Book an appointment

Anorexia and Medicinal Cannabis

Anorexia Nervosa is a psychological condition which typically sees sufferers struggling to maintain a body weight appropriate to their height and age, as well as a lack of appetite and obsession over appearance and weight.

People who suffer from anorexia nervosa usually restrict their caloric intake as a result of an intense and compulsive fear of gaining weight or seeming overweight. 

What are the symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder that presents a variety of physical and mental symptoms. Some of the physical symptoms of anorexia are:

  • Drastic and sudden weight loss
  • Excessive exercise
  • Post puberty loss of menstruation (in females)
  • Hair loss
  • Shivering and constantly feeling cold
  • Little to no appetite
  • Binge eating followed by purging
  • Dizziness
  • Dental problems 
  • Dry skin

Some of the mental or emotional symptoms of anorexia nervosa are:

  • Body dysmorphia
  • Excluding certain food groups or food types (eg. fats or carbohydrates)
  • Denying feelings of hunger or a desire to eat
  • Limited social interaction
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Difficulty concentrating

How can medicinal cannabis help with anorexia nervosa?

Although Anorexia Nervosa is a psychological condition, its treatment is usually conducted by a team of healthcare professionals across a variety of disciplines. In severe cases, patients may require the insertion of a feeding tube, which can be traumatic and invasive. 

Cannabis’ interaction with the endocannabinoid system - which regulates mood and appetite, presents a less invasive solution to a reduced appetite. Studies on cannabis’ effectiveness on appetite stimulation have produced positive results in conjunction with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Anorexia nervosa also often presents with accompanying psychological conditions such as anxiety or depression, both of which can also feature medicinal cannabis as a part of a broader treatment plan. For anorexia nervosa, a CBD isolate is recommended but it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for the most appropriate treatment.

If you or a loved one are suffering from anorexia nervosa and are considering medicinal cannabis as a potential treatment, please speak to your GP or to one of our SAS accredited doctors here.