Many medical conditions induce a loss of appetite. In the medical literature, this is known as anorexia. Some people may suffer from what’s termed cachexia, a wasting of the body due to the illness. It may also present with a lack of appetite.
Digestion takes energy. When the body is putting all of its resources into fighting an illness, the appetite may disappear. Disorders affecting the stomach may also negatively impact the appetite, as may conditions affecting certain parts of the brain.
Some medical treatments may also suppress the appetite. A good example is chemotherapy, which can all but eliminate appetite in cancer patients undergoing treatment.
If you’re suffering a lack of appetite, no matter your medical condition, you may want to consider medical cannabis.
Why Medical Cannabis?
Tune in to a TV show or a movie. If there’s a character who uses cannabis regularly, chances are they’ll be portrayed as having from “the munchies.” When they use cannabis, they become incredibly hungry.
As much as this is a stereotype, there’s a grain of truth to it. Patients claim some strains of medical cannabis do induce “the munchies,” a marked increase in appetite. For those who have no appetite due to a medical condition, that’s good news.
How Does It Work?
Cannabis acts on the brain and central nervous system. Substances called cannabinoids attach to specialized receptors. This produces various effects. What each person experiences depends on many different variables. Individual body chemistry, strain, dosage, and more can affect your cannabis experience.
Different cannabinoids have different effects as well. The most commonly recognized is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This substance may produce the “stereotypical” effects of cannabis portrayed in most popular culture, such as drowsiness, relaxation, and hunger. Strains with high THC content tend to display these effects.
Other cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD) may actually suppress the appetite.
Choosing Your Strain
Since cannabinoids act in different ways, it’s important to choose a strain with a concentration of the substance with the desired effect. If you have no appetite, you probably don’t want to pick a strain high in CBD. By contrast, a strain with a high THC content may be a good fit for you.
How do you know which strains are high in which cannabinoids? A general rule of thumb is to differentiate between indica and sativa strains. Sativa strains usually contain more CBD. As a result, they tend to provide mental clarity and focus, as well as motivation to become involved in activities such as exercise. They may also suppress the appetite.
Indica strains are more common and popular. In fact, they’re likely responsible for the stereotypical pop culture portrayals of cannabis users. These strains usually contain more THC, which may induce relaxation, promote sleep, and increase appetite.
Customizing a Plan
If you’re looking to increase appetite, selecting an indica strain is a good first step. There are many different strains, however, so choosing can be a bit daunting.
Many reputable sources have recommendations about the best strains to use for increased appetite. You can also consult with medical professionals for their recommendations.
Once you’ve been authorized under Health Canada’s rules, you can sit down with medical experts and customize your treatment plan. Your plan will include your strain and your dosage. It’ll be adjusted based on your specific needs, such as accounting for other health conditions or medications you’re taking.
Finding the right strain can take a bit of trial and error. The best advice is to start low and go slow. Experiment with different strains and dosages under the supervision of your medical team. You may be able to find a solution just right for your needs.