Treating Cachexia with Medical Cannabis

Cachexia, otherwise known as wasting syndrome is a condition that is a common occurrence in those with cancer, AIDS, MS, tuberculosis, and a myriad of other ailments as well. Cachexia is often caused by having a low-calorie intake, and nutrient losses due to infection. Its symptoms include loss of appetite, loss of weight, muscle atrophy, and fatigue. Asthenia, anemia, and anorexia are also commonly associated with the syndrome. Essentially cachexia is characterized by an overall decrease in body mass in patients. Cachexia can weaken patients to the extent of being immobile essentially caused by loss of appetite. Cachexia can often result in death, and most of the time someone who has the syndrome will also have other maladies as well. Standard treatments for the syndrome, while helping slightly are typically ineffective.
Currrently, 18 of the 29 medically legal states have cachexia approved as one of the qualifying medical conditions to obtain a medical ID card. Most common cachexia treatments involve intravenous feeding and appetite increasing medications. Appetite stimulation is one of the facets of cachexia treatment that medical marijuana can help with. The infamous munchies are one of the most commonly associated side effects of smoking cannabis. Cannabinoids found in medical cannabis interact with the endocannabinoid system in the brain which essentially influences neural networks to convince the brain it’s hungry. THC and other cannabinoids have been shown to increase the appetite in cancer patients who have cachexia. It has also been shown to be effective in increasing appetite and improving body weight stability in AIDS patients who also have cachexia.

Some research also suggests that medical marijuana can also help those with cachexia by boosting their energy and activity levels. In addition to this, cannabis can also help to reduce the risk of cachexia developing at all. As medical marijuana is often used to treat nausea, patients may be more willing to eat regularly due to vomiting less. Because of this, they are able to increase their nutrient levels and absorb more calories thus reducing the chance of cachexia developing.

Overall cannabis can definitely be an effective treatment for cachexia. If you or someone you love is living with this syndrome it’s definitely worth a shot!

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