CBD for anorexia: Does cannabidiol help fight anorexia? The number of anorexia cases has increased in the last 50 years. But, although the number of cases has remained relatively stable since then, it is still too high. In the US, an estimated number of 30 million people suffer from some kind of eating disorder. 0.9% of women suffer from anorexia nervosa during their lifetime. Additionally, according to world statistics, 0.5% to 3% of the world’s teen population suffers from anorexia. Moreover, anorexia nervosa is the third most common chronic illness among teenage women, after obesity and asthma.
Anorexia has a great impact on people who suffer from it. In fact, it has the highest mortality rate of any psychological disorders. For this reason, there have been many studies and research on this condition, including studies on how CBD can help treat eating disorders. And that’s what we’ll explore in this article: CBD for anorexia.
What is Anorexia?
Anorexia nervosa is a psychological eating disorder that causes excessive weight loss and that can lead to starvation. People who suffer from this condition have an extreme fear of gaining weight and typically have a distorted image of their own body. Many anorexic people restrict their food intake by following extreme diets. Many of them also exercise excessively. Often, people who suffer from this condition purge or binge themselves after any food intake.
On the other hand, anorexia is typically a chronic disorder. So, it is a very serious condition that can even lead to death, due to the effects of weight loss on the system. That’s why it is extremely important to seek help as soon as you suspect that you or someone in your family may be suffering from this condition.
Causes and Effects of Anorexia
It is not clear what causes anorexia. Also, the signs and symptoms of this condition are different for every individual. Nevertheless, it is believed that there might be predisposing factors to suffer from this condition, including:
- Genetic factors
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Psychiatric disorders in the family
- Unachievable aesthetic canons imposed by society
On the other hand, people who suffer from anorexia will typically have the following symptoms:
- Dry skin
- Fine hair growth in cheeks, back, and thighs
- Yellow pigmentation of the skin, especially in the back of the hands and feet
- Cold limbs
- Brittle nails
- Hair loss
- Dental problems
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Heart alterations
- Kidney problems
- Low sugar levels
Warning Signs of Anorexia
Typically, people who suffer from anorexia nervosa or any other type of eating disorder will hide and deny their problem. That’s why it’s crucial to pay attention to any warning signs. These can include some of the following:
- Excessive weight loss in a short period of time
- The constant worry of gaining weight
- Excessive exercising
- Growth delay in children and teenagers
- Menstrual problems or lack of menstruation
- Use of loose clothes, especially trousers
- Avoiding eating in the presence of others
- Leave the table to quickly after eating
- Tendency to depression and anxiety
- Use of diuretics and laxatives
- Low self-esteem
- Social isolation
Regular Treatments for Anorexia
Due to the psychological component of the condition, anorexia is a difficult illness to treat. Ideally, the condition will be treated by a multidisciplinary team of dietitians, therapists, medical doctors, and psychiatrists.
Treatment for anorexia will focus on the following matters:
- Refeeding the patient to restore weight.
- Changing the patient’s food habits
- Regularly controlling the patient’s weight
- Pharmacological therapy to reduce anxiety
- Psychological therapy
And cannabidiol? Is CBD for anorexia effective?
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is a substance that is extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant. But although CBD comes from the same plant as marihuana, they are not the same thing. Cannabis sativa has two varieties: marihuana and hemp. On the one hand, marihuana contains high levels of THC and low levels of CBD. This substance is what gives marihuana its psychoactive properties. On the other hand, hemp contains high levels of CBD, but little to no levels of THC. Consequently, hemp has no psychoactive properties.
Additionally, whilst marihuana remains illegal in most states, both hemp and CBD derived hemp are legal across the US.
But does CBD for anorexia work? We discuss it below.
CBD for Anorexia
To understand how CBD oil can help with eating disorders, we must first see how CBD works in our system. There are two types of cannabinoid receptors in our body cells: CB1 and CB2. These receptors are especially high in our brain and immune system cells. Although cannabidiol doesn’t specifically bind to our CB1 and CB2 receptors, it has an indirect impact on them. For instance, CBD inhibits Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase. By doing this, our system produces higher levels of other endocannabinoids, such as anandamide.
Some studies have found that people with eating disorders, typically have a weak cannabinoid system. Also, some recent studies in animals and humans have shown that substances that activate CB1 receptors can enhance appetite. Hence, introducing a cannabinoid treatment could help people who suffer from anorexia to gain weight and prevent a relapse.
CBD also has anxiolytic effects. Hence, it can effectively relieve the constant worry that they feel when they eat. Also, it can help the patients avoid negative thinking. For all these reasons, CBD is a promising substance when dealing with eating disorders.