Cachexia also known as wasting syndrome with symptoms of significant loss of appetite, loss of weight, weakness, fatigue, and muscle atrophy in a patient that is not attempting to lose weight. This type of reduction in body mass will not be reversed nutritionally. Cachexia is primarily seen with patients who are suffering from cancer, AIDS, COPD, multiple sclerosis, tubercolosis, and familial amyloid neuropathy.
Patients suffering from cachexia can experience the chance of death. Cachexia physically weakens patients to no mobility from the loss of appetite, anemia and response to regular treatment is very poor. Cachexia tends to happen more in end-stage cancer which is also known as cancer cachexia. It is also associated with advanced stage of multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, HIV/AIDS and other illnesses.
Medical marijuana or cannabis has been allowed for the treatment of cachexia in a number of U.S. states, such as Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Rhode Island, Washington, and Vermont.
Of cancer patients 50% suffer from cachexia with those that have upper gastrointestinal and pancreatic cancers having the highest frequency of the development of a cachexic symptom. It rises to over 90% in terminal cancer patients. On top of increased morbidity and mortality, the aggressive side effects of chemotherapy, reduced quality of life, cachexia is considered to be the cause of death to a large number of cancer patients, from 25% – 50%.
Cancer cachexia symptoms include progressive weight loss and host reserves of adipose tissue and skeletal muscles. Traditional treatment options are appetite stimulants such as cannabinoids for cachexia have been used to increase weight on cachexic patients.
In clinical studies THC effects on cachexia has been seen to produce significant stimulation of appetite and increased body weight in HIV positive and cancer patients. Cannabinoids as a whole is better tolerated than THC by itself as it is combined with cannabidiol (CBD), which antagonize the psychotropic effects of THC, and do not inhibit the appetite-stimulating effect.
Cannabinoids also show a antiemetic effect in chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting. With cannabinoids offering improvements over modern antiemetic medication. It is noted that can-na-bis has been a appetite stimulant since as far back as 300 A.D. During the 19th century, doctors mentioned the increase of appetite after using kan-na-bis.This particular cause decreased the amount of pharmaceuticals prescribed for chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting.