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Can Cannabis Help Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are somewhat of a nature versus nurture debate. Were we born with a genetic predisposition or were habits taught to us?
cannabis and eating disorders

As it comes down to most nature vs. nurture debates, the answer is usually both and both men and women of all ages are affected. If you’re looking for some natural support, cannabis may be the option for you.

Marijuana has been studied heavily for eating disorders on many occasions. There are stigmas as to why cannabis can be negative to those with eating disorders but today, we will break down the positives.

With eating disorders, often follow are underlying mental health issues. Depression and anxiety are in large correlation; however, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are also often connected to a variety of eating disorders.

Control is one of the main contributing topics of eating disorders. Whether it is too much or a lack there of, those with eating disorders are in some way trying to control what goes into their bodies while intrusive thoughts posing their threat. In one way or another control is lost and not only ones with the disorder are affected, but those around them.

We’re not going to sum it up to weed gives you the munchies and that will solve your problems. Eating disorders are much more complex and have more classifications than just anorexia that weed can benefit. There are quite a few eating disorders that some may not know about.

  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia
  • Binge eating
  • Pica (non-food substances)
  • Rumination (regurgitation)
  • Avoidant food intake disorder

While we are not declaring we know all about these disorders or we have all of the answers to recovery, or seducing the idea of one addiction for another. We will however, provide some perspective as to how marijuana and different cannabis concentrates might aid symptoms that come with these disorders.

can cannabis help eating disorders

Once an eating disorder is developed, it is difficult to reverse the outcomes and habits can remain life long, sometimes resulting in death. It is vital for everyone to observe suspicious behaviours to prevent such outcomes. While some may be obvious, pay attention for behaviours such as;

  • Rapid weight changes
  • Over exercising
  • Over/under eating
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Dieting pills
  • Evidence of extreme distorted body image (becoming very upset with appearance)
  • Distress signals such as shame or guilt leading to anger
  • Mood swings
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Eating non-food items
  • Tired and weak
  • Changes in energy levels and crashes
  • Spitting or throwing up food on purpose

This list is quite long and behaviours are often hidden so there are likely to be many more. Cannabis strains can in some ways hinder these behaviours by calming, and distracting the mind while also allowing other sensory effects take over. Luckily for those interested, there are many uses and intakes for different needs.

Mental Health Disorders

If we revisit the idea that there are mental health disorders under the surface, we already know marijuana can help anxiety and depression and can also be helpful to OCD and PTSD symptoms. If deciding to smoke dried flower, sativa dominant strains have been proven to provide consumers with upbeat social skills and produce energy. Indica-dominant strains allows us to relax, get sleep, and reduce pain.

It is unlikely that those with eating disorders will and/or should consume edibles however there are oils, tinctures, and beverages offered as well. CBD products are a calm option for those who do not want to get high but reduce anxiety symptoms. Cannabis will not cure, but can allow for these mental illness symptoms to subside for the time being.


Marijuana, as we know can signal hunger cues and our senses can be more alert. Our endocannabinoid system is responsible for making or breaking sensory experiences which is where cannabis is released into our systems.

It is important for everyone to take a deeper look as to why they feel hungry or not despite marijuana being involved and this does not apply to those just with eating disorders.

What part of the body is telling you, you’re hungry? Is it the brain? The stomach? The mouth? If you’re just wanting to taste something, your body probably isn’t actually hungry, but if your brain is telling you and your stomach feels empty, you most likely need sustenance.

What else is happening to your body? Are you tired and/or weak? Do you have the shakes? When was the last time you ate? What terpenes does cannabis have? These reflective practices may be helpful before using marijuana products, and will definitely be helpful when consuming. Practicing before intake, will help later when the mind is more tranquil and for those feeling a need for control, this can be a great reflective tool among a variety of eating disorders and mental health disorders.


Speak to your doctor before making any decisions to treat an eating disorder with cannabis. Medications already being taken can be affected or your doctor may want you to use medical marijuana instead of recreational. Be open and honest with your doctor! They are not there to judge you. Remember recreational marijuana is now legal in Canada, it is more accepted among many professions including medical professionals.

If you are looking for help with an eating disorder for yourself or someone you know; consider calling NEDIC (National Eating Disorder Information Centre) Toll-Free: 1-866-NEDIC-20 or Toronto: 416-340-4156 or going on to chat, call or video call online.

Some have also thought to plant therapy when trying to manage symptoms of OCD and PTSD. While this hasn’t been linked to cannabis plants and eating disorders directly, it is a positive outlook to consider. Growing plants of any sort requires skills of focus and attentiveness which those with these disorders procure.

Cannabis is not the all over cure for eating disorders, however it can pose as a distraction and subside unfriendly symptoms that can work against us. You are in control and there is always support around you. If you’re new to cannabis go here for a tutorial on rolling joints.

References and additional reading

  1. “Medical marijuana for eating disorders: a review of the literature” by S.G. Lisman and E.M. Jansen. This article provides an overview of the current state of research on the use of cannabis for eating disorders.
  2. “The effects of cannabis on weight and metabolism” by J. McPartland and R. Duncan. This review article discusses the effects of cannabis on appetite, metabolism, and body weight, as well as its potential implications for individuals with eating disorders.
  3. “The use of cannabis in the treatment of eating disorders: a systematic review” by J.N. Johnson, M.E. Wilcox, and M.A. Ard. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the research on the use of cannabis for treating eating disorders, including a review of studies that have been conducted to date.
  4. “The impact of cannabis use on weight and metabolic parameters” by M.E. Karschner and others. This study investigated the effects of cannabis use on weight, body mass index, and other metabolic parameters in a large sample of individuals.

It is important to note that the research in this field is limited and more studies are needed to fully understand the effects of cannabis on eating disorders. Additionally, it is always recommended to consult a healthcare professional before using cannabis as a treatment for any medical condition.

Written by
A cannabis enthusiast, writer, and dab diva who is dedicated to helping you understand the constantly evolving world of recreational cannabis.

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