In the course of treatment for several extremely severe conditions, including HIV and cancer, many individuals experience a form of severe weight loss, depression, weakness, fatigue, and impaired appetite that manifests itself along with other symptoms of the root disease.
Such individuals can often live with many of the other symptoms related to the root condition, but it is these additional symptoms centering around appetite and weight loss that often lead to an inescapable impairment of quality of life.
This combination of symptomology, when it comes in association with the experience of, and treatment for, severe conditions such as HIV and cancer is known as cachexia, or wasting syndrome.
As noted above, in many cases, treatments for other symptoms for a condition like cancer can often be found. But at this point, nothing produced by the traditional medical or pharmaceutical establishment has come along that does a terrific job of dealing with cachexia. In fact, many treatments such as chemotherapy actually exacerbate the cachexia and worsen oneâ€™s experience of quality of life.
Hence, at this point, there is no official treatment for cachexia. The most common way of treating cachexia is a therapeutic plan for weight gain and nutrition supplements, along with a prescription for activities meant to raise energy levels.
In the real world, none of this really seems to work very well, which is why many doctors handle it in different ways: no one has really landed on a good solution that everybody agrees on and moves forward with.
Given this lack of an established consensus treatment, what are doctors and patients supposed to do?
CBD and Cachexia
As noted above, the constellation of symptoms associated with cachexia focus on a variety of issues including depression, weakness, and fatigue. However, the central issue is really about loss of appetite and loss of weight. This is why it is also sometimes known as wasting syndrome.
If you think in terms of basic economics, any simple system is really composed of supply and demand. Where this fits into this conversation is in terms of metabolism. Weight loss is either the product of not eating enough or of expending too much energy. This is why, with thousands of different catchy diet plans out there, individuals who want to lose weight really just need to focus on a ratio involving how many calories they consume and how many calories they use.
However, in cases of cachexia, the issue is either about not eating enough or about too much energy expenditure. In other words, it is either about anorexia or hyperactivity.
In cases of cachexia-anorexia, as it is known, patients deal with a lack of appetite when faced with a meal, the loss of interest or enjoyment in food, or even the loss of the ability to taste.
For anyone whoâ€™s ever consumed marijuana, you can imagine what a natural fit it is for such a situation.
At the other end of the spectrum, the excess energy expenditure is often associated with inflammation of the citokines. This places extra demands on metabolism. It is as if the body is constantly working underneath the surface to maintain itself, placing significant draws on resources to produce energy.
Moving Toward a Treatment Plan
In both cases, there is significant anecdotal evidence to suggest that cannabis-related substances can have a significant impact on the course of treatment and therapy for both forms of cachexia.
Various forms of administration of CBD have been shown in many cases to have a dramatic impact on all of these symptoms. And it just now takes more formalized research to push this treatment course further into the spotlight to sufficiently impact the habits and traditions of the medical community.
As research in this field progresses, it is very likely that it will become standard for physicians to prescribe CBD and cannabis-related treatments for cachexia.