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Anorexia overview

Anorexia is an eating disorder that is typically associated with a dangerously thin body, and a phobia of gaining weight. This can often occur alongside a distorted perception of body size and weight. Those with anorexia are consumed with controlling their perceived weight, leading to dangerous behavior.

The most common way people with anorexia try to prevent weight gain is by dramatically reducing their caloric intake. This bid to control weight can also involve vomiting after eating, misuse of laxatives, dietary supplements, or enemas. Regardless of how they attempt to lose weight, anorexia is characterized by a deep fear of weight gain.

As discussed, the primary sign of anorexia is often extreme weight loss, or not hitting normal developmental thresholds. It can also begin to show with abnormal fatigue, insomnia, fainting, or intolerance to the cold. However, for others, it will show in the weak and frail frames of those affected. This includes thinning hair, yellowish skin, constipation, absence of menstruation, and swelling in the limbs, among many others.

The other vital symptoms of anorexia to keep in mind are the emotional and behavioral signs. As we’ve discussed, the first significant sign for many loved ones is behavioral signs such as severe restriction of food intake or extreme amounts of exercising.

However, the emotional symptoms of anorexia can often become neglected. The primary emotional signs include things like a deep-rooted fear or aversion to eating or constantly making excuses for not eating. This often leads to social withdrawal and irritability about their eating habits.

The exact causes of anorexia are currently unknown to researchers. Like most things, it’s likely a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors that lead to anorexia.

Some people are genetically predisposed to sensitivity or perfectionism, while others develop obsessive-compulsive traits, which can greatly increase the risk of developing anorexia or another eating disorder. This is especially true in western culture, where a ton of value is placed on body size.

The clearest risk factors for anorexia are things out of our control, such as sex and age. For instance, anorexia is more common in women than men, and more common in teens than adults. However, the rates of anorexia among both men and adults, in general, have been on the rise. That said, it’s still very uncommon to develop anorexia after the age of 40.

The other risk factors are things that are not currently well understood, such as genetic factors and diet. Some evidence suggests that many of the symptoms of anorexia are actually symptoms of starvation, which changes the way your brain works.

Anorexia and eating disorders, in general, are relatively common, with some estimates saying around 70 million people worldwide are suffering. Other reports say as many as 9% of American women will suffer from anorexia at some point in their lifetime. Anorexia and other eating disorders are extremely serious, accounting for the highest mortality rate among psychological disorders.

It can be difficult to get treatment for loved ones dealing with anorexia, as many are unwilling to seek help at first. If you are worried you or a loved one may be struggling with anorexia, be sure to talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Only they can offer the most useful strategy for moving forward.

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Table of Contents

CBD Research For Anorexia

potencial impact research overview

Anorexia - Brain Type 1 Cannabinoid Receptor Availability in Patients with Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa

  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • 2011

related conditions:

Anorexia

Researchers used statistical parametric mapping on women with Anorexia Nervosa (AN), Bulimia Nervosa (BN), and a control group to study the number of endocannabinoid receptors in the brain. They found a slight increase in BN patients, with an even higher amount of receptors in the AN patients, showing that endocannabinoid regulation, with cannabinoids like CBD, has a high potential for treatment.

Anorexia - Cancer cachexia and cannabinoids

  • RW Gorter
  • 1999

related conditions:

Anorexia

Two-thirds of cancer patients are diagnosed with Anorexia and cachexia, a wasting of the body due to their illness. In 1986 THC began to be prescribed to help patients with appetite stimulation, but was not found to help all aspects of the conditions. In this study researchers look at CBD for its psychological therapeutic effects. They also explore combinations of the two cannabinoids.

Anorexia - Leptin, ghrelin, and endocannabinoids: potential therapeutic targets in anorexia nervosa

  • Odense University Hospital
  • 2008

related conditions:

Anorexia

This review takes a look at the research done in regards to the potential for Leptin, Ghrelin, and endocannabinoids in the treatment of Anorexia. Endocannabinoids, such as CBD has been proven to help patients with depression and anxiety while also helping to restore nutrition. These factors were shown to have the potential to help patients restore and maintain healthy body weight.

Anorexia - The role of the endocannabinoid system in eating disorders: neurochemical and behavioural preclinical evidence

  • University of Cagliari
  • 2014

related conditions:

Anorexia

In this study, researchers look at the endocannabinoid system’s theorized connection with eating disorders. Endocannabinoid receptors have been shown to have a role in the brain regions concerned with food intake, reward, and energy balance. Most eating disorders have a significant psychological factor that could be affected by modulating the endocannabinoid system with cannabinoids like CBD.

CBD Research That Might Be Useful for Symptoms of Anorexia

potencial impact research overview

Anxiety - Plant-based medicines for anxiety disorders, part 2: a review of clinical studies with supporting preclinical evidence

  • University of Melbourne, Australia
  • 2013

related conditions:

Anxiety

A comprehensive review of all the plant-based medicine which has had both preclinical and human clinical trials conducted about their anxiolytic-like effect. An analysis of over 1500 papers identified 21 plants which had been adequately tested, with one of the most successful of these plants found to be CBD enriched Cannabis species.

Mood Disorders- Acute Effects of a Single, Oral dose of d9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) Administration in Healthy Volunteers

  • University of Barcelona
  • 2012

related conditions:

Mood Disorders

Unlike THC, which was shown to have acute behavioural and physiological effects, CBD was proven safe and well tolerated by healthy patients. In fact, while THC was associated with higher risks of anxiety and dysphoria, there were no differences between the CBD and placebo on any negative symptomatic variable.

Sleep - Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature

  • Palo Alto University, CA, USA
  • 2017

related conditions:

Sleep

This report concludes CBD holds promise for significantly increasing the quality of REM sleep. Researchers believe it could one day be a primary force behind improved overall sleep quality. CBD was even shown to reduce daytime sleepiness in many patients.

Anorexia & CBD Research Overview

CBD has rapidly grown from an alternative medicine hardly known in the mainstream, to the hottest new thing in all-natural treatments. Most of this hype can be attributed to the growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence suggesting CBD has many powerful benefits. There is even emerging evidence that CBD may be an effective treatment for anorexia and other eating disorders.

One exciting report, called Brain Type 1 Cannabinoid Receptor Availability in Patients with Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa, showed a distinct ability of CBD to impact eating disorders. They found endocannabinoid system dysfunction was associated with higher rates of anorexia, while treatment with CBD could begin to regulate function.

Other reports into the treatment of anorexia, including Leptin, ghrelin, and endocannabinoids: potential therapeutic targets in anorexia nervosa, have shown a connection to the endocannabinoid system. Researchers believe not only can CBD improve system function, but also reduce depression and anxiety among those currently suffering.

CBD and the endocannabinoid system have been associated with the primary regions of the brain which deal with reward systems, as well as food intake and energy balance. The researchers behind The role of the endocannabinoid system in eating disorders: neurochemical and behavioural preclinical evidence, acknowledge the deeply psychological basis of eating disorders, which may allow CBD to be of particular use.

This value of CBD has even been shown in less common forms of anorexia, such as when it's associated with cancer. In fact, reports such as Cancer cachexia and cannabinoids, indicate these uses of cannabinoids has been documented since the mid-1980s. More research is needed, but it's clear that CBD and THC both have an important role to play in regulating appetite.

There's plenty of other evidence on CBD, which suggests it could alleviate some of the challenging symptoms of anorexia. For example, we have a ton of research that suggests CBD is a powerful treatment for anxiety, including Plant-based medicines for anxiety disorders, part 2: a review of clinical studies with supporting preclinical evidence.

Trouble sleeping is another common issue that can accompany the anxiety many anorexia patients deal with. Luckily, CBD has been proven to help improve sleep quality thanks to reports such as Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature. The team found that starting a regimen of CBD could significantly improve REM sleep, and should be studied further to unlock its full potential.

Adding to the value of CBD is that it's been proven a more tolerable alternative to THC. This is because THC is sometimes associated with higher rates of anxiety and dysphoria. Acute Effects of a Single, Oral dose of d9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) Administration in Healthy Volunteers showed that CBD has none of these adverse side effects while providing the many benefits listed above.

Best CBD for Anorexia

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Pure CBD Oil Capsules, (50mg)

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Suggested CBD Dosage for Anorexia

Dosage Per Day

Low

5 mg

Mid

15 mg

High

30 mg

The single most common question we’re ever asked here is precisely how much CBD is needed to treat a condition. While it would be fantastic if we could simply give the number that would work for each condition, the human system is much more complicated than that, and each person may require a slightly different ideal regimen.

That said, we can still provide users with a starting point to begin their journey. According to research, between 7.5mg and 30mg of CBD per day can encourage similar amounts of weight gain to titrated diazepam, a popular anti-anxiety medication.

It’s worth mentioning that while CBD has become commonplace in many parts of the country, it’s still not totally legal everywhere. Some places even go as far as to treat CBD and THC as essentially the same thing. As such, it’s vital to do your research before taking CBD with you on your travels.

We should also remind users that not all CBD products are going to be 100% CBD only. In fact, many types of CBD still contain a bit of THC to enhance the benefits provided. However, if you are unwilling or unable to get high, you should seriously consider double-checking before buying any new CBD products.

However you choose to take your CBD and track progress, we really hope you decide to leave your experience here. There are lots of newcomers every day who could benefit from the knowledge you possess. The more information we share, the better off we all are.

Tracking CBD Effectiveness For Anorexia

When first starting on a regimen of CBD, it can be hard to understand just how well it’s working for you. This can prove frustrating for many people, but it’s important to remember that it’s perfectly normal. CBD has a relatively subtle impact, and for most conditions, it’ll require paying attention when first starting out. This is particularly true for anorexia, as most treatment plans require a keen eye from caregivers already.

The first thing we suggest to anyone starting on CBD is to keep a journal of the dosages taken and subsequent symptoms. After just a few short days or weeks, most people feel a whole lot more comfortable with precisely how things are going and how to maximize their dosing.

Everyone is different, and what works for one person may not be ideal for the next. That’s why it’s so important to experiment with different things, and above all else, pay attention to your body.

Lots of people ask if they must keep a journal for CBD to work. While it’s not entirely necessary, we firmly stand behind the value of this little habit to improve the effectiveness of your CBD. If you want to give it everything you’ve got, you owe it to yourself to at least try and keep a journal.

Anyone deciding to track their progress with CBD should seriously consider leaving their experiences here for others to learn from. All it takes is a short description of your overall experience with CBD, along with a score for how well it improved appetite, anxiety, and sleep quality. Together we can build a much more well-informed world.

Written By
John Mace Alois is lead content creator at the Did CBD Work? project. He’s analyzed over 400 research papers related to Cannabidiol and helped publish over 55 works related to different conditions for the project. He majored in Cultural Anthropology, with a minor in English, from the University at Albany. He is an avid collector of art supplies and refurbishes old furniture in his spare time.

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