Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome), is a serious side effect of many diseases that is characterized primarily by extreme weight loss. For patients suffering from cachexia, gaining weight or slowing the rate of weight loss is extremely difficult. in this article we’ll look at the disease, readily available treatment methods, and how cannabis interacts with its patients.

What is Cachexia?

The syndrome withe with weight loss, muscle loss, fatigue, weakness, and loss of appetite. The patient has cachexia when reversing his or her weight loss becomes virtually impossible without treating the underlying cause.

The causes of cachexia are serious illnesses. These include:

  • Cancer
  • AIDS
  • Celiac disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Tuberculosis
  • Familial amyloid polyneuropathy
  • Mercury poisoning
  • Hormone deficiency

Of all these conditions, wasting syndrome is most often found in the first two cases: end-stage cancel patients, and HIV/AIDS patients. When someone is affected by the syndrome, the risk of death in increases dramatically. As a result, treating both the wasting syndrome and the underlying cause are of grave importance.

Traditional Treatment Methods

It has been noted by experts that standard treatment for cachexia is is not very effective in and of itself. As the condition is secondary to another illness, treatment for cachexia usually revolves around treating the underlying cause.

As of June, a metabolite called HMB is recommended by professionals. Apparently it helps to reduce the loss of muscle mass in patients with the disorder. Additionally, physicians recommend a high protein diet for patients. Beyond that, doctors subscribe appetite stimulants to encourage patients to eat more to increase body weight.

Cannabis and Cachexia

In the Netherlands, physicians have already caught on tho the fact that marijuana helps with the disease. A study shows that the Dutch doctors, of various specialties, prescribe the use of medical cannabis for an array of ailments. One of these is anorexia and cachexia associated with cancer. The study also notes that smoke marijuana was perceived as being more effective than oral administration. Regardless, the medication was used with the aim of stimulating appetite and increasing body weight.

Another notes that dronabinol, a cannabis-based medicine, and cannabis cigarettes have numerous benefits in the treatment of wasting syndrome as a result of HIV. They that cannabis was significantly superior to placebo. Over the course of the study, those patients taking the medication did not lose any weight; the placebo group, on the other hand, did. They add that cannabinoids, the active chemical compounds in cannabis, were effective in treating both a lack of appetite and weight loss in wasting syndrome.

In a similar study, researchers looked at ailments for which marijuana may be useful as a treatment. On the subject of cachexia, they state that cannabis may be helpful in stimulating appetite and increasing body weight. The study also says that dronabinol has been shown to increase appetite and weight gain in AIDS patients who suffer from cachexia. Weight loss is the primary indicator and danger in those who have the wasting syndrome, so the effectiveness of cannabis to counteract that effect is a huge is a huge benefit.

Moving Forward

Cachexia is a complex disorder that in all likelihood will never be adequately treated by marijuana alone. However, the plant and its extracts seem to have cemented their place among those medications which are beneficial to sufferers of the disease. By increasing appetite and, more importantly, body weight, cannabis can improve the quality of life of patients and slow or halt the deterioration of the ailment.