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Medical Marijuana and Chemotherapy Induced Anorexia

What Is Chemotherapy Induced Anorexia?

Chemotherapy-induced anorexia, often refered to as cachexia, is among one of the most debilitating and life-threatening aspects of cancer. This specific condition is responsible for fat and muscle tissue wasting as well as psychological distress occuring. Overall, this condition creates a lower quality of life and arises from a complex interaction between the cancer and the host. Chemotherapy-induced anorexia should be suspected in patients with cancer if an involuntary weight loss of greater than five percent of premorbid weight
occurs within a six-month period.

Loss of appetite, cancer-induced anorexia and cachexia are frequent symptoms in palliative care patients. However, therapeutic regimens often prove ineffective and the quality of life of many patients is significantly impaired by these symptoms. Causes and pathophysiology of anorexia and cachexia are complex and must be identified and treated.

Medical Marijuana and Chemotherapy Induced Anorexia

Chemotherapy-induced anorexia and cachexia are diagnosed in more than two-thirds of all cancer patients with advanced disease, and are independent risk factors for morbidity and mortality. Anorexia, nausea and vomiting often are described as more significant inhibiting factors for quality of life of cancer patients than even intense pain.Clinical studies involving THC have shown significant stimulation of appetite and increase of body weight in HIV-positive and cancer patients. The appetite-stimulating effect of cannabis itself has also been well documented in many anecdotal cases. There are strong indications that cannabis is better tolerated than THC alone, because cannabis contains several additional cannabinoids, like cannabidiol (CBD), which antagonize the psychotropic actions of THC, but do not inhibit the appetite-stimulating effect.

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