Eating disorders aren’t rare conditions, yet they are hardly talked about. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, at least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S. Nearly every hour, at least one person dies as a direct result of an eating disorder.
What should be even more alarming, is that 1 out of every 5 deaths from Anorexia is by suicide. Eating disorders normally begin in adolescence and include several classifications. People who show fear of gaining weight, or can’t see their low body mass is negatively affecting their health, are characterized by Anorexia Nervosa.
Bulimia Nervosa is another eating disorder that is estimated to affect 1.5% of U.S. women, and some men, in their lifetime. Binge eating, purging, and fear of gaining weight affect those with Bulimia, but there is also another classification for those who binge eat. Binge eating is the newest classified eating disorder and some studies suggest it is more prevalent than Anorexia and Bulimia combined.
As is with the most mental health disorders, the exact cause is elusive to scientists, but various factors are key to the pathogenic development of eating disorders. Recent studies allude to more than half the risk of developing an eating disorder is connected to genetic triggers. Also, co-morbid psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety disorder, OCD, and ADHD are prominently correlated with eating disorders.
The psychological and neurobiological components involved in developing eating disorders are tightly woven into other factors including abuse, sociocultural influences, and resulting personality and mentality.
While there are no cures for most mental health disorders, in the case of anorexia and other eating disorders doctors generally treat patients with a combination of psychotherapy and pharmaceuticals.
Marinol*, also known as Dronabinol, is an FDA approved synthetic replicate of the naturally occurring compound THC. It’s used to stimulate appetite or to mediate the side effects of other medications. Contrarily, the FDA Adverse Reporting System associates the drug with nausea vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, decreased weight, decreased appetite, anemia, and even death.
Doctors don’t have a medication to specifically address the root of eating disorders, and as a result, more than half of anorexia patients have prescribed [SSRI] antidepressants and other drugs including psychotropic pills for stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that these types of drugs aren’t really helping to treat eating disorders and could actually just be making things worse.
Despite years of warnings from the FDA, and multiple international organizations, that antidepressants greatly increase the risk of suicide in youth, the drugs are still being prescribed to teens and youth who develop eating disorders. It’s probably no stretch then to speculate that the 20% of anorexia deaths by suicide could correlate to the increased prescribing of antidepressants for the condition.
It’s strange that the FDA would make a synthetic version of THC when medical marijuana naturally has so much of it, but that’s what they did with Dronabinol. Compared to other drugs used to treat eating disorders, marijuana has been shown to be exponentially safer with significantly less dangerous side effects.
Recent research into the effects of [THC] and [Endocannabinoids] has shown interesting results. While it’s well-known THC stimulates appetite, what’s less understood is how THC, and other substances produced by cannabis such as the [terpene] [Humulene], can also suppress the appetite, or the need to feed. The effect is usually associated with more cerebral-stimulating strains and is currently being studied further for a better understanding of how the endocannabinoid system modulates the intestinal muscles and GI tract.
Medical marijuana contains multiple [cannabinoids], terpenes, and secondary cannabinoids that all bind to endogenous receptors in our body that help to regulate various functions of health and wellness such as pain and inflammation. Cannabis has been shown to be a potential treatment for anxiety disorders, however, [high-THC] strains without the presence of significant levels of [CBD] can increase symptoms of anxiety.
People who suffer from eating disorders may be genetically predisposed to develop a condition, however, their lifestyle, mental state, and environment greatly influence their risk. Medical marijuana can help trigger metabolism and the urge to eat, and also may activate mental processes that could prevent psychological stress from influencing genetic triggers that could lead to the development of eating disorders.
Marijuana will affect each person uniquely. Consult with a physician, therapist, or medical marijuana professional about using cannabis to treat eating disorders. Find links below to strains that have been reported to help others with eating disorder conditions.
· [[Sour Diesel]]
· [[Super Lemon Haze]]
· [[Pineapple Express]]
· [[Alaskan Thunder Fuck]]