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Anorexia, or Anorexia Nervosa, is a complex and potentially life-threatening eating disorder that affects millions of individuals worldwide. 

It is characterised by an extreme fear of weight gain, a distorted body image, and an unhealthy restriction of food intake, leading to severe weight loss. This disorder impacts not only physical health but also takes a heavy toll on mental well-being. 

In this article, we will explore the symptoms, causes, and prevention strategies for Anorexia to raise awareness and better understand this challenging condition.

What is Anorexia?

Anorexia, also known as Anorexia Nervosa, is a debilitating eating disorder marked by an irrational fear of weight gain and an unhealthy obsession with thinness. 

Individuals with Anorexia often have a distorted body image, perceiving themselves as overweight despite being dangerously underweight. 

This leads to extreme food restriction, excessive exercise, and other harmful behaviours aimed at preventing weight gain. Anorexia affects both physical and mental health, causing malnutrition, organ damage, and psychological distress. 

A combination of genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors contributes to the development of this complex disorder, which requires comprehensive treatment and support for recovery.


Some common symptoms of Anorexia include:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Thin appearance
  • Obsession with food, dieting, and calories
  • Fear of gaining weight
  • Distorted body image
  • Denial of hunger
  • Excessive exercise
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Brittle nails
  • Thinning hair or hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Irregular or absent menstruation
  • Constipation


The exact cause of Anorexia is not known, but several factors are believed to contribute to its development, such as:

  • Genetics: Individuals with a family history of eating disorders may be at greater risk.
  • Biological factors: Changes in brain chemicals or hormonal imbalances may play a role.
  • Psychological factors: Low self-esteem, perfectionism, anxiety, and depression can contribute to the development of Anorexia.
  • Environmental factors: Cultural pressures, family dynamics, and exposure to media images promoting thinness can influence the risk of developing Anorexia.


While it’s not always possible to prevent Anorexia, some strategies may help reduce the risk, such as:

  • Encouraging a healthy body image: Discuss realistic expectations about body size, weight, and shape, and promote self-esteem in children and teenagers.
  • Encourage open communication: Create an environment where family members can openly discuss their feelings, concerns, and emotions.
  • Educate about the dangers of dieting: Teach children and adolescents about the risks associated with unhealthy dieting and the importance of a balanced diet.
  • Monitor media exposure: Limit exposure to media that promotes unrealistic beauty standards and engage in critical discussions about the messages portrayed.
  • Seek professional help: If you suspect that a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, encourage them to seek help from a qualified mental health professional.

Remember, early intervention is essential for the best chances of recovery.

Medical Marijuana as a Treatment

Medical marijuana has been considered as a potential treatment for Anorexia due to its ability to stimulate appetite, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. 

It is believed that the compounds found in cannabis, particularly cannabinoids and terpenes, may help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with Anorexia.

How does medical marijuana help?

  1. Appetite stimulation: One of the primary effects of certain cannabinoids, particularly THC, is appetite stimulation. By activating specific receptors in the brain, THC can trigger the release of hormones that stimulate hunger, which may be beneficial for individuals with Anorexia who struggle with a lack of appetite.
  2. Anxiety reduction: Anxiety is a common symptom of Anorexia, and medical marijuana has shown promise in reducing anxiety levels. Cannabinoids like CBD have been found to have anxiolytic properties, making them potentially helpful in managing anxiety related to eating disorders.
  3. Mood improvement: Medical marijuana may also help improve mood, as it has been found to affect serotonin levels in the brain. This can be particularly useful for individuals with Anorexia who often experience depression or emotional distress.

Cannabinoids and Terpenes for Anorexia

While more research is needed to determine the exact role of cannabinoids and terpenes in treating Anorexia, some of the most promising ones include:

  • THC: The psychoactive compound in cannabis, THC is known for its appetite-stimulating effects. It binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain, leading to an increased appetite and potentially assisting those with Anorexia in regaining weight.
  • CBD: While non-psychoactive, CBD has been shown to have anti-anxiety and mood-enhancing effects. It can help reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms often associated with Anorexia.
  • Myrcene: A terpene found in cannabis, myrcene has been found to have sedative and muscle-relaxant properties. It may help reduce the anxiety and physical discomfort experienced by individuals with Anorexia.
  • Limonene: Another terpene present in cannabis, limonene has been shown to have mood-elevating and anti-anxiety effects. It can potentially alleviate some of the emotional symptoms of Anorexia.

It’s important to note that the use of medical marijuana for Anorexia should be considered under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional, as it may not be suitable for everyone and could interact with other medications or treatments.

Which cannabinoids and terpenes are most effective?

The effectiveness of cannabinoids and terpenes in treating various conditions, including Anorexia, can vary depending on the individual and the specific symptoms they experience. However, some of the most promising cannabinoids and terpenes for Anorexia treatment include:

  1. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol): THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis known for its appetite-stimulating effects. By binding to the CB1 receptors in the brain, it can increase appetite and potentially help individuals with Anorexia regain weight.
  2. CBD (Cannabidiol): CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with anti-anxiety and mood-enhancing properties. It can help reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms often associated with Anorexia.
  3. Myrcene: Myrcene is a terpene found in cannabis with sedative and muscle-relaxant properties. It may help alleviate anxiety and physical discomfort experienced by individuals with Anorexia.
  4. Limonene: Limonene is another terpene present in cannabis, known for its mood-elevating and anti-anxiety effects. It can potentially help address some of the emotional symptoms of Anorexia.

It is important to remember that the effectiveness of these cannabinoids and terpenes can vary from person to person, and treatment should always be tailored to the individual’s needs. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using medical marijuana or specific cannabinoids and terpenes to treat Anorexia.

Dosage and Consumption Methods

Recommended dosage:

Figuring out the right dose of medical marijuana can be hard because people’s reactions to cannabinoids and terpenes can be very different. Factors such as the specific condition being treated, the patient’s weight, metabolism, and prior experience with cannabis all play a role in determining the right dosage.
Most of the time, it is best to start with a low dose and slowly increase it until you get the effects you want while minimising any possible side effects. For patients who are new to medical marijuana, starting with 2.5–5 mg of THC or CBD and slowly titrating upwards is often advised.

However, consulting a healthcare professional experienced in medical marijuana is essential to developing a personalised dosing plan tailored to the patient’s needs.

Consumption methods:

There are several methods of consuming medical marijuana, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Some common consumption methods include:

  1. Inhalation (smoking or vaping): Inhalation provides rapid onset of effects, usually within minutes, making it suitable for patients requiring immediate relief. However, smoking may pose respiratory risks, while vaping has been associated with lung injuries in some cases.
  2. Oral ingestion (edibles, capsules, tinctures): Ingesting medical marijuana provides longer-lasting effects compared to inhalation but has a slower onset, typically taking 30 minutes to 2 hours for effects to be felt. This method is suitable for patients requiring sustained relief but may require careful dosing to avoid overconsumption.
  3. Topical application (creams, balms, patches): Topicals can provide localised relief for conditions such as arthritis or skin disorders without producing psychoactive effects. The onset of action and duration of effects can vary depending on the product formulation and individual absorption rates.
  4. Sublingual administration (tinctures, dissolvable strips): Sublingual products are absorbed through the mucous membranes under the tongue, providing rapid onset of effects without the need for inhalation or ingestion. This method offers discreet consumption and precise dosing.

Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card

Why get a medical marijuana card?

Getting a medical marijuana card is helpful for patients who are looking for other ways to treat their conditions.

  1. Legal protection: A medical marijuana card allows patients to possess, use, and in some cases, cultivate cannabis for medical purposes, within their state’s legal limits.
  2. Access to quality products: Medical marijuana dispensaries offer a wide range of tested and regulated cannabis products, ensuring patients receive safe and effective medication.
  3. Tax savings: In some states, medical marijuana patients are exempt from certain taxes applied to recreational cannabis sales.
  4. Professional guidance: Medical marijuana cardholders have access to healthcare professionals who can provide personalised recommendations, dosing advice, and ongoing support.

How to apply:

The process of obtaining a medical marijuana card varies by state but generally involves the following steps:

  1. Consult with medical marijuana consultants to determine if medical marijuana is appropriate for your condition and obtain a written recommendation.
  2. Complete an application with the required documentation, including proof of residency, identification, and the healthcare professional’s recommendation.
  3. Submit the application to the appropriate state agency, along with any required fees.
  4. Await approval and issuance of the medical marijuana card.

Risks and Side Effects

Potential risks:

While medical marijuana can offer relief and improve the quality of life for many patients, it also carries certain risks and side effects. Some potential risks associated with medical marijuana use include:

  1. Dependency and addiction: Although the risk of addiction is considered lower than that of opioids or alcohol, some individuals may develop a dependency on cannabis.
  2. Impaired cognitive function: THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, can impair memory, attention, and reaction times, particularly with prolonged or heavy use.
  3. Respiratory issues: Smoking cannabis can cause respiratory problems, including bronchitis and lung irritation. Vaping has also been linked to lung injuries in some cases.
  4. Mental health concerns: High doses of THC or predisposition to mental health disorders can lead to increased anxiety, paranoia, or exacerbate existing mental health conditions.
  5. Drug interactions: Medical marijuana may interact with other medications, either enhancing or diminishing their effects. It is essential to discuss potential drug interactions with a healthcare professional before starting medical marijuana therapy.


Medical marijuana might not be right for every patient, especially those who already have certain health problems or risk factors. Contraindications to medical marijuana use may include:

  1. Personal or family history of substance abuse or addiction
  2. Severe liver or kidney disease
  3. Severe cardiovascular disease
  4. Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  5. History of psychosis or other severe mental health disorders
  6. Allergies or hypersensitivity to cannabis or its components

Legal Status

Where is it legal?

In the United States, the laws about medical marijuana are always changing. Currently, over 30 states and the District of Columbia allow its use under certain conditions. Each state has its own rules and a list of medical conditions that are allowed to use medical marijuana.

Even though some states have made medical marijuana legal, it is still illegal at the federal level because it is a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

This difference between state and federal laws can make it harder for medical marijuana patients to get jobs, find housing, or travel across state lines, among other things. Patients should research their state’s guidelines and remain aware of potential legal risks.


Medical marijuana could help relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life for many people with long-term or debilitating illnesses.

When thinking about this treatment option, it’s important to know the right dose, how to use it, how to get a medical marijuana card, possible risks, side effects, and legal status.

Work closely with a doctor or nurse who knows a lot about medical marijuana to find out if it is a good and safe choice for your needs.

As the legal landscape surrounding medical marijuana continues to evolve, staying informed about changing regulations and guidelines is essential to ensuring responsible and compliant use.

As the field of medical marijuana continues to evolve, it’s crucial for patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers to stay informed about the latest research and developments. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the current landscape, but it’s always important to consult with healthcare providers for personalized advice.

Note: This article’s content is provided for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional legal or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or queries regarding laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult a lawyer, physician, or other licensed practitioner.