Eating disorders are a serious mental health condition that affect millions of people worldwide. The most common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. These conditions are characterised by abnormal eating habits and a distorted body image, and they can have serious physical and mental health consequences. While conventional treatments for eating disorders include therapy and medication, some people are looking for alternative treatments like CBD.
What are Eating Disorders?
Eating disorders are a group of conditions characterised by abnormal eating habits and a distorted body image. The most common eating disorders include:
- Anorexia nervosa: characterised by an intense fear of gaining weight, self-imposed starvation, and a distorted body image.
- Bulimia nervosa: characterised by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviours such as purging, fasting, or excessive exercise.
- Binge Eating Disorder: characterised by recurrent episodes of binge eating without compensatory behaviours.
Symptoms of eating disorders can include:
- Extreme changes in weight or body shape
- Obsessive thoughts about food, weight, and body image
- Extreme fear of gaining weight or becoming “fat”
- Refusal to eat or eat very little
- Eating in secret
- Abusing laxatives or diuretics
How CBD may help in Eating Disorders
Cannabidiol, often abbreviated to CBD, is a non-intoxicating constituent discovered in cannabis. It has been identified as potentially therapeutic for an extensive array of conditions, encompassing anxiety, depression, and pain. CBD is thought to work by influencing the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine.
Recent research suggests that CBD may also be useful in treating eating disorders. CBD has been found to modulate the activity of the endocannabinoid system, which plays a key role in regulating appetite, metabolism, and body weight. CBD may also help reduce anxiety and stress, which can be major contributing factors in eating disorders.
In a preclinical study, conducted on rats, CBD treatment was able to reduce binge-like eating behaviour, the researchers suggest that this may be due to the CBD influence on the serotonin receptor 1B.
A small study, conducted by the University of Paris, observed a significant improvement in symptoms of anxiety and depression among patients with eating disorders after 12 weeks of treatment with CBD oil.
Is CBD a Promising Treatment for Eating Disorders?
While these findings are promising, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms by which CBD may be effective in treating eating disorders, and also to determine the optimal dosage and administration. And also the long-term effects and possible side effects have to be considered. It’s important to note that, while CBD may be helpful in treating eating disorders, it should not be considered a replacement for traditional eating disorder treatment. Behavioural therapies, medication, and other evidence-based treatments are still considered the most effective way to address eating disorders.
Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions that can have serious physical and mental health consequences. While conventional treatments for eating disorders include therapy and medication, some people are looking for alternative treatments like CBD. Research suggests that CBD may be able to help reduce anxiety, stress, and binge eating behavior, but more research is needed to determine the optimal dosage and administration. And also the long-term effects and possible side effects have to be considered. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before trying CBD as a treatment for eating disorders.