CBD and Anorexia
Is CBD oil considered effective in treating anorexia? This eating disorder is a complex psychological condition with severe side effects. There are studies that CBD oil increases appetite, reduces anxiety and improves mood by reducing depression. Let’s see how it works.
Anorexia is a health condition that has been widely heard about, but may not be fully understood by many; it will not always be someone with a fine physique or someone who does not eat much. Anorexia Nervosa is a serious mental disorder that affects not only the physical condition of the sufferer, but also their mental and psychological well-being. And the recommendation of fellow people to eat more will not help, because the problem exists in the mind and arises as a result of self-image.
According to health organizations, hundreds of millions of people worldwide are estimated to suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia, more than 30 million in the United States alone.
Anorexia is a mental illness. It kills more than 12% of patients from which 6% are suicides. Psychotherapy is the most common treatment because there are no special medications that can cure it.
Anorexia is most common in young girls. Anorexia usually starts in adolescence, but anorexia can be seen earlier, in children, or later, around 30 years of age. 1 in 150 girls suffer from anorexia.
Anorexia almost always begins with a strict diet. Patients may be slightly overweight at first. But even when the “ideal” weight is reached, the sick person continues to starve themselves because their perception of their weight has become wrong and they still feel too fat. Often patients also engage in intense exercise or use medications that reduce weight.
The development of anorexia is characterized by three phases:
The first phase begins as normal weight loss, but gradually the process turns into fasting and becomes obsessive. Although the patient feels that they are no longer dependent on food, they constantly think about it. The person is losing weight fast, weight loss is pronounced and it worries the family. Most cases of anorexia are stopped during this phase.
The second phase occurs if fasting continues. In the second phase, the body limits some energy-intensive systems. Menstruation ends, blood circulation in the arms and legs decreases, as a result of which a feeling of freezing occurs, the ability to concentrate decreases. If the condition does not improve, the patient is usually hospitalized. Some patients feel elevated because the feeling of hunger has disappeared. At this stage, the situation can still turn for the better.
During the third phase, the patient weighs about 30 kilograms. The body’s metabolism begins to use the last energy resources. Fat stocks are depleted. Increased susceptibility to infections. The basic mood of the patient is apathy. If the patient refuses to eat, intravenous blood and nutrient administration are required. Unfortunately, some patients commit suicide.
Patients with anorexia have complete control over their actions, but are unaware of the harm they are doing.
Symptoms of bulimia may also occur – some patients are unable to give up food, so they vomit after eating or cause vomiting on their own, or use laxatives, only their weight remains below normal. Sometimes, if the symptoms of anorexia have been eliminated, but not the causes of anorexia – problems in the family, school, it is possible that the patient has recurrent anorexia or develops symptoms of bulimia.
Eating disorders can cause serious disorders throughout the body if the diet is not properly and adequately absorbed.
The treatment of anorexia requires both psychological and physiological problems.
Synthetic pharmaceuticals are not always able to improve physical health. It is important to find new, effective ways to increase hunger and the desire to eat for these people.
Here we will look at how CBD oil can increase the feeling of hunger and reduce the effects of anorexia on the body.
What is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia Nervosa refers to a medical condition in which patients deliberately limit their energy intake to prevent weight gain through malnutrition or excessive exercise.
It is most often associated with body dysmorphia, a mental disorder in which the sufferer is obsessed with perceived defects that do not actually exist.
Nor is it a simple dietary issue; Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, causing patients with this condition to starve to death because of their self-image.
This key phrase – self-image – is the main ingredient that makes up anorexia. Most people do not understand that it is an actual psychological compulsion.
People with anorexia see themselves differently than a healthy person sees themselves. Looking in the mirror, they do not see their actual weight, but instead, they consider themselves something scary and worthless. Their desire to improve themselves, in their own eyes, stems from a distorted sense of self-worth.
It is common in people who suffer from anxiety or poor self-esteem, and it is important to point out that the condition is much more complicated than it sounds.
People with anorexia often have the following problems, which cause the following conditions:
⦁ intense fear of weight gain;
⦁ impaired visual perception of your body;
⦁ social anxiety disorders;
⦁ physical isolation.
These conditions often cause people to consider themselves overweight when they are already dangerously underweight and malnourished.
Signs and symptoms of anorexia:
⦁ Amenorrhea (lack of menstruation);
⦁ brittle nails;
⦁ dry skin;
⦁ hair loss;
⦁ various heart health conditions;
⦁ renal failure;
⦁ liver damage;
⦁ low blood pressure;
⦁ poor immune function;
⦁ poor wound healing;
⦁ severe weight loss.
Risk factors for anorexia.
Because this condition is a psychological disorder, its causes are complex and can vary from person to person.
Some of the causes:
⦁ low self-esteem;
⦁ genetic factors;
⦁ Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
⦁ Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
⦁ domestic violence.
Treatment for anorexia.
Treatment for anorexia is particularly difficult because the cause of anorexia is difficult to determine.
Because anorexia is initially and primarily a psychological condition, the main treatments used by physicians are limited to a variety of cognitive-behavioral therapies, as well as the use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
If you or anyone near you suffers from anorexia, please consult your GP and seek professional help. Remember that you are not alone and even today there are several support groups online where you can seek much-needed help.
How could CBD oil help with anorexia?
What is the fuss surrounding CBD and CBD oil?
CBD (cannabidiol) is not a psychoactive ingredient, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the ingredient that causes a ‘high’ feeling and creates this ambiguous attitude towards Cannabis.
In fact, both of these have several useful medicinal properties. CBD works with THC to help improve health as well as neutralize some of the side effects of THC.
CBD acts on the endocannabinoid system, a system that exists throughout the body and helps regulate a variety of functions, including cell regeneration and the release of chemicals in the brain. CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors, which encourage the body to heal naturally, reassuring the body that everything is fine.
However, how could CBD help those with anorexia? Anorexia is in mind, so what role could the endocannabinoid system play here?
There are a number of herbal supplements that can improve Anorexia Nervosa by increasing the hormones associated with hunger and satiety – a feeling of fullness. Also, Cannabis has such properties.
One of the effects of CBD on the body is increased appetite. This was demonstrated in a study by Scherma et al. for the publication Current Pharmaceutical Design.
The researchers found that CB1 agonists, a scientific term used to describe anything that helps trigger a receptor, have orexigenic effects that improve appetite as well as increase the true rewarding value of food. It is important to remember that a person suffering from anorexia not only does not want to eat food, but also loses the positive association we have with eating the food that feeds us.
Think of the last time you felt hungry and finally ate something nutritious – this pleasant feeling was the result of a healthy relationship with food. People with Anorexia Nervosa lack this feeling.
The CB1 receptor helps trigger this sensation by allowing anorectics to both eat more and enjoy the eating process better.
Many cannabinoids of the cannabis plant have been shown to increase hunger levels, the most important being THC.
The problem is that THC is the main cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, and it is still banned in many countries. For this reason, most CBD oils on the market have a THC content of less than 0.03%.
There is more than one way CBD oil can help reduce the symptoms of anorexia:
1. Mood improvement.
CBD oil is known for its antidepressant effects.
Anorexia is often associated with depression, as depression tends to develop into other psychological conditions.
While this does not mean that anorexia is caused by depression, it does mean that people with anorexia often also have depression, which only contributes to their low self-esteem and thus to the further progression of their eating disorders.
Therefore, treatment of depression can help patients with anorexia to overcome their low self-esteem.
Several researchers have shown that CBD can help treat depression, cf. in a study by Haj-Dahmane and Shen for the journal Neuropharmacology, which found that the system in the body that controls the release of serotonin – the principal chemical in your brain that determines your well-being – partially controls the CB1 receptor.
By acting on the CB1 receptor, CBD has the potential to help treat the symptoms of depression by making it easier for people to experience the release of serotonin.
The lack of serotonin is one of the main symptoms of depression and thus one of the main causes of the apathy and general bad mood associated with this condition.
Antidepressants are the most popular choice for doctors to treat this condition. The use of CBD does not have the unpleasant symptoms that antidepressants often cause for the depressed, such as ‘smoothing’ emotions, which means that the patient is unable to feel emotions.
In the case of the cannabis plant, CBD has the most significant effect on mood, which has shown to reduce the symptoms of depression.
Other compounds in the full-spectrum oil, such as terpenes (borneol, eucalyptus, limonene, beta-caryophyllene and d-linalool), have also been reported to be addictive antidepressants and to have mood-enhancing effects.
Other cannabinoids, such as cannabichromene (CBC), also offer antidepressant effects.
CBC, like CBD, is not psychoactive and is the third richest cannabinoid in the plant, but lacks in-depth research.
2. Improving appetite.
With anorexia, we can experience a huge hormonal imbalance that controls appetite.
Usually, when we eat a meal, our fat cells secrete a hormone called leptin. This hormone limits our appetite and creates a feeling of satiety. Conversely, another hormone known as ghrelin stimulates our hunger.
People with anorexia often have a dysfunctional balance of hunger hormones, a feeling of satiety even if they should starve.
Cannabinoids, especially THC, cause a feeling of hunger, mainly by bypassing the hunger switch in the hypothalamus of the brain. It also increases the production of ghrelin, a hormone that makes us feel hungry.
THC acts in this region of the brain through CB1 receptors. These receptors control a wide range of functions in the body, but are particularly prominent in the hypothalamus.
CBD and appetite.
Contrary to popular belief, the CBD does not increase appetite. In fact, it has the opposite effect, reducing overall appetite.
You must think, “Shouldn’t this be avoided by people suffering from anorexia !?”
This is not so simple, as CBD alone causes loss of appetite, making it important not to choose pure CBD or CBD isolate (for products containing CBD ONLY).
However, CBD has also shown to potentiate the effects of THC, including its effects on appetite, by making full-spectrum oils containing both cannabinoids even more effective in increasing overall appetite.
Therefore, we strongly recommend using only oils that are “full-spectrum” oils. Even though the THC content is very low, they are much more effective in treating anorexia than CBD oils, which have no THC at all. See the attachment.
If you live in a country where all types of cannabis oils are legal, the best ones you should look for are oils with a THC to CBD ratio of 1:1.
3. Reduction of stress and anxiety.
Finally, one of the other main factors contributing to anorexia is anxiety.
Anxiety is so difficult to describe when we are overwhelmed by everyday moments and choices in life. Anxiety can take many forms, but for anorexic people, their anxiety is related to their self-image and body.
Treating anxiety can also help treat the symptoms of anorexia.
Various studies have been conducted to investigate the anti-olytic effects of CBD, which means helping to stop anxiety.
This anti-olytic effect mimics the results of many commonly used anti-anxiety drugs, but CBD does not cause the user any of the myriad side effects that often occur with anti-anxiety drugs.
CBD has shown to reduce anxiety, which is very beneficial for people with Anorexia Nervosa.
The part of the name “nervosa” actually refers to the nervous and agitated nature of people suffering from this condition.
CBD oils with high CBD levels will be useful here.
This can be a little confusing, as CBD is a better antidepressant and more effective for the analgesic effect, but THC will be significantly better for stimulating appetite.
Unfortunately, CBD reduces appetite, and THC can cause anxiety – so what’s the answer?
When using CBD oil to prevent anorexia, it is important to maintain high levels of CBD to compensate for the negative side effects of THC. This is useful, but not always necessary so that the product always contains a little THC.
The ideal balance will be somewhere between a 2: 1 and a 1: 1 CBD: THC ratio.
And remember: always choose the full spectrum of CBD products.
Studies about THC and anorexia.
A clinical study in 18 patients with oncology-related anorexia treated with THC showed a significant improvement in appetite in 13 patients. Research.
Other studies suggest that THC is helpful in improving the appetite of AIDS patients as well as cancer patients. Research.
There are many studies on the appetite-stimulating effects of THC, but as mentioned, it is important that we keep in mind the anxious effects of this cannabinoid in people with anorexia.
Therefore, it is recommended to use something with a CBD to THC ratio of at least 1: 1 or more in CBD.
It will still increase appetite and help people with anorexia find the motivation to eat more and start recovering from the condition.
How to use CBD oil to treat anorexia?
It is advisable to find Cannabis products that contain both THC and CBD – of course, if it is legal where you live. This is because both of these cannabinoids have separate benefits in combating anorexia.
Avoid CBD isolates and choose a full-spectrum oil to prevent further loss of hunger.
When testing CBD for the first time, it is recommended to start with a lower dose and slowly increase the dose if necessary. See Dosage and CBD dosage.
Of course, taking CBD oil alone is not enough to treat anorexia. You should incorporate a number of holistic habits into your daily routine to improve your overall well-being.
Regular visits to a therapist to deal with self-esteem issues or depression, as well as visits to a nutritionist to monitor your diet, will go a long way in preventing symptoms and restoring your body to good health.
CBD is one of those natural medicines that work in different ways, providing a variety of effects. It is also extremely subjective, which means that for one it may work and for another it may not.
Instead of absorbing synthetic substances that can alter your body’s chemistry in a dangerous way, CBD works to simply speed up or correct problems in the human body using an existing endocannabinoid system.
This means that it could help treat conditions that are mainly caused by something that disrupts homeostasis in the body.
In the case of anorexia, although the condition itself does not have a complete cure (due to the fact that it is a mental disorder and it is quite difficult to cure it completely), we can help treat problems that lead to anorexia, such as loss of appetite and positive food associations.
More importantly, it can help treat depression and anxiety, two of the most commonly associated psychological conditions.
With CBD, it is possible that anorexia can be treated by acting on a wide range of conditions that surround it, making the patient’s condition much easier.
It may not completely cure eating disorders, but it can help you take this first step closer to it.
Other Blog topics related to this article:
Anorexia nervosa: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/anorexia/
CBD counteracts THC effects: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/770048
The role of the endocannabinoid system in eating disorders: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23829365
Modulation of the serotonin system by endocannabinoid signaling: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21354188
Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881110379283
Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
The information on the internet about CBD products and their use will be ambiguous, so we always recommend reading safe and reliable sources. We also use websites related to the Cannabis industry, research and education to prepare information.
The content of this site is for informational purposes only. We are not medical experts and this should not be interpreted as medical advice. Be sure to consult your doctor before undergoing CBD or other treatment.
The chemistry of every human body and brain is unique, so the use of CBD to improve mental as well as physical health does not guarantee results. However, many GWEEPRODUCTS CBD oil users have included it into their daily routine as one of the therapies for improving mental, physical health and quality of life.
References: dailycbd.com; naturalwellnesscbdoil.com; ncbi.nlm.nih.gov