In cancer, HIV, anorexia or obesity
The appetizing effect of the cannabinoid THC is well known, especially for those who use cannabis recreationally. In a study of Sofia and Knobloch other cannabinoids seem to have just the opposite effect on appetite . This study examined the effect of CBD and CBN on food and sugar consumption. What was found was that animals that received a dose of CBD or CBN consumed less food. This effect was observed up to 5 days following administration of CBD and CBN. It must be noted though, that the sugar intake decreased to a much lesser extent, which suggests that the test animals had developed a preference for sweet foods.
On the other hand, there are also subsequent studies that suggest that CBD and CBN stimulate appetite [2,3] or that they have little influence on appetite. What should be noted though, is that these studies often used much lower dosages of CBD and CBN. All in all, the scientific research provides a mixed picture and we must conclude that cannabinoids can surely affect appetite, we just do not yet know exactly how this works.
We know for some time that THC can increase appetite. This makes THC a good candidate to induce appetite in diseases in which this is a problem. Cancer and HIV are probably the most obvious ailments, but THC may be used for anorexia as well. The biggest problem with THC is probably the psychoactive effect (getting high or stoned). People who want to use THC as medicine are generally not looking for this effect (as opposed to recreational users) and often find it unpleasant. Combined use with CBD could offer a solution. It is known fact that CBD counteracts some of the unwanted psychoactive effects of THC. By combining THC with CBD, higher doses of THC may be tolerated better.
Advice for the use of cannabinoids in problems with appetite
Cannabinoids can stimulate appetite as well as inhibit it. THC is known for stimulating appetite. The effects of CBD and CBN seem to be more complex and are likely to be dose-dependent. To use cannabinoids against obesity, experiment with the dose and evaluate the effects of different doses on you personally. If you wish to arouse appetite, THC may be an option. If you want to counteract the psychoactive effects of THC at the same time, you can use CBD (and possibly CBN) in combination with THC. You’ll probably have to experiment to find the right dose in this case as well. If you are already in treatment for any of the ailments discussed in this article, consult your doctor or specialist first. Click here to read more about safe use of cannabinoids.
- Sofia, R.D., Vassar, H.B., and Knobloch, L.C. (1976). Comparative effects of various naturally occurring cannabinoids on food, sucrose and water consumption by rats. Pharmacology Biochemistry & Behavior. 4: 591-599.
- Farrimond, J.A., Whalley, B.J., and Williams, C.M. (2012b). Non-∆⁹ tetrahydrocannabinol phytocannabinoids stimulate feeding in rats. Behavioral Pharmacology, 23: 113-117
- Scophino, A.A. , Guimarães, F.S., Corrêa, F.M., and Resstel, L.B. (2011). Cannabidiol inhibits the hyperphagia induced by cannabinoid-1 or serotonin-1 A receptor agnonists. Pharmacology Biochemistry & Behavior, 98: 268-272.