medical marijuana for lack of appetite

Medical Marijuana for Lack of Appetite – How Does It Work? - November 07, 2019

For many, finding the desire to eat food is quite difficult. A recent study shows that cannabis can help in altering eating behavior, thus stimulating the appetite.

Cannabis contains more than 100 cannabinoids, which possess ultimate medicinal properties. These cannabinoids help in stimulating appetite by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system.

But, what causes appetite loss exactly? What is the endocannabinoid system? How does cannabis help patients stimulate appetite? Read on to learn more.

What’s Appetite Loss?

Appetite loss or lack of appetite means losing the desire to eat. Some of the common signs of decreased appetite are weight loss, not wanting to eat, nausea, etc.

There are various conditions that cause appetite loss-

  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Chronic liver/kidney disease
  • High calcium levels in the blood
  • Addison’s disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Stress
  • Cold and flu

However, a lack of appetite can lead to serious illnesses. It can affect the body’s ability to function properly. Although there are many medications for stimulating appetite available, they cause serious side-effects. But, if you use medical cannabis for appetite loss, you won’t experience any risks.

What Is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex biological system that exists inside the body. It comprises the three major components-


Also called endogenous cannabinoids, endocannabinoids are molecules produced in the body. They are similar to cannabinoids present in the marijuana plant. Endocannabinoids help your body function properly. The two major endocannabinoids are-

  • Anandamide
  • 2-Arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)

Endocannabinoid Receptors

Endocannabinoid receptors are present throughout the body. Endocannabinoids bind to these receptors, taking the action ECS requires. The two major endocannabinoid receptors are-

  • CB1 receptors – mostly found in the central nervous system
  • CB2 receptors – mostly found in immune cells

The ECS’ effects on the body depend on two main factors—to which receptor endocannabinoids bind and what’s the location of the receptor.

Some endocannabinoids bind to CB1 receptors for relieving pain while others bind to CB2 receptors to provide anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects.


Enzymes work for breaking down endocannabinoids after they perform their functions. The two major enzymes are-

  • Fatty acid amide hydrolase for breaking Anandamide
  • Monoacylglycerol acid lipase for breaking 2-Arachidonoylglyerol

The endocannabinoid system plays a key role in regulating various functions inside the body. These include-

  • Mood
  • Memory
  • Inflammation
  • Chronic pain
  • Metabolism
  • Appetite & digestion
  • Muscle formation
  • Motor control
  • Sleep
  • Liver function
  • Stress

How Does Marijuana Affect Appetite?

Endocannabinoid deficiency in the body can lead to the development of several conditions. Lack of appetite is one among them. However, correcting the endocannabinoid deficiency can help in making the body function properly again.

Cannabinoids in the marijuana plant are similar to endocannabinoids in the ECS. Let’s learn how they interact with the endocannabinoid system.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a psychoactive compound, which is responsible for causing high effects. After THC is delivered to the body, it binds to the receptors as endocannabinoids do. Usually, it interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors, thus delivering various effects on the body and mind.

For example, THC can help in relieving pain and stimulating appetite, thus promoting wellness. In some cases, it can lead to anxiety and paranoia. But, experts believe that THC provides positive effects only.

CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive compound, which provides health benefits without causing high effects. CBD is effective in reducing pain, nausea, etc.

Let’s learn the other effects of cannabis consumption in stimulating hunger.

Marijuana can help in boosting ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that involves communicating hunger. The herb produces more ghrelin, thus making you feel hungry. Additionally, cannabis helps in enhancing taste and smell, thus making the patients feel like eating.

Smoking marijuana can help in accelerating dopamine production. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, which sends messages between nerve cells. It’s also called a chemical messenger, which generates feelings of pleasure.

What Do the Studies Say?

There’s a wide range of studies that show cannabis can help in stimulating appetite, thus treating various eating disorders. Here are a few of them-

Odense University Hospital in Denmark did a study in 2013 on anorexia patients. The participants were given a placebo or dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC. Researchers found that the dronabinol group gained an average of 1.6 lbs than the participants in the placebo group. Not only this, when checked after one year, the former participants were still gaining weight. No addiction or withdrawal issues were noticed.

According to a study published in Biological Psychiatry, targeting the endocannabinoid can help in treating eating disorders. Cannabinoids in medical marijuana work in correcting the endocannabinoid deficiency.

A past study that focused on analyzing the effects of marijuana on food intake and body weight in humans shown similar results. Researchers found that marijuana consumption leads to increasing total daily caloric intake by 40%. It was due to the increased consumption of snack foods as a result of an increase in the number of snacking occasions.

Cannabis Strains for Boosting Appetite

There’s a wide range of strains with different levels of CBD and THC available at medical dispensaries. Marijuana’s effects on your body depend on which strain you consume.

Here are some of the best marijuana strains for boosting appetite-

  • Pineapple Kush – Parents of this strain are Pineapple and Master Kush. Its buds are brown and green. Pineapple Kush is good for patients with insomnia, anxiety, and stress.
  • Trainwreck – This strain provides strong high and energizing effects. It has a skunk-like smell and is usually suggested for treating anorexia, relieving pain, and controlling muscle spasms.
  • Sour Diesel – The Sativa-dominant strain took this name because of its diesel-like aroma. It is a fast-acting strain, which is effective in alleviating symptoms of anxiety & depression and helping patients suffering from the loss of appetite.
  • Amnesia Haze – It’s the best strain for starting your day. The strain provides ultimate uplifting effects. Along with boosting appetite, Amnesia Haze can also be used for reducing stress, depression, anxiety, pain, and fatigue.
  • OG Kush – It’s a Sativa dominant hybrid strain, which has buds like popcorn. Medical researchers have found that OG Kush can help in stimulating appetite and treating anxiety.

Cannabinoids don’t provide the same effects to everyone. Thus, it’s important to learn how your body responds to cannabinoids and choose strains that work for you the best.

Getting Legal Access to Medical Marijuana

Currently, 33 US states allow marijuana use for health benefits. To access cannabis products from medical dispensaries, you require a doctor’s recommendation. If you are suffering from a condition, which is listed among the MMJ qualifying conditions of your states, you can apply for your medical cannabis card.

Also Read- Qualifying Conditions For Medical Marijuana in California

In this technology world, you need not visit a doctor’s clinic and wait for your turn to get an MMJ card. Use telemedicine services and apply for your medical marijuana card online within a few minutes. The process is very simple-

  • Sign up an account
  • Talk to a licensed doctor
  • Get your MMJ recommendation letter in the email


Appetite loss involves losing the desire to eat food, and its symptoms include weight loss, nausea, etc. Smoking cannabis can help in stimulating appetite without causing any side-effects. The herb is beneficial in treating eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.

Marijuana contains over 100 cannabinoids, which interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, thus regulating appetite, mood, and memory. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a psychoactive cannabinoid, bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors, providing positive effects on the body and mind.

There’s a wide range of cannabis strains with different levels of CBD and THC available at medical dispensaries. To alleviate your symptoms completely, make sure you buy the right strains.

Get your medical cannabis card to access cannabis products from licensed dispensaries.

Online Medical Card Team

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