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Cachexia: How Cannabinoids Can Help

While it is a well-known fact that cannabis can be prescribed for both cancer and AIDS patients, the true reason for it is less known. This is because the cannabis does not normally aid in fighting the disease itself, but rather the cachexia, a severe wasting disease, that normally follows either disease. Cachexia appears in over 60% of all cancer patients after the disease moves to the advanced stages. Cachexia is also considered a completely separate risk factor when determining mortality and morbidity of the parent disease, and is often described as one of the most damaging effects to a patient’s health than even severe pain.

Licensed as an anti-nausea drug in 1986, THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, was first prescribed for use by chemotherapy patients, but was later discovered to also be an appetite stimulant in those with both cancer and AIDS, which can be incredibly useful as relief from both of these appetite-destroying diseases.

While THC is certainly considered effective, recent research has revealed that utilizing the whole plant may be even more effective because of the presence of other cannabinoids. These cannabinoids, which include cannabidiol (CBD)-a chemical that reduces the psychotropic effects of THC without stimulating appetite-are one of the biggest research targets in discovering which works better for cancer and AIDS patients. Now, unfortunately patients cannot normally get a prescription for medical cannabis just for cachexia, but can receive one for other symptoms of cancer and AIDS, at which point the cachexia relief becomes a bonus for them in addition to their standard symptom relief.