Understanding Cannabis Treatment for Cachexia

An ailment called cachexia, in which the body loses significant amounts of weight and fat can develop late when severe and fatal disease is present. The aspect that distinguishes cachexia from other eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa is that it cannot be controlled due to several deadly illnesses such as AIDS, COPD, cancer, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease.

While the disease has a high mortality rate for cancer patients due to its common occurrence amongst patients in a close state of death, therapeutic cannabis has shown success in managing symptoms because endocannabinoids regulate hunger and pain.

The Three Types of Cachexia and Their Signs and Symptoms

Cachexia is a condition in which extreme weight loss results in weight loss, muscle wasting, and potentially organ failure as a result of the loss of weight. Cachexia is classified into three types, which is what Healthline breaks down. As a result of one or more of the following problems, a person may experience pre-cachexia when they lose up to 5% of their body weight.

A person with cachexia experiences weight loss of up to 5% of their body weight in less than a year due to one of the chronic illnesses. Some of the symptoms include lack of appetite, fatigue, inflammation, and muscle weakness. The term “refractory cachexia” refers to patients who are unable to respond to treatment, and who lose both muscle mass as well as their ability to function as a result.

In order to treat cachexia, one of the first things that has to be done is to stimulate the appetite of the patient. According to Healthline, a synthetic cannabis drug known as Marinol, which mimics the natural plant as well as acts as a substitute for it, is a potential treatment for those suffering from cachexia.

The Connection Between Cachexia and THC

Based in San Francisco and regulated in seven states, Cresco Labs claims that the actual plant is more powerful than synthetic medicines, according to Dr. Donald Abrams of the San Francisco General Hospital’s Department of Hematology-Oncology.

A 2015 study published in the journal Nature suggested that medical cannabis could boost the appetite of cachexia patients. A surprising discovery was made by scientists that mice are capable of stimulating the cannabinoid receptor 1. It was confirmed in 2014 in a study published in the journal Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, that acute cannabis use can lead to the munchies.

According to the study, it has been reported that marijuana can help patients suffering from HIV and cancer achieve an improved body mass index. Despite the fact that there is no definitive evidence that medical marijuana will cure cachexia, what is undeniable is that it has demonstrated successful results in improving appetite and inflammation, two other symptoms associated with cachexia. 

*DigiDrs is not offering this as professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self diagnose, or prescribe treatment based on the information provided in these pages. Consult a physician before making decisions on the treatment of any of these medical conditions.

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