Medical marijuana for anorexia
The versatility behind medical marijuana is remarkable, to say the least. This unique plant has the ability to help with and alleviate so many different complications, ranging on all types of spectrums. Today, we’re specifically taking a look at the use of medical marijuana for anorexia and the potential efficacy it holds. What is the relationship between marijuana and anorexia? Can it help with the eating disorder?
Don’t worry: if you’ve ever been curious about using medical marijuana for anorexia, we’re covering the ins and outs down below. Here at Elevate Holistics, we understand that topics like eating disorders aren’t always the easiest to talk about. But, as medical professionals, we’re always here to help — 100% judgment and hassle-free. If you are struggling with anorexia, please seek medical attention immediately if you have not already.
What is Anorexia Nervosa?
Before we talk about anorexia and marijuana, let’s first have a discussion about anorexia as a whole.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that results in weight loss, typically extremely low body weight, and self-starvation. Many people who suffer from anorexia find themselves obsessing about their weight and appearance, typically also experiencing some form of body dysmorphia. To lose weight, those with anorexia will likely turn to over-exercising and under-eating, sometimes even binging and purging their foods, as well.
Those with anorexia struggle to gain or maintain a healthy weight, causing serious internal (and mental) strife. Thus, eating regularly and eating substantial amounts of food becomes an extreme mental challenge that requires support. With this, many people wonder, “Can anorexia be treated? Can anorexia be cured?”
In the grand scheme of things, treating anorexia is quite possible, and, for some people, it can rid them of their eating disorder tendencies. However, most mental health professionals would agree that you cannot necessarily “cure” a mental disorder. For many people with anorexia, the struggles and temptations will always be there — you just learn ways to cope and overcome them.
Can Medical Marijuana Treat Anorexia?
Thankfully, as we mentioned, there are a lot of healthy and effective treatments for eating disorders like anorexia. By no means are you out of luck!
So, can medical marijuana help treat anorexia? It sure can.
Please remember that, per the FDA, medical marijuana is not technically a legitimate “treatment” for anorexia or other eating disorders. Essentially, there aren’t any medications that contain cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds available for those with EDs (only epilepsy). However, on a case-by-case basis, clinical trials and individuals have found serious benefits from turning to medical marijuana for anorexia.
What Symptoms Can Medical Marijuana Treat?
Primarily, people try medical marijuana for anorexia because of its help with appetite. It’s no secret that a lot of people experience the “munchies” after indulging in some cannabis. We’ll get into the science of it later, but marijuana has been found to induce these feelings of hunger, making you eat a bit more than you might have otherwise. For those with anorexia, this can be vital.
It isn’t uncommon for people suffering from anorexia to lose interest in food overall — even foods they once loved. However, the stimulating boosts that cannabis brings have the ability to essentially enhance the tastes and smells of your food, making it much more appealing than before. For those completely turned off by the idea of food, this newfound attraction can be life-changing. Once again, you’re able to actually appreciate the foods you’re nourishing your body with. (Not to mention, the THC might make you hungry enough to eat it all, too.)
Studies also show that medical marijuana and anorexia have a connection to anxiety. With eating disorders comes a lot of stress and mental anguish. You’re consistently obsessed with body image, making it quite difficult to enjoy your everyday life. Plus, food anxiety is completely legitimate. Thankfully, cannabis’s anti-anxiety properties may do wonders for those with these overwhelming thoughts.
Finally, it appears as though medical marijuana’s relationship with the endocannabinoid system may aid those with eating disorders. When experiencing anorexia, the lack of consistent nutrients can throw your body completely out of whack. This can cause excess pain, irregulated bodily functions, and disrupted moods. However, one of medical cannabis’s main roles is to re-regulate these functions, helping you to reach internal balance. By giving your body this added support, you’re able to better work toward a healthier, more regulated state of being.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Anorexia
So, how do these properties actually benefit those with anorexia?
When the appetite is stimulated, as we mentioned, it becomes a bit easier to give in to food cravings. Those with anorexia may often learn to ignore their hunger pains, but with cannabis, these cravings sound appealing and doable. If the appetite is enhanced, and you’re able to eat a bit more than before, gaining weight may be in the cards. Weight gain for those with anorexia is often crucial, but it isn’t easy to achieve. With medical marijuana, however, studies show it’s been effective for weight gain in those that require it.
The anti-anxiety properties of marijuana can help counteract the food-restricting thoughts that eating disorders tend to bring. Of course, it will not cure you of your anxiety, but it may make these thoughts more manageable, reminding you that there’s nothing wrong with giving your body a bit of TLC through THC.
Besides actual symptoms, a lot of people turn to marijuana for eating disorders because of the all-natural aspect. The plant-based benefit is appealing in and of itself — especially for those who have been hopping from medication to medication their whole lives. Having an option that comes straight from Mother Nature herself can be the biggest benefit of them all.
The Effect of Cannabis on Appetite
It’s no secret that getting the munchies is a common result of cannabis enjoyment. But, why does this happen? What’s the connection between anorexia, medical marijuana, and appetite?
Through multiple studies, researchers have discovered that cannabis has the ability to stimulate appetite. Supposedly, after consumption, cannabinoids work alongside a certain hormone called ghrelin — a hormone known to stimulate hunger and enhance both taste and smell. With this, the inclination to snack becomes stronger, and you tend to have a bigger appetite than before. For those with anorexia, this can be key.
Best Cannabis Strains for Anorexia
When looking for an effective cannabis strain to treat your anorexia, you want to look for uplifting strains that help stimulate appetite and enhance flavors. Thankfully, there are quite a few strains that do just that. Here are just a few:
Runtz is a strain that’s been making waves in the cannabis community in the past two years. This Cookies strain has a deliciously fruity flavor profile, making the product a joy to enjoy in and of itself. After consumption, people report extremely uplifting, stimulating effects, great for munching on some food completely anxiety-free. Do keep in mind that this strain tends to be quite potent, so you’ll likely only need about a puff or two to help with your hunger levels.
Gorilla Glue #4
Gorilla Glue #4 is a soothing hybrid strain that tends to produce more relaxing, supportive effects than others. The flavors themselves are quite earthy, producing slightly diesel aromas that will have your tummy growling. GG #4 can be great for those with anorexia because of its anti-anxiety properties and ability to invigorate hunger when you need it most.
Finally, the ever-popular Wedding Cake strain may be a great strain to turn to when you need to enjoy some food. Just as the name suggests, Wedding Cake boasts deliciously sweet flavors with slight floral notes that your nose will love. This strain is ideal for calming both the body and mind, helping you fully embrace your meals without an afterthought. Plus, the enhancing properties can really take your food to the next level.
Is Anorexia a Qualifying Condition for MMJ Cards?
In some states, yes, anorexia is a qualifying condition for a medical marijuana card. The states that currently accept this condition include:
(editor’s note: The state of Missouri allows for the use of medical marijuana when, in the professional judgment of a physician, a patient is afflicted by any chronic, debilitating or other medical condition, in addition to those specifically named or has been diagnosed by a state-licensed psychiatrist with a debilitating psychiatric disorder.)
However, anorexia can also come with other side effects or symptoms that may qualify you in your state if the eating disorder isn’t explicitly listed. Things like chronic pain or illness, PTSD, even anxiety and depression are all qualifying conditions throughout the US.
If you’re worried about whether or not you qualify — don’t be. Elevate Holistics’ goal is to ensure that you get the treatment and care you deserve, regardless of your condition. We’ll work with you one-on-one to see how you qualify.
How to Obtain a Medical Marijuana Card for Anorexia
Now that we’ve talked and talked about how medical marijuana for anorexia is valid, let’s talk medical cards. The best way for you to enjoy cannabis treatment for eating disorders is going to be through getting an MMJ card. While doing this in the past may have been a bit challenging, it isn’t anymore. Through Elevate Holistics, we make the process as accessible as ever.
Our services operate 100% online and are 100% hassle-free. (Seriously, even if you hardly use a computer, we’ll make this oh-so-easy.) No matter what legalized state you’re in, our cannabis experts can help you understand your qualifications, recommendations, and how to get started. And, if you’re in one of the states we currently service, then you’ll be able to get your medical marijuana card recommendation in just 30 minutes.
Simply put, whether you’re interested in medical marijuana for anorexia or a different qualifying condition, Elevate Holistics will do what we can to help you get your hands on the medical marijuana card you require.
photo: Diana Polekhina