How Medical Cannabis Can Help Treat Eating Disorders

January 7, 2021

How Medical Cannabis Can Help Treat Eating Disorders

There are many types of eating disorders, the most common ones include anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Both can be treated with medical cannabis.

28.8 million people worldwide have struggled with an eating disorder at some point in their lives. There have been various methods used to treat eating disorders beginning with therapy and medication.

As researchers continue to search for ways to combat this issue, many people turn to more natural ways to help when it comes time to treat bulimia or anorexia. Many are looking into medical cannabis as another way to treat eating disorders.

But, how exactly will medical cannabis work when it comes to treating anorexia you might be asking? Below we've crafted a comprehensive guide that features everything you need to know about how cannabis can be used for eating disorders.

Different Types of Eating Disorders

Before discussing how cannabis might work as a means of treatment for eating disorders, we must first understand the types of eating disorders that people currently suffer from. An eating disorder is classified as an illness where someone has a toxic relationship with food consumption or the lack thereof.

This relationship with food not only affects a person physically, but it also wreaks havoc on them mentally and emotionally. These eating disorders can cause various issues for the person that can take many years to recover from.

Anorexia Nervosa

When someone suffers from anorexia nervosa, their biggest fear is gaining weight. People that suffer from this type of eating disorder commonly also suffer from body dysmorphic disorder, which is when you have a distorted view of how you appear to yourself and others around you.

People suffering from anorexia tend to go to the extreme to maintain a low body weight. They might begin taking laxatives as a way to shed excess pounds and water weight. Or they may start to aggressively exercise to the point that things could become life-threatening.

If you suspect that someone in your life is suffering from anorexia nervosa, there are some signs that you can be on the lookout for. These signs could confirm your suspicions. If they begin to isolate themselves from friends or stop participating in activities, this is a sign of an eating disorder.

If they drop weight drastically or begin to find reasons to visit the restroom after every meal, this is also a sign. It's crucial to keep a lookout for these signs. The last thing you want to happen is finding your loved one in a state of unconsciousness or even worse because of this disorder.


Bulimia is categorized as the binge and purge disorder. It's still a disorder in which those suffering from it seek to restrict the amount of food that they eat, but they go about it in a different way than those that are suffering from anorexia. People with bulimia might frequently eat large meals of food known as binging. Once they've eaten, they will begin to feel guilt and shame for the food that they've consumed, and this will lead them to purge the food.

Purging means they force themselves to vomit or will begin to exercise for hours on end immediately after finishing the meal. All this leads them to find more ways to restrict the number of calories they're consuming when they sit down to have a meal.


Have you ever known someone that enjoys eating something that is not categorized as food? Some people suffer from a disorder known as Pica. This is when a person craves things like soap, hair, chalk, or anything else that you wouldn't cook for dinner.

The issue with this disorder is that over time the substance can build up in the intestinal tract. Causing a blockage that could lead to an intestinal rupture and need immediate surgery to save someone's life.


Binge eating might sound the same as bulimia, but it is different. With a binge disorder, the person in question has issues controlling the amount of food that they intake. This means that whenever they sit down to have a meal, they are continually overeating and overindulging in food.

Contrary to the other two disorders that we've mentioned someone with a binge disorder won't turn to vomiting or laxatives. Instead, they may withdraw themselves from social activities. Doing their best not to eat around others because they feel shame for not being able to control the amount of food that they're consuming.

Now that we've taken a more in-depth look into the types of eating disorders, we can discuss the methods of treatment used to combat them.

Treatment Options for Eating Disorders

Typically the treatments that we're going to mention will be used combined with other treatment methods. For example, someone may be prescribed certain medications.

Also, they may undergo intensive therapy to continue helping them fight against the thoughts that they face. Below are some of the most common treatment used and side effects that may accompany each depending on the person that has been prescribed them.


There are several types of medications used to combat eating disorders, and many of them have been regulated by the FDA. This is likely because these medications are used for other disorders like anxiety or depression problems.

Common medications prescribed to those suffering from eating disorders are either antipsychotics or antidepressant medications. Side effects that a person might experience from these include increased drowsiness.

Someone may also become constipated, which is a common side effect when people are using any types of medication.

Constant Monitoring

If someone's eating disorder is severe, they may enter into a facility where they are monitored and cared for around the clock. When someone is in a care facility, they will have people that help them sort out the thoughts that are causing them to restrict the calories they are eating.

They will also place them on an eating plan that requires them to consume a specific amount of calories each day. After someone eats their meals, they may find that they're not allowed to leave the table for a particular amount of time. Or someone might sit with them to ensure that they don't attempt to purge what they've eaten.


Another key aspect of treating eating disorders is therapy. Someone suffering from an eating disorder might be required to participate in both individual and group therapy sessions. During group therapy sessions, they will share their experiences with others.

It helps to reassure them that their not the only one going through fighting against the thoughts that they're having. During the individual's therapy sessions, they will go through nutritional counselling. And they will also take a more aggressive approach to getting to the bottom of what has caused their eating disorders.

With all of that being said, a newer treatment that is being looked into is medical cannabis. Currently, medical cannabis can be used for things like epilepsy, appetite loss, glaucoma, Crohn's disease, and now eating disorders.

Here are the ways that cannabis is used for eating disorders.

Stimulates Your Appetite

When people consume cannabis, one of the most common side effects on the user is increased hunger or what is known as the munchies. There's an area of the brain known as the insula. The insula is responsible for all the sensory responses that correlate with eating and hunger.

This area of the brain controls how flavours taste and how they feel texturally on someone's palette. Cannabis might increase these responses and force someone with an eating disorder to want to eat more. This is because it enhances scents, which enhances the appeal for someone that isn't eating.

Reduces Anxiety

Cannabis may also help to calm people and make it easier to approach specific situations. When someone knows that their about to eat they will begin to feel the same feelings of anxiety that they typically feel.

By consuming medical cannabis, it may help to reduce or eliminate the increased anxiety that surrounds sitting down for a meal. This can help make the task of eating less daunting than it usually is.

Medical Cannabis: Munching Away at Eating Disorders

Medical cannabis is going to begin getting used as a treatment for eating disorders and rightfully so. They can help to increase the bodies response to hunger. And medical cannabis may also ensure that those suffering are calmer before they sit down to eat a meal.

If you're searching for a place to get your medical cannabis card contact Namaste MD. All you've got to do is fill out the contact card, and they will do the rest.