What is Anorexia? Anorexia is an eating disorder that generally presents itself by severe weight loss, a loss of appetite, a distorted body image, and a fear of gaining weight. These symptoms may also be accompanied by the intense desire to exercise. While anorexia may be the primary condition in some patients, it can also be a side effect of more serious conditions such as cancer or HIV/AIDS.
The part of the brain that translates food consumption into the emotion of pleasure has been found to be underactive in patients with anorexia. This can lead to loss of appetite because the patient no longer has a positive relationship with eating.
Patients may experience anxiety and fear after consuming food. This can cause a patient to avoid food altogether leading to anorexia. Anorexia is the third most common chronic disease among young people.
The THC compound of cannabis works with the receptors in the human body that control appetite. This interaction aids to increase the appetite in patients so that they consume a healthy amount of nutrients and calories and maintain a healthy weight. In this way, cannabis provides a more painless solution to anorexia than requiring a patient to use a feeding tube.
Along with aiding the appetite in patients, the THC in cannabis also affects the mood of patients. This helps to calm the anxiety and fear some patients associate with eating. THC interacts with the brain to allow the patient to experience the taste of food fully. A study in Belgium found that when patients can fully experience the taste of food, it becomes a more pleasurable experience and the desire to eat increases naturally.
Patients who use cannabis for anorexia have found strains high in THC to be the most effective.
 Medical Marijuana. (2017). Eating Disorders (Anorexia) and Medical Marijuana. Retrieved from https://www.medicalmarijuana.com/medical-marijuana-treatments-cannabis-uses/eating-disorders-anorexia-and-medical-marijuana/
 National Eating Disorders Association. (2016). Anorexia: Overview and Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/anorexia-nervosa
 Nordqvist, C. (2015, Oct 7). Anorexia Nervosa: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267432.php
 Wenk, G. L. (2012, Apr 9). The Connection Between Anorexia, Bulemia, and Marijuana. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-food/201204/the-connection-between-anorexia-bulimia-and-marijuana
Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome)
What is Cachexia? Patients with cachexia, or Wasting Syndrome, tend to experience a loss of appetite and excessive, unintended weight loss. This weight loss, which can occur even if the patient consumes proper nutrients, is different from malnutrition. Weight loss that is caused by malnutrition tends to be mainly fatty tissue, while weight loss caused by cachexia can be around 50% muscle tissue. This loss of muscle tissue can lead to fatigue and decreased strength. Cachexia is often a secondary condition, resulting from diseases such as cancer, AIDS, heart failure, or advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Since cachexia is usually found to be a secondary issue, treatment may differ depending on the underlying condition. In general, one of the conventional treatments is an appetite stimulant.
Bodily functions such as appetite, memory, mood, and pain are controlled by the endocannabinoid system. This system is a group of receptors in the brain and central nervous system. One of the primary compounds in cannabis, THC, influences these receptors in order to stimulate appetite and reduce pain. This may help to increase the quality of life in those suffering from cachexia.
Strains of cannabis that contain high levels of THC or THCA have been found to help patients with cachexia most effectively.
 Benbadis, S. R., Bozorq, A., Giarratano, M., Kalidas, K., Katzin, L., Robertson, D., Zesiewicz, T. (2014, Dec). Medical Marijuana in Neurology. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25427150
 Bolognini, D., Cascio, M. G., Cluny, N. L., Duncan, M. G., Javid, F. A., Limebeer, C. L., … Stott, C. G. (2013, Mar). Cannabidiolic acid prevents vomiting in Suncus murinus and nausea-induced behaviour in rats by enhancing 5-HT1A receptor activation. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3596650/
 Gascon, P., Jimenez-Fonseca, P., Tuca, A. (2013, Dec). Clinical evaluation and optimal management of cancer cachexia. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23953794
 Gullett, N. P., Hebbar, G., Mazurak, V., Ziegler, T. R. (2012, Mar 1). Nutritional Interventions for Cancer-induced Cachexia. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3106221/
Severe, Debilitating, or Chronic Pain
What is Severe, Debilitating, or Chronic Pain? Chronic pain is not usually a primary condition but can be a severe symptom of other injuries or conditions. In the US alone, there are an estimated 38 million adults that experience chronic pain. Chronic pain can be caused by several conditions including cancer, AIDS, sickle cell anemia, and multiple sclerosis. Patients experiencing chronic pain may experience a decreased quality of life due to their inability to function as completely as possible.
Treatment for chronic pain is dependent on the underlying condition or injury that is causing the pain. The most commonly prescribed treatment for chronic pain is opioids. However, these can cause severe nausea as well as other complications. Cannabis is able to provide almost immediate relief for pain with an extremely low risk of side-effects.
Patients have found that strains of cannabis high in CBD help to minimize chronic pain most effectively.
 Americans for Safe Access. (2014, Jul). Chronic Pain & Medical Cannabis. Retrieved from http://www.safeaccessnow.org/chronic_pain_booklet#pain
 Boychuk, D. G., Goddard, G., Mauro, G., Orellana, M. F. (2015). The effectiveness of cannabinoids in the management of chronic nonmalignant neuropathic pain: a systematic review. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25635955
 Cannabis to relieve post-op pain. (2001 Apr 3). Retrieved from http://www.imperial.ac.uk/publications/reporterarchive/0104/news06.htm
 De Novellis, V., De Petrocellis, L., Di Marzo, V., Gatta, L., Majone, S., Palazzo, E., … Vita, D. (2011, Feb). Non-psychoactive cannabinoids modulate the descending pathway of antinociception in anaesthetized rats through several mechanisms of action. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20942863
 Dobrogowski, J., Przeklasa-Muszynska, A., Wordliczek, J., (2008). [Persistent post-operative pain]. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19140488
What is Severe Nausea? Severe nausea can be caused by several conditions and treatments including cancer chemotherapy or radiation and AIDS treatment. These treatments, as well as many other medications can cause the constant feeling of a need to vomit. Severe nausea causes patients to lose their desire to eat and can lead to serious conditions including anorexia and wasting syndrome.
Alleviating nausea is one of the most common uses of medical cannabis. With very few side-effects, cannabis can provide relief from constant nausea that comes with many medications. This assistance helps patients to keep down food and can aid in preventing anorexia as well as wasting syndrome.
What are Seizures? Seizures occur when nerve cells in the brain are disturbed by a sudden surge of electricity. The primary diagnosis for recurrent, unprovoked seizures is epilepsy which is the fourth most common neurological disorder. During a seizure, a patient may experience tremors, convulsions, difficulty breathing, inability to swallow, rigid or tense muscles, and a rapid heartbeat. While many seizures are completely disabling, some occur with little to no patient awareness. Epilepsy affects approximately 65 million people worldwide, primarily those under 10 or over 55 years old.
There is currently no cure for epilepsy or seizures. However, research has found great success in minimizing the conditions through cannabis.
The calming effects of CBD work as an anticonvulsant by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in the human body, which controls mood, memory, pain, and appetite. The results of a survey of 117 parents of children with epilepsy resulted in “Eighty-five percent of all parents reported a reduction in seizure frequency, and 14% reported complete seizure freedom” with the use of CBD.
Along with the decrease or elimination of seizures, patients using CBD also report increased appetite, as well as improved sleep, alertness, and mood. Patients experiencing seizures found the most effective treatment from cannabis that is high in CBD or CBDV to provide relief and minimize seizures.
 Amada, N., Whalley, B. J., Williams, C. M., Yuki, Y. (2013, Nov). Cannabidivarin (CBDV) suppresses pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced increases in epilepsy-related gene expression. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258956422_Cannabidivarin_CBDV_suppresses_pentylenetetrazole_PTZ-induced_increases_in_epilepsy-related_gene_expression
 Chapman, K. E., Knupp, K. G., Press, C. A. (2015, Apr). Parental reporting of response to oral cannabis extracts for treatment of refractory epilepsy. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25845492
 Cheng, E., Hung, P., Hussain, S. A., Jacobson, C., Lay, J., Lerner, J. T., … Zhou, R. (2015, Jun). Perceived efficacy of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis extracts for treatment of pediatric epilepsy: A potential role for infantile spasms and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25935511
 Consroe, P., Wolkin, A. (1977, Apr). Cannabidiol–antiepileptic drug comparisons and interactions in experimentally induced seizures in rats. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/850145
Severe or Persistent Muscle Spasms
What are Severe or Persistent Muscle Spasms? A muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction of the muscle. These contractions can range from small and unnoticed, to severe and extremely painful. While some muscle spasms can be linked to dehydration or overuse of the muscle, they can also be a symptom of serious conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis. The most common place for muscle spasms to occur is in the legs, but they can occur anywhere in the body. Serious muscle spasms can lead to joint mobility issues. The standard treatment for this condition is a mixture of medication and therapy.
Cannabis contains CBD which creates an anti-tremor and anticonvulsant response that helps reduce and ease muscle spasms. Many conventional treatments outside of cannabis have serious side effects and can lead to addiction. Cannabis, however, provides rapid relief with very few side-effects. It has been found to provide relief of ataxia (loss of coordination), an effect not found in other treatments currently available.
atients using cannabis to treat severe or persistent muscle spasms have found that strains with high levels of CBD are the most effective.
 American Academy of Neurology. (2014). Medical Marijuana in Certain Neurological Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.aan.com/Guidelines/home/GetGuidelineContent/650
 Americans for Safe Access. (2014, Jul). Movement Disorders & Medical Marijuana. Retrieved from
 Andyrsiak, T., Ellison, G. W., Fairbanks, L., Myers, L. W., Ungerleider, J. T. (1987). Delta-9-THC in the treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2831701
 Medical Marijuana, Inc. (2015, Sep 23). Spasms – Medical Marijuana Research Overview. Retrieved from http://www.medicalmarijuanainc.com/spasms-medical-marijuana-research/
What is Glaucoma? Glaucoma is a condition caused by damage to the optic nerve leading to progressive loss of sight. The most common cause is pressure building up inside of the eyeball. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Research completed by the Glaucoma Research Foundation estimates that only half of people with glaucoma are even aware they have it. The symptoms of glaucoma include blurred vision, eye pain, nausea, red eyes, and trouble seeing in the dark. In America alone, it is estimated that over 3 million people have glaucoma.
While there is currently no cure for glaucoma, cannabis can be used to treat the symptoms and slow down the progress of glaucoma. Multiple research studies have shown that the use of THC can lower the optic pressure by 60-65%. Lower pressure helps to lessen the effects of glaucoma and slow down the loss of vision.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. While PTSD is widely known to affect military veterans, it can occur in anyone that experiences a shocking or dangerous event. The symptoms of PTSD are broken into three categories, re-experiencing, avoidance, and arousal. Re-experiencing symptoms include flashbacks and frightening thoughts and dreams. Avoidance symptoms include isolation from people or events related to the traumatic experience and may also entail the avoiding of thoughts or emotions related to the trauma. Arousal symptoms include insomnia, being easily startled, and angry outbursts. The National Center for PTSD estimates about 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will experience PTSD.