CBD has been touted as a potential herbal remedy against several ailments. Of late, medical investigations have revealed close ties between CBD and cachexia. Although studies are still ongoing, the substance has been touted as promising in the treatment or management of cachexia, commonly identified as the wasting syndrome. However, one first should know what the condition is before delving into the details of how CBD and cachexia are related. This will shed more light in the correct usage and expected results without having to rely on promotional claims by the makers of this product. Let’s take a closer look;
What is Cachexia?
Cachexia comes from two Greek words “Kakos” and “hexis” which can be loosely translated to “bad condition”. It is a medical condition that is characterized by extreme loss of weight and muscle wasting. It can also include the loss of body fat. The condition is usually a symptom of chronic diseases such as HIV, cancer, renal failure, congestive heart failure, and multiple sclerosis. The difference between cachexia and other types of weight loss is that it is not voluntary. It occurs even when one is on a normal diet. Medical researchers believe that cachexia is part of the body’s mechanism to fight against the disease. In an attempt to fuel the brain when nutritional levels are low, the body undertakes the breakdown of fat and muscle. The condition makes one look frail and weak, as the body becomes susceptible to infections. Simply getting more nutrition is not an adequate remedy against cachexia.
Categories of Cachexia
There are three major categories of cachexia. These are described below.
It is defined as the loss of up to five percent of one’s bodyweight without having a specific known illness or disease. Precachexia is usually accompanied by inflammation, changes in metabolism, and loss of appetite.
This refers to a loss above five percent of one’s body weight in 12 months or less. It happens in the absence of any known disease or illness, and without engaging in a voluntary weight loss routine. It also includes reduced appetite, fatigue, loss of muscle strength, and inflammation.
This one is common amongst individuals with cancer. It is characterized by muscle loss, weight loss, loss of function, in addition to the inability to respond to cancer treatment.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is one of the numerous active chemical compounds found in the hemp plant. There are three major types of CBD. These are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate CBD. Cannabidiol is non-psychoactive. This is in sharp contrast to its counterpart delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is known for its ability to alter the cognitive functions of the brain.
According to medical research, CBD is an effective herbal remedy against a myriad of health conditions. These include anxiety, depression, pain, inflammation, epilepsy, and so on. The secret to CBD’s effectiveness in dealing with these ailments lies in its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, also known as the ECS. It is because these conditions are usually caused by the lack of adequate endocannabinoids in the system. The introduction of CBD, a phytocannabinoid, restores this much-needed balance, therefore enabling the body to return to its former state of wellness. As a result of its touted medicinal and therapeutic properties, CBD is now However, despite its numerous health and wellness benefits, it is vital to highlight that the regulatory environment around the substance is still evolving. Therefore, users should familiarise themselves with the laws in effect in their local areas concerning the substance, to avoid falling out of line with the authorities.
Types of CBD
As highlighted before, there are three main types of cannabidiol. These are namely full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate CBD. The main difference in these lies in their cannabinoid profiles. These are described below:
It is one of the most prominent types of CBD. Full-spectrum CBD contains more than just cannabidiol. It also features terpenes and other cannabinoids such as CBA, CBG, CBDA, and THC that are highly beneficial. The major benefit of full-spectrum CBD is the fact that the myriad of cannabinoids works together to produce better health results through what is known as the ensemble effect.
It is quite similar to full-spectrum cannabidiol. It also features terpenes and other cannabinoids, except for the psychoactive delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The compound would have been chemically eliminated from CBD. It has the effect of significantly weakening the overall effect of the cannabinoids. As a result, users will have to take in higher doses for beneficial levels of effect.
This one is different from both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD. It refers to CBD in its purest form. It is free from terpenes and other cannabinoids. Isolate CBD is very potent and only needs a small dosage for it to be effective. It is the ideal type of CBD for individuals who intend to benefit from the unadulterated properties of the cannabinoid.
Cachexia and Cancer
Cachexia is also closely associated with cancer. According to research, up to 80 percent of late-stage cancer also suffer from cachexia. Tumor cells release substances that decrease appetite. Cancer treatments can also result in severe nausea or damage to the digestive tract, making it difficult to eat and absorb nutrients sufficiently. As the body suffers from fewer nutrients, it burns up fat and muscle for its energy requirements.
Symptoms and Causes
Like any other condition, it is vital to know the symptoms. Such a move will help one seek medical attention on time. Cachexia is usually difficult to recognize. As a result, physicians use several criteria for diagnosis. Normally, they do so by considering these factors:
- Non-deliberate loss of more than five percent of body weight in a period of between 6 to 12 months.
- Less than ten percent of body fat
- A body mass index (BMI) of less than 20 for an individual under the age of 65 years old, or 22 for an individual over 65 years.
There are also other several symptoms associated with cachexia. These are described below.
- Involuntary Weight Loss
Cachexia is associated with a drastic loss of weight. It will be despite one obtaining sufficient nutrition or a high number of calories.
- Muscle Wasting
Muscle wasting is also another prominent symptom of cachexia. However, it is vital to highlight that regardless of the significant loss of muscle, not everyone with the condition will appear malnourished. A previously obese person suffering from cachexia might appear to be of average size despite having lost a significant amount of weight.
- Decreased Functional Ability
A person suffering from cachexia may also experience reduced functional abilities. It is characterized by fatigue, low energy levels, and malaise. As a result, one finds himself/herself unable to perform the tasks they would have normally wanted and enjoyed doing. Activities such as brushing teeth and dressing up become insurmountable.
- Loss of Appetite, or Anorexia
Cachexia also causes a sudden loss of interest in food. Not only does it become less appealing, but they also lose the desire to eat entirely.
- Edema or Swelling
Cachexia is also associated with significant swelling. It is because when there is a low protein level in the blood, fluid moves into the tissues, especially into the legs of individuals who are capable of standing or sitting.
Of course, people would like to know what causes cachexia. The disease has several causes. These are listed below.
- Chronic kidney disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Congestive heart failure
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD)
What Are The Treatments for Cachexia?
There has been no single effective remedy or treatment plan against cachexia. Since several factors contribute to its cause, a multi-therapy approach is necessary. Simply increasing one’s calorie intake or improving diet will not give results. Several steps may be useful. These include the following.
Social Based Eating
Individuals suffering from cachexia will benefit from the social aspects of eating rather than doing in isolation. People find pleasure in sitting together with family and friends to eat even when they are not in the mood to do so. Emphasizing the social importance of eating rather than the quantity of food may help a person re-establish his\her psychological and emotional relationship with food.
When one is suffering from cachexia, emotional support is vital. Family and friends should understand that as the condition progresses through the stages, a person might gradually lose interest in food. When that occurs they should not force the person to eat but should convince them to do so nicely with full knowledge that it’s not their fault. Also spending quality time with the person will give him/her the much-needed assurance and give them a positive outlook on life.
Have Small Frequent Meals
Individuals with cachexia are more probably tolerate having high-calorie meals in small portions throughout the day rather than three heavy meals. Also, it is recommended that they have nutritional supplement beverages to enhance calorie intake in between small meals.
Incorporating light exercises into one’s daily routine might help build up muscle mass for people suffering from cachexia. However, this should only be done if the person can tolerate them. It is because, in the later stages, the condition can become severe such that patients can no longer be able to perform simple tasks.
Appetite stimulants should also be incorporated into one’s treatment therapy for cachexia. There are medications such as dronabinol, glucocorticoids, and megestrol that will help improve one’s appetite. While eating better will not eliminate the progression of symptoms or muscle wasting, it will encourage the person to participate in family and social meals and help one feel a little less isolated. Such is vital for mental health.
Is CBD a Potential Treatment?
Of course, the symptoms of cachexia are quite severe. However, the good news is there is hope for relief. According to research conducted at Columbia University in 2017, medical cannabis significantly improved the appetite of patients suffering from cachexia due to AIDS. According to the investigation, the most effective form of cannabis for cachexia treatment is the THC dominant strains. Therefore, it suggests that THC itself is what helps alleviate appetite-related symptoms of the wasting syndrome. Several different forms of cannabis can help cachexia suffering patients by promoting relaxation, eliminating pain, and improving their general wellbeing. This is vital in the improvement of quality of life for individuals suffering from different types of diseases that lead to wasting.
Evidence on the anti-cachexia properties of cannabis is still accumulating. However, oral and sublingual dosing appears to be the most promising. The good news is there are several varieties of ingestible cannabis products that can be of help. These include sprays, lozenges, sprays, and hard candies.
As highlighted, research concerning the like between cachexia and CBD is still ongoing. Therefore, it is recommended that you consult a certified medical practitioner before trying it out.
Cachexia is a medical condition that can have devastating health implications and can significantly reduce one’s quality of life. It is characterized by unintentional loss of weight and muscle wasting. It also involves loss of appetite and swelling. It is usually a result of chronic medical conditions such as cancer, AIDS, kidney disease, and so on. Fortunately, several therapies can be incorporated to help treat or manage the condition. These include light exercise, adjusting one’s eating patterns, using appetite stimulants, and so on. Also, it is paramount to highlight that CBD has been touted as a possible remedy for cachexia. Of particular promise are the THC dominant strains. Cachexia and CBD are closely linked, and the latter can improve the general quality of life in patients suffering from the former. However, users should note that research about using the substance as a possible treatment for cachexia is still ongoing. Therefore, one should consult a certified physician for sound medical advice before including it in the cachexia treatment regimen.