Even in an era of thin wafer models and Hollywood diets that seem haggard to be fashionable, there are disease states in which lack of hunger and subsequent weight loss can be extremely crippling for patients.
I do not mean anorexia nervosa. Patients with anorexia are still hungry, they just ignore it to keep their body weight low.
What I am discussing is about patients who have a genuine lack of hunger and a loss of interest in food.
Marijuana and THC can fight this problem with great success
The two most important disease states that cause the loss of hunger and lack of interest in food include cancer and HIV / AIDS.
More than fifty percent of cancer patients show a dramatic loss of weight of lean body mass that can appear as loss or cachexia, as it is called.
The most common cancers that cause wear are cancers of the prostate, pancreas, and lung.
In addition to the disease that causes anorexia, severe treatments for these cancers can decrease appetite and weight. Depression due to the disease can aggravate this weight loss.
Patients with AIDS may also experience SAME.
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This can weaken the immune system, which increases the chances of an opportunistic infection.
AIDS itself decreases appetite, and medications can also cause a drastic loss of appetite.
Typical antiretroviral treatments, such as AZT, can cause significant nausea. Successful HIV medications usually involve a complicated cocktail of medications that can be nauseating.
THC can allow patients to increase from forty to fifty pounds and increase the likelihood that patients will continue with their antiretroviral regimen.
There are other side effects of AIDS that are helped by marijuana, including headaches, leg cramps, peripheral neuropathy, and pain.
If the patient develops an impaired immune system and ulcerations develop in the mouth and throat, this can also make feeding difficult.
It has been proven that smoking marijuana increases appetite. A study conducted in the 1980s evaluated 6 men who lived in a laboratory and showed that those who smoked real marijuana ate an additional 1,000 calories more than the placebo group (Foltin et al 1988). The scientific reason has to do with the CB1 cannabinoid receptor.
When people smoke marijuana, the effects can be felt quite quickly, in minutes. There is also synthetic THC available, called Marinol. This can also help decrease nausea and allow patients to gain weight, or at least decrease the loss.
Reasons to pick up marijuana smoked in Marinol? Patients say that a single dose of marijuana can increase appetite, unlike Marinol, it can take weeks before hunger increases.