients medicating with medical cannabis when compared to the traditional medical interventions. Most of the patients were reported to have experienced decreased nausea and vomiting, as well as increased appetite that led to an improvement in the overall nutritional deficiencies that resulted in cachexia.
Even though scientific evidence clearly points to the fact that medical cannabis can effectively treat some of the symptoms of cachexia without any serious side effects, more research needs to be done on this topic before it becomes universally accepted.
There are claims that the symptoms of cachexia or wasting syndrome can be best treated with extracts of the whole medical cannabis plant. But of course, patients may choose to consume medical cannabis in different forms, including vaporization, edibles and tea.
Marijuana strains reported to help with Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome:
- Sonoma Coma
- Monster Cookies
- Platinum Purple Kush
- Grapefruit Haze
How To Get Medical Marijuana
If you are a resident of a legal state interested in trying medical marijuana to treat Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome or other medical conditions, you will first need to consult with a certified doctor in order to get a medical marijuana card. To get started, simply fill out the MMJ patient registration form, press submit and a physician or clinic representative will contact you as available.