How CBD Oil Helps with Anorexia
There are a number of herbal supplements that are able to improve anorexia nervosa by increasing hormones involved with hunger and satiety – the feeling of being full.
Perhaps the most important option is cannabis.
You may be familiar with a common stereotype of people who use marijuana:
They eat A LOT.
Well, this isn’t a myth.
Many of the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant have been shown to increase our hunger levels, the most significant is THC.
The problem with this is that, since THC is the main cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, it is still forbidden in many countries and US states. For this reason, most CBD oils on the market contain less than 0.03% THC content.
But not to worry! There is more than one way in which CBD oil can help relieve the symptoms of anorexia:
1. Improving Mood
CBD oil offers a surprising range of mood enhancement benefits.
This is important because a low mood is often considered one of the main drivers of anorexia.
Antidepressant drugs such as SSRI or SNRI medications are a popular choice among doctors for treating this condition.
In the case of the cannabis plant, the most significant effect on mood comes from CBD itself, which has been shown to relieve depressive symptoms in animals .
Other compounds in the full-spectrum oil, such as terpenes (borneol, eucalyptol, limonene, beta-caryophyllene, and d-linalool) have also been reported to have extra antidepressant and mood-enhancing effects.
Other cannabinoids, such as cannabichromene (CBC) have also shown to offer antidepressant activity .
CBC, like CBD, is non-psychoactive and is the third most abundant cannabinoid in the plant.
Despite many researchers reporting this cannabinoid as being even more medically relevant for things like mood and inflammation than CBD, there is still virtually no high-level research studies published on this compound.
2. Boosting Appetite
With anorexia, we can experience a massive shift in the hormones that control appetite.
Normally, when we eat a meal, our fat cells release a hormone called leptin. This hormone curbs our appetite and tells us we’re full.
Conversely, another hormone, known as ghrelin, stimulates our hunger.
People with anorexia often have dysfunctional hunger hormone balance, feeling satiated even when they should be starving.
The cannabinoids, especially THC, kickstart hunger cravings by essentially “flipping the hunger switch” in the hypothalamus of the brain . It also increases the production of ghrelin — the hormone responsible for making us feel hungry .
THC works on this region of the brain through the CB1 receptors . These receptors control a wide range of functions in the body but are especially prominent in the hypothalamus.
CBD and Appetite
Contrary to popular belief, CBD does not increase appetite. In fact, it has the opposite effect, lowering appetite overall.
I know what you’re thinking;
“Shouldn’t this be avoided with people who are suffering from anorexia then!?”
It’s not that simple.
CBD on its own has been shown to inhibit appetite, making it important to stay away from CBD isolates (products containing ONLY CBD).
However, CBD has also been shown to boost the effects of THC, including its effects on appetite, making a blend that contains both of these cannabinoids even better at boosting appetite levels overall.
This is why we always recommend using only cannabis oils that are considered “full-spectrum”. Even if the THC content is very low, these are more effective than CBD oils without any THC at all for treating anorexia.
If you live in a legal state, or in a country where cannabis oils of all kinds are legal, you’re best to go for something with a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD.
Other cannabinoids, such as CBG (cannabigerol) have also been shown to increase appetite — so finding high-grade CBG products are a better option than pure CBD products.
3. Relieving Stress/Anxiety
This is the major area to be cautious of when treating anorexia with CBD oil or other cannabis oils.
CBD has been shown to lower anxiety , which is highly beneficial for people with anorexia nervosa.
The nervosa part of the name actually refers to the nervous and anxious nature of people suffering from this condition.
CBD oils with high levels of CBD are going to be of benefit here.
This is where it gets a bit confusing.
The problem is that CBD is better for the antidepressant and antianxiety effects, but the THC portion is going to be significantly better for appetite stimulation.
Unfortunately, CBD kills appetite, and THC can cause anxiety– so what’s the answer?
Whenever taking CBD oil for anorexia, it’s important to maintain high CBD levels to offset the negative side effects of THC. It’s useful, but not always necessary, to have at least a little bit of THC in the formula as well.
A perfect balance is going to be somewhere between 2:1 and 1:1 CBD:THC.
And remember: always choose a full spectrum CBD product.