Cannabis For Cachexia Treatment – Opening Doors To The Easier Escape From Cachexia


Cachexia is a wasting syndrome responsible for 20% of the deaths in cancer patients. Do you ever wonder why severe medical conditions such as cancer lead to a drastic decline in body mass? According to an analytical estimate, cachexia affects more than 80% of Cancer patients at their later stages. Cachexia is a muscle wasting disorder that may also lead to the loss of body fat along with the muscles.

Various cachexia stages may affect you differently regarding the amount of body mass you will lose. Unlike other medical conditions of similar nature, it’s an involuntary loss of body muscles.

Cachexia treatment might get a bit complicated if not addressed in time. However, recent research opens doors to cachexia treatment with cannabis, a well-known plant, and a widely used natural remedy. Stick around to learn more about the ins and outs of using medical cannabis for cachexia.

What is Cachexia?

Cachexia can affect people having HIV, AIDS, kidney disease, and cancer at the later stages. It can cause wasting of muscles which ultimately leads to weight loss. The primary factor that helps you distinguish between cachexia and other weight loss ailments is that the latter involves the conscious efforts of the patients to lose weight.

Certain factors lead to an elevated speed of metabolism of the body, which can cause a breakdown of the muscles. The body tends to burn calories faster than the average metabolic rate.

Some experts explain the condition as a form of response by the body meant for fighting the severe disease your body is going through. Your body finds the nutritional stores getting lower due to certain conditions; thus, muscles and body fats are broken down to make up for this loss.

The whole phenomenon ultimately leads to lethargy and makes the patient weak. The body becomes more vulnerable to death.

Different types of Cachexia

Dividing the said condition into categories helps the patients as well as the experts to closely analyze various aspects of the symptoms of cachexia. Thus, based on close analysis, experts bring forth three different types of cachexia that are as follows:

1. Precachexia

This type of cachexia is characterized by a condition where the patients dramatically lose 5% of their body weight. Mostly the potential cause of this loss of body mass is known disease. This category may also involve a decline in appetite, inflammation in different regions, and a changed metabolism pattern in the body.

2. Cachexia:

This state of a medical condition makes you lose way more than 5% of the body weight in around 12 months or sometimes even less than this. Also, you must note that the condition does not involve a conscious effort of the patient to lose weight. It’s more like an involuntary process taking place in the body. Other symptoms of this condition include fatigue, inflammation, muscle strength loss, and appetite decline.

3. Refractory Cachexia:

This type of cachexia is directly linked to conditions like cancer which makes them lose weight dramatically. It may also lead to a condition where the patients become less responsive to cancer treatment. Most people develop the said condition at their last stage of cancer.

What Causes Cachexia?

A lot is going on in your body if you’re going through the cachexia condition. Getting a good understanding of this series of phenomena takes a lot of diligence. Have you ever thought about why medical diseases like cancer end up in cachexia? Here’s an insight into the ins and outs.

Well, cachexia may be caused by several potential factors. Whenever you fall prey to a severe medical condition, it generally causes several effects, including the presence of certain substances in your body at an abnormal level. This imbalanced amount of various substances in your body leads to the wasting of muscles, which in turn causes weight loss.

That’s not the only factor that leads to cachexia; many other factors revolve around the presence of these unwanted substances, which can directly or indirectly cause it. The substances cause certain reactions in your body, which can further contribute to causing cachexia in your body. These biochemical reactions affect several pathways of your body in the following ways:

  • Causing inflammation in various regions
  • Increased metabolism rate isn’t always meant to affect you positively.
  • Drastic muscle breakdown
  • Preventing the muscles from growing.

What are the risk factors for Cachexia?

Often the end stages of severe medical conditions are marked by cachexia. Good knowledge about these diseases can help the patients take adequate measures to prevent cachexia. The following diseases make you more vulnerable to getting cachexia, so make sure to consult your doctor at the earlier stage of these diseases.

  • Cancer is one of the most potent risk factors for cachexia. More than 80% of cancer patients fall prey to cachexia at their end stages.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, makes you highly vulnerable to cachexia.
  • Chronic renal failure might also introduce symptoms of cachexia to your body.
  • HIV
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Symptoms of Cachexia:

What happens to a patient with cachexia? Well, generally, all patients of cachexia come across similar symptoms, and you can easily distinguish the condition from other weight losing medical conditions. So what do you experience exactly? Here’s a quick sneak peek into symptoms in the body of a cachexia patient.

1. Losing weight involuntarily

Patients are observed to lose weight even if they consume adequate calories. At times patients consume an even higher number of calories and still keep on losing weight to a drastic level. 

2. Muscle wasting

Cachexia is typically characterized by muscle wasting. Mass of muscles is gradually lost due to this medical condition. Despite this muscle wasting, some patients don’t really look malnourished. This is because if the patient was already overweight, even a drastic amount of muscle wasting would transform the body into an average-sized body.

3. Anorexia

Anorexia refers to loss of appetite, and a person with cachexia may start finding food less appealing, and gradually, they start losing the desire to eat at all. This can further contribute to the loss of weight.

4. A decline in the functional ability

You’ll always see patients with cachexia complaining about low energy levels and lethargy. It makes even the simplest of tasks difficult and thus hinders the way to a normal and healthy lifestyle. Also, it introduces several symptoms into the body that typically include extreme tiredness, lack of motivation, and discomfort.

Can Cannabis Help with Cachexia treatment?

The cannabis plant is a blissful gift of nature with hundreds and thousands of chemical substances that can induce positive effects on the body. It has a strong ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system of the body directly. Several pieces of anecdotal evidence brought forth the following aspects of using cannabis for cachexia treatment.

1. Appetite stimulation

A declined appetite is undeniably the most critical symptom of cachexia that the patients want to address through some sort of treatment. They generally find food unappealing. However, the cannabis plant possesses wondrous cannabinoids that can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system acts as the control center for regulating appetite; thus, it helps you eat better.

2. Fighting off inflammation

Your body’s immune system is generally under high pressure when suffering from a serious ailment such as cancer. This can cause inflammation through the cytokine action in your body. Cannabis has been in use as a potential anti-inflammatory agent for ages.

3. Antiemetic potential

Anorexia and nausea are the most common symptoms in cachexia patients. However, cannabis is found to have antiemetic effects on the body.

4. Boosting energy levels

Feeling weak and frail is normal for patients with cachexia. They gradually lose body strength, making them weaker with every passing day. Cannabidiol is a common cannabinoid of the cannabis plant, which is known to boost energy levels in your body.

Does Cannabis Work for Cachexia Treatment? Research and Findings

Experts have been on their toes to come up with more aspects of using cannabis for Cachexia treatment. Does it really work? Can cannabis really reduce the symptoms of cachexia? Here’s what the research has to show:

  • Around two-thirds of cancer patients suffer from nausea and anorexia at some point through their disease. It can ultimately inhibit the quality of life to an extremely high level. A study reveals that THC in the cannabis plant stimulates appetite in the body. This effect of THC has been addressed in several studies. [1]
  • Another study highlights that using cannabis can reduce the symptoms to a great extent. [2]

Final Thoughts:

Cannabis marks its position in the medical health arena as the experts bring forth potential abilities of cannabis for cachexia treatment. Cannabis can highly impact your body and reduce symptoms like vomiting, nausea, anorexia, and others. It can help the patients gain back their healthy weight as well.



Legal Disclaimer : Medical Cannabis Doctors does not provide medical services or medical advice. This information is for awareness purposes only and is NOT medical advice. Do not self diagnose or prescribe any forms of treatments based on this information or the information on this site. Always consult with a licensed physician in your state for any medical advice, treatments, prescriptions and medical services.

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