How does medical cannabis stimulate appetite

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Cannabidiol or CBD, one of the components of cannabis, has multitudinous properties that qualifies it as dynamic. However, THC or delta-9 tetrahydro-cannabinol, comes with a negative nuance. In order to expunge this false connotation, lets discuss details about how THC works in the body when taken through inhalation, oral or rectal means. The means through which the cannabis is consumed, affects the time period of the plant to bring about reactions within the body. Before we begin our discussion, it’s important to understand that, medical cannabis or medical marijuana has already been approved by the Food and Drug Adminstration in US, to be regulated amongst patients suffering from ailments such as cancer, arthritis as well as HIV-AIDS.

To begin with, scientific experiments were conducted on mice. These experiments revealed that, when the mice were exposed to a vapour, artificially produced, simulating qualities of cannabis smoke, the sensitisation in the mice increased. Although the dosage took some time to show the effects, the mice, who had just been fed, were hungry for another meal. As the brains of mice are similar to human brains and both have an in-built endocannabinoid system, these results provocated the scientists to delve further into this and discover the science behind the working of medical cannabis in stimulating appetite in humans.

Science behind cannabis stimulating appetite

As earlier research and studies have already established, THC ingredient of cannabis, acts on CB1 receptors, that are majorly present in the brain and in the stomach. Acting on these receptors is what causes THC to generate pyschological effects in the body. Like the results on the mice showed the effect of THC on appetite, there was an identical effect on the humans as well. The sensation or feeling of hunger rises in the body, when a peptide hormone, called ghrelin, is released by the stomach. Intake of THC, through consumption of cannabis, by acting on the receptors in the stomach, activates the process of production of the hormone, ghrelin, which in turn sends a signal to the brain, giving rise to the feeling of hunger. As THC is also known to release dopamine, which gives the so-called ‘high’ to the users, works on sourcing pleasure into the body, which allows the users to experience to enjoy the food even more. The sensations of taste and smell are heightened, resulting in a higher appetite. THC is also successful in inhibiting the release of leptin hormone, which acts as a deterrent for the rise in appetite. These hormones send a signal to the brain, giving rise to feeling full.
These appetite deterring hormones are primarily found in patients suffering from chronic illness, patients undergoing chemotherapy, metabolic disorders, heart diseases etc. On the other hand, CBD also contibutes in the appetite stimulating process by working on the mood and calming the body. This leads to boosting the appetite as well.

Medical Cannabis for stimulating appetite amongst patients

Regulation of dosage of medical cannabis, i.e, Dronabinol and Nabilone, synthetic forms of THC, is carried out amongst the patients suffering from different diseases in order to vary the effects of it. It is also important to keep in mind the concentration of THC in the cannabis before adminstering it to the patients, as higher doses of it, cannot be tolerated by patients who are ill. The method of adminstration of cannabis, is significant as well, as smoking cannabis brought about faster results than taking cannabis orally or inhaling the smoke.

Cannabis strains recommended for stimulating appetite

The strain of cannabis, cannabis sativa, has prevalent uses amongst patients suffering from anorexia. For people suffering from severe loss of appetite due to chronic illnesses, the strains of cannabis recommended are Jack the ripper, Orange Bud and Rainbow Kush. Strains of cannabis, indica, sativa as well as hybrids are potent of appetite stimulation, however, sativa strains are more effective than the others, when it comes to stimulating appetite in patients.


As it is the THC content that is responsible for making the appetite mechanism effective, it is crucial that methods are devised which keep the side-effects of THC under control. Not only does THC stimulate appetite, it is also a potential aid for weight gain amongst patients suffering from HIV related wasting syndrome, anorexia nervosa, etc. Scientists are also working on trying to find out ways in which THC could contribute in reducing the appetite as well, as obesity is one of the most prevalent eating disorder.

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