Studies show that THC stimulates appetite for those with eating disorders or suffering from chronic illnesses, cancer, and AIDS. Because THC contains cannabinoids similar to the ones in your body, when THC enters the body, it binds to the CB receptors in the hypothalamus. This causes the release of a hormone, called ghrelin, which then causes a feeling of hunger. Another hormone, called leptin, supresses appetite. THC has shown it inhibits the production of this hormone and slows down the neurons that tell your brain you are full. This is why a lot of marijuana-users get the “munchies.”
Studies also show that THC heightened the sense of taste and smell, making food more irresistible. Many users even claim that food taste better after they consume THC, making them want to eat more.
THC for Eating Disorders
Anorexia and bulimia are the two main eating disorders believed to be caused by an imbalanced endocannabinoid system. The cannabinoids in THC can help regulate the ECS and stimulate appetite. Patients will start to feel hungry, and this is definitely an important step to recovery.
Stimulating patients’appetite with THC is a less traumatic than the use of feeding tubes. The relaxing effects of THC can also help with the underlying anxiety associated with eating disorders.
THC for Loss of Appetite Caused by Illness
Loss of appetite is a common symptom of many chronic illnesses and especially with cancer and AIDS patients. Studies show that patients given THC treatments have improved appetites. An FDA-approved THC pill (Marinol) has been presccribed to help for treating nausea and vomiting in cancer patients since the 1980s. And the food intake contributes to their overall health and may help improvement and recovery.
In addition, THC helps patients relax better and contributes to better sleep.