How Medical Marijuana Helps Treat Appetite Loss

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Appetite loss is a condition wherein an individual may have less desire to eat, loss interest in food or feel nausea just at the idea of eating. Appetite loss can be experienced by anyone and for different reasons. This condition may sometimes be experienced alongside fatigue in situations where people do not eat enough food to sustain their bodies. Even though appetite loss is either physical or psychological, it could be temporal as a result of factors such as infections or digestive issues, in which case, appetite is usually restored when the person has recovered.

Some people may also experience appetite loss as a symptom of certain long term medical conditions such as cancer and AIDS. It should also be known that it is possible to loss appetite over an extended period of time and the medical term for it is anorexia, which is of course a different condition from the mental health condition known as anorexia nervosa. Some of the common short term causes of appetite loss include colds, flu, respiratory infections, constipation, acid reflux, food poisoning, digestive issues, bacteria or viral infections, allergies, pregnancy, stress, hormonal imbalances and even alcohol and drug use.

It is also apparent that certain long term medical conditions can result in loss of appetite. Some of such conditions include digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s Disease, HIV/AIDS, asthma, diabetes, heart failure, chronic liver or kidney disease as well as certain types of cancers, notably stomach or colon cancer. In some instances, appetite loss could be a side effect of certain medications like sedatives, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy and some antibiotics. Moreover, appetite loss could also be associated with psychological causes such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, stress as well as grief. It is worthy to note that loss of appetite can be treated and the doctor may prescribe medications to help improve the condition, while simultaneously reducing other symptoms like nausea. Also, if the appetite loss is caused by psychological issues like depression or anxiety, the doctor could prescribe antidepressants or recommend some therapies.

Even though there are medications for the treatment of appetite loss, many patients have opted for the use of medical marijuana. Over the years, scientists have discovered that one of the active ingredients of marijuana known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) affects smell and taste as well as the hormone that stimulates hunger.

Findings from a study that was published in 2014 by Nature Neuroscience indicated that THC fits into the brain’s olfactory bulb receptors (the receptors responsible for stimulating appetite). It should be noted that this study, which was the first step towards cracking the code between cannabis and appetite was conducted by a team of scientists at the University of Bordeaux. The study was conducted on mice due to the similarities between their brain and that of humans. In the course of the study, the mice’s ability to smell food significantly increased after being injected with THC. The researchers of this study, therefore concluded that THC did in fact latch on the brain’s olfactory bulb, thereby increasing sensitivity to smell and most likely taste.

Scientists have also revealed that medical marijuana’s propensity to stimulate appetite is more than just a side effect. This therefore explains why many cancer patients benefit from the active ingredients in marijuana that improve the sense of taste as well as increases appetite. A study revealed that up to 73 percent of cancer patients who were administered THC pills, reported an increase in food appreciation, when compared to 30 percent of the patients who were rather given placebo.

A 2016 research from the Yale University also found out that the appetite stimulating effects of medical marijuana are driven by neurons in the brain.

Scientists have argued that medical marijuana boosts three effects in the brain that are linked to hunger stimulation. First of all, the taste buds are closely connected to the sense of smell and medical marijuana has been reported to enhance a person’s sense of smell. Secondly, when the stomach is empty, the brain produces a hunger stimulating hormone called ghrelin as well as dopamine. Medical marijuana has been reported to help in the production of these same hormones that cause hunger. Therefore, medical marijuana stimulates hunger, thereby reversing appetite loss.

Sources:

Medical News Today
Indica MD

Marijuana strains reported to help with Appetite Loss:

How To Get Medical Marijuana

If you are a resident of a legal state interested in trying medical marijuana to treat Appetite Loss 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.