European Lobby Says Experienced Trippers Should Advise On Psychedelic Use

Much like the United States, Europe is currently figuring out how to incorporate psychedelic therapy into its healthcare landscape most effectively. A lobby group representing developers and professionals within the industry advocates for including seasoned practitioners as integral members of a “multidisciplinary advisory body.” They would serve as a guiding authority, offering essential insights to regulators and healthcare practitioners regarding optimal practices as the field expands and changes. This effort comes from the European Psychedelic Access Research and European Alliance (PAREA), as reported by Politico, as per a briefing document slated for submission to the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

It basically says that those with actual experience with psychedelics should have influence. In both legal cannabis and psychedelics space, there is often a feeling that those with an actual relationship with the substance, rather than simply a desire to profit from it, makes for better business. 

Europe still needs to legalize any psychedelic treatments. However, as Australia and parts of the United States are already offering psychedelic therapy, many lawmakers in Europe want to be prepared to hit the ground running. Having such an advisory board (with people who have experience with these substances) will make psychedelic treatment easier to implement. 

In July, Australia became the first country in the world to authorize psilocybin and MDMA use through a doctor’s prescription to treat mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Both were legalized for therapeutic use. 

In 2019, Denver, Colorado, became the first U.S. city to decriminalize psilocybin. Cities such as Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Washington D.C. have followed suit. In 2020, Oregon both decriminalized it and legalized supervised therapeutic use, with Colorado passing a similar law in 2022. 

Psilocybin remains illegal under federal law.

Ketamine, which is technically a (legal) dissociative anesthetic with hallucinogenic properties, is FDA-approved for treatment-resistant depression in the U.S. under as “esketamine,” the S enantiomer of ketamine, as that’s how Johnson & Johnson could patent and sell it under the brand name Spravato. Often, doctors prescribe an off-label actual ketamine nasal spray that one can have made in a compound pharmacy. 

A study by the American Medical Association, published late last month, found growing evidence that psilocybin, the mind-altering ingredient in magic mushrooms, is a potentially effective treatment for those suffering from depression. Psilocybin is also being tested to treat people with anorexia

MDMA is currently being studied with successful results for its capacity to treat PTSD, among other mental health conditions.

Such substances would be under review of the proposed multidisciplinary advisory body. Before an upcoming EMA workshop on psychedelic treatments, PAREA urged the regulator to provide centralized leadership for the practical and clinical aspects of these therapies, including their delivery methods.

Unlike conventional pills, such as SSRI antidepressants, psychedelics require a comprehensive regimen of pre- and post-care, as well as support during the experience itself. PAREA wants to ensure that this care is uniformly standardized, drawing upon consensus from a diverse group of stakeholders. 

In psychedelic spaces, this pre- and post-care is known as integration, or the belief that one needs more than the drug itself. Integration typically involves therapy before the trip and afterwards, helping one take what they learned and “integrate” it into everyday life. One may also need more than one session or return for boosters, as with ketamine IV therapy and other psychedelic therapies. Even within recreational psychedelic spaces, many people use a “trip sitter,” or at least one trusted person to abstain and look after them. 

An EU advisory body “would benefit from the collective knowledge of various stakeholders, including the EMA, [the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction], national competent authorities, professional organizations, health care professionals and managers, psychedelic organizations, patients’ organizations, drug developers, and the wider community,” the briefing states.

PAREA told POLITICO these professional organizations could include the Open Foundation and the Beckley Academy in the Netherlands and the Mind Foundation in Germany. These groups train therapists in psychedelics using the latest research from institutions like Imperial College London and Johns Hopkins University. Some programs include experiential learning (getting high) on substances like psilocybin or ketamine. The Beckley group teaches people to “navigate non-ordinary states to better serve your clients,” and also runs psilocybin retreats. 

“The importance of ensuring that the therapeutic model adopted is evidence-based and in the best interest of the patients cannot be overstated,” the lobby group’s briefing states.

PAREA also advocates for the EMA to ensure consistent delivery strategies throughout Europe. “Centralized coordination would offer an efficient mechanism to propel the field forward, rather than individual EU countries initiating their own work groups,” it states.

Meanwhile, setting the stage for future generations, psychedelic knowledge and industry are now being taken seriously in academia. Last month, the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for the Science of Psychedelics launched a free online course titled “Psychedelics and the Mind.” The new class is another expansion (and win) for the Center, launched three years ago. The course will be available for free. 

The post European Lobby Says Experienced Trippers Should Advise On Psychedelic Use appeared first on High Times.

The Medicalized Psychedelic Narrative Is Out of Control

The medicalization narrative in corporate psychedelia is out of control. Virtually overnight, hundreds of FDA-worshiping rent-seekers have founded non-profits, PBC’s, media platforms, professional societies and for-profit corporations to trumpet the benefit of psychedelics as rigidly controlled tools within the medical industrial complex. 

Whether it’s PTSD, depression, anorexia, or IBS, there’s a new magic pill in town to treat your symptoms without actually addressing any of the macro societal issues that cause the conditions in the first place. Those championing this forthcoming era of mainstream medicalized psychedelics often do so in a humorless and hubristic sense that emphasizes the importance of being in a clinically controlled environment far removed from any recreational, indigenous, or church setting. 

 There are even a number of companies actively devoting themselves to the noble task of removing the trip from psychedelic substances, so as to further cement their status as the newest portfolio asset in the pharmaceutical industrial complex.  

Pill-popping culture has engulfed the psychedelic renaissance, trampling upon indigenous sovereignty, individual autonomy and good old fashioned fun in the process.

Perhaps there’s a bright future in tripping on FDA approved, patented novel molecules in a clinic with strangers who will bill your employer-provided insurance handsomely, but I’ll still be eating homegrown mushrooms in a hot spring and smoking spliffs with my friends long after that time comes. 

Remember when tripping on mushrooms in the forest and taking MDMA on a dance floor at an underground rave was fun? 

When LSD was something you did in your friends basement on the weekends and at music festivals, and you couldn’t stop laughing about the most ephemeral and mundane aspects of life as everything around you pulsed with idiosyncratic meaning and the trees started breathing and communicating with you? 

Not on the corporate psychedelia watch. Psychedelics are tools of the medical establishment now, cogs in a closed loop economy dictated by pharmaceutical conglomerates and their armies of gatekeepers. Tripping is now serious business, and recreational use is dangerous and shameful. 

Trying to cope with untenable social and environmental conditions imposed by ecological collapse, soaring costs of living and a rapidly unraveling social fabric?

Oh, that little  quandary has been conveniently fit into an ambiguous and clinically-validated little box called ‘depression’ that puts the onus on you as an individual to find ways of coping with radical societal inequities, rapidly disappearing biodiversity, and the general collective crisis of meaning beleaguering humanity. 

Try hippy flipping in a clinic with a couple of therapists who took a 40 hour online course about psychedelics last year if you need a quick salve for your constant anxiety amidst our legit existential crisis. 

Or maybe hire a coach to help you spiritually bypass it all. Anything except address the root causes of the myriad symptoms collectively signaling a mental health crisis. 

As the newly appointed research fellows and establishment credentialed psychedelic scientists will tell you, “Trust the data. Let’s get psychedelics over the line.”

What fucking line? The line between cognitive liberty and rigidly hierarchically controlled pill popping? It’s a curious fact that most data agrees with those funding the research and setting the cultural norms. 

And of course millennia of indigenous use does not constitute data, because white men didn’t get to control for the placebo in these contexts.   

One of the preferred slogans of the psychedelic establishment is to confidently proclaim that “the hippies failed” and that we need medical data to decide who gets to access psychedelics, where, and for what reasons. 

Psilocybin mushrooms aren’t for elevating your creative potential and exploring your own consciousness – they’re for treating depression and anxiety, for restoring your mental health under the guidance of a state validated healthcare professional without changing anything else about the societal status quo. 

On that note, when did the flagship molecules of the psychedelic renaissance become a horse tranquilizer and an amphetamine? 

I deeply angered a leading corporate psychedelia advocate with that joke earlier this year even though I explained in advance that it was indeed a joke; apparently there’s no room for humor and laughter in our new psychedelic medicine paradigm. 

Remember when Shroom Stocks were a thing? And then everyone who has never grown or eaten mushrooms invested in them and quickly lost a lot of money? 

Maybe the handful of biotech companies actively working to remove the psychedelic experience from DMT and psilocybin have it right. If they can sell that ruse, they deserve the money they’re after. However, given the performance of these companies over the last few years, this crusade is more of a race to the bottom than a rising tide for the psychedelic renaissance. 

Or we could just keep pushing Microdosing, because it’s the perfect bait and switch. “Look! Psychedelics are socially acceptable now because they fit nicely within the prevailing societal ethos of habitual consumption! It’s almost like an SSRI, but a little more edgy!” 

I respect that a medicalized approach to psychedelic-assisted therapy should be an option available to people, and that many will benefit from such a hierarchical and centralized system. 

But when pharmaceutical executives are contacting me from their vacation house in Aspen asking me to jump on board with their push to politicize psychedelics, we no longer have any kind of renaissance on our hands. 

The sudden onslaught of overnight authorities positioning themselves as champions of mental health and chomping at the bit to advocate for psychedelics as a clinical treatment for X, Y, and Z without consideration of underlying socioeconomic and environmental determinants conspiring to create the mental health crisis in the first place is laughably myopic and disingenuous. 

Maybe we should entrust the keys to consciousness to the rent-seeking, pill-popping culture-devoted gatekeepers who often have little to no experience with altered states themselves. But maybe there’s still room for weirdness, levity and laughter in the coming age of mainstream psychedelics. 

If you need me, I’ll be frolicking in the forest with friends tripping on some homegrown cubensis.

The post The Medicalized Psychedelic Narrative Is Out of Control appeared first on High Times.

Psilocybin Therapy: A New Hope for Anorexia Patients?

Summary: An early study suggests that a single dose of psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms” may assist some individuals with anorexia in overcoming their fixation on body image.

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Anorexia Patients May Benefit from Psilocybin, Study Suggests

Preliminary research indicates that a single dose of psilocybin, the active component in “magic mushrooms,” may aid some anorexia patients in moving beyond their body image preoccupations. This study involved only 10 women with anorexia and aimed to assess the effects of a single psilocybin dose combined with psychological counseling sessions. The results showed that the treatment seemed safe, with the majority of patients describing the experience positively. Within three months, four out of the ten women exhibited significant improvements in their eating disorder behaviors, particularly concerning weight and body shape preoccupations.

Another step forward for psilocybin

However, the study had its limitations. It was a phase 1 trial, primarily designed to ensure the treatment’s safety and feasibility. Hence, no definitive conclusions about its effectiveness can be drawn. Yet, the initial findings suggest that psilocybin warrants further investigation. Anorexia is a challenging disorder to treat, with about 20% of patients developing a chronic condition. Therefore, there’s a pressing need for innovative treatment options.

Psilocybin, the primary ingredient in magic mushrooms, has been traditionally used as a recreational hallucinogen. However, recent years have witnessed a surge in interest in psilocybin as a potential therapeutic agent. Institutions like New York University, the University of California, and Johns Hopkins University are exploring psilocybin-assisted therapy for conditions like major depression and addiction. A 2021 study even found that psilocybin, combined with psychological counseling, was as effective as a standard antidepressant in alleviating depression symptoms over six weeks.

Psilocybin might assist with Depression

For this study, the participants received a dose of a pharmaceutical-grade synthetic psilocybin formulation under medical supervision, accompanied by psychological counseling sessions. Although the treatment was generally safe, two patients experienced low blood sugar episodes. Three months post-treatment, the participants typically reported feeling more optimistic and placing less emphasis on physical appearance. However, the study lacked a control group, making it challenging to determine if the observed changes were due to psilocybin or the novelty of participating in such a study.

The research was funded by Compass Pathways, which is developing the psilocybin product. The exact mechanism of how psilocybin works remains unclear, but its immediate effects are attributed to the stimulation of brain receptors for serotonin, a mood-regulating chemical. Whether psilocybin targets any biological mechanisms involved in anorexia remains to be seen, but further research in this area is essential.

[Source: Montana Standard]

As a recreational drug, what are the benefits of using Psilocybin?

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Set, Setting and DNA…

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Small Study Shows Psilocybin Could Be Effective Treatment for Anorexia

Psilocybin-assisted therapy may be an effective treatment for anorexia nervosa, according to the results of a small study published this month in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Medicine. In the study, researchers with the University of California, San Diego determined that therapy combined with a single dose of psilocybin, the primary psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms, was a safe and effective treatment for women with the eating disorder.

Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental health disorder characterized by a severe fear of being overweight and a distorted body image. Symptoms of the disorder include an obsession with attempting to maintain below-average body weight through starvation or compulsive excessive exercise. Both men and women can have the disease, but it is most common in young women, with symptoms often first presenting in the mid-teens.

Anorexia is a chronic and often long-lasting condition, with treatment commonly including medical intervention to increase body weight and talk therapy to help with behavioral and self-esteem changes. The eating disorder can lead to other health complications including heart problems, bone loss and anemia, and can be fatal in some cases.

Rebecca Park, an associate professor in the University of Oxford Department of Psychiatry who was not involved in the research, told Live Science that new treatments for anorexia nervosa “urgently need to be developed” because the disease “has the highest mortality of any psychiatric disorder and is notoriously costly and challenging to treat and recover from.”

Study Treated 10 Patients With Psilocybin

In a small trial of 10 women with anorexia nervosa, researchers administered a single dose of psilocybin combined with support from a therapist. Most patients tolerated the short-term effects of psilocybin well and experienced no side effects. Participants were then assessed for a period of three months after the psilocybin session.

Following treatment, most patients reported a positive experience with the drug, with 90% of participants saying that they had a more positive outlook on life and 70% saying that their general quality of life had improved. Additionally, 80% rated the experience as one of their “top five most meaningful of life.” After three months, four participants had entered remission of their symptoms.

“Psilocybin therapy, which includes psychological support by trained therapists, was found to be safe and well tolerated for the 10 participants who received treatment in this study,” the authors of the study wrote in a discussion of the research. “Most participants endorsed the treatment as highly meaningful and the experience as a positive life impact.”

“Results suggest that psilocybin therapy is safe, tolerable and acceptable for female anorexia nervosa, which is a promising finding given physiological dangers and problems with treatment engagement,” the researchers added.

The authors of the study note that further research is needed to confirm the trial’s preliminary results. Nevertheless, the study is significant, because there is currently no medicine approved to treat anorexia nervosa available to patients with the sometimes deadly disease.

“While speculative,” Dr. Walter Kaye, senior author and professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, told Live Science in an email, “it is possible that psilocybin administration may reverse altered serotonin function in anorexia nervosa and help patients develop a new perspective on their symptoms and behaviors.”

The authors noted limitations of the study, acknowledging that the research “lacked gender, racial and cultural diversity” because all 10 participants were women and nine self-identified as “white.” The exploratory study also lacked a control group of participants who took a placebo rather than psilocybin, although many researchers believe such studies are impractical for psychedelic research because of the unmistakable effects of the compounds. 

Psychedelics And Mental Health

Clinical research and other studies into psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA have shown that the drugs have potential therapeutic benefits, particularly for serious mental health conditions such as depression, PTSD, substance misuse disorders and anxiety. In January, a California biopharmaceutical company announced positive results from a clinical trial testing MDMA as a treatment for PTSD. Research published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Psychiatry in 2020 found that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy was an effective and quick-acting treatment for a group of 24 participants with major depressive disorder. A separate study published in 2016 determined that psilocybin treatment produced substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer.

Although the results of the recent study indicate that psilocybin was effective on some women with anorexia nervosa, Dr. Alexandra Pike, a lecturer in mental health at the University of York, noted that the effect of psilocybin was not as profound as it was in studies for other mental health conditions.

“The changes found in eating disorder symptoms were very subtle, and only appeared in a few of the many questionnaires participants completed – in contrast to more unambiguous results in disorders such as major depressive disorder,” Pike told The Independent.

“This study is a first step in showing that psilocybin may be a safe treatment for those with anorexia nervosa, but we cannot conclude from this work that it will be effective in this chronic, complex illness,” she added.

The post Small Study Shows Psilocybin Could Be Effective Treatment for Anorexia appeared first on High Times.

Cannabis y la salud mental: Anorexia Nervosa

¿Puede el cannabis ayudar a las personas a recuperarse de anorexia nerviosa?

La anorexia nerviosa es un trastorno alimentario que hace que una persona se obsesione con su peso, dieta y cuerpo. Una persona con anorexia nerviosa no se detiene en un peso ideal o tipo de cuerpo como lo haría una dieta saludable. En cambio, son propensos a cambiar sus objetivos a pesos cada vez más bajos con el tiempo. Esta lucha aparentemente interminable lleva a una persona a restringir su consumo de calorías y posiblemente hacer ejercicio en exceso. Como resultado, con el tiempo, pueden volverse gravemente bajos de peso y desnutridos.

Las luchas con anorexia nerviosa pueden agravarse por trastornos comórbidos o acompañantes, como la depresión. Los pacientes con anorexia nerviosa son propensos a quitarse la vida, con una de cada cinco muertes por la condición causada por el suicidio. Como resultado, la anorexia nerviosa tiene la tasa de mortalidad más alta de cualquier condición de salud mental, según la Coalición de Trastornos de la Alimentación (EDC).

El EDC también afirma que tales condiciones de salud mental matan a una persona cada 62 minutos. La contribución a la estadística incluye bulimia nerviosa, trastorno de atracón compulsivo (BED), otro trastorno específico de alimentación o alimentación (OSFED), trastorno de ingesta de alimentos evitativo / restrictivo (ARFID) y diabulimia, un término creado por los medios para describir un trastorno alimentario donde una persona con diabetes tipo I restringe su insulina en un intento por perder peso.

La anorexia nerviosa tiende a desarrollarse durante la pubertad, pero puede formarse en cualquier momento de la vida de la persona, incluida la edad adulta tardía. El género, el origen étnico, la preferencia sexual u otras características no juegan ningún papel en el desarrollo de la anorexia nerviosa o cualquier otro trastorno alimentario.

A pesar de tal hecho, la anorexia nerviosa es una condición médica en gran parte asociada con las mujeres; La investigación encontró que .9% de las mujeres estadounidenses en sus vidas desarrollan anorexia nerviosa. Mientras tanto, los datos de la Asociación Nacional de Trastornos de la Alimentación (NEDA) indicaron que 10 millones de hombres estadounidenses sufrirán un trastorno alimentario, no específicamente anorexia nerviosa, en algún momento de sus vidas.

La cifra de NEDA puede no reflejar un número exacto, según la asociación. Se cree que muchos hombres no buscan tratamiento para su condición, por lo que es difícil informar un total exacto. Algunos han postulado que esto se debe a la vergüenza cultural derivada de los hombres que creen que los trastornos alimentarios afectan exclusivamente a las mujeres, o que su admisión los hace parecer femeninos.

Dicho esto, la combinación de fuentes de 2012 concluyó que entre el .9% y el 2% de las mujeres desarrollarán la afección, en comparación con el .1% al .3% de los hombres.

No se han relacionado causas definitivas con el desarrollo de la anorexia nerviosa. Se han reconocido los posibles enlaces, incluida la genética. Algunos creen que es probable que los jóvenes con anorexia nerviosa en su familia desarrollen la afección con mayor frecuencia. Los factores de riesgo adicionales considerados incluyen trastornos de ansiedad infantil, trauma, una imagen negativa de sí mismo y puntos de vista sociales o culturales contrarios con respecto a la salud y la belleza.

Los estudios a lo largo de los años han indicado que el cannabis medicinal puede, en parte, abordar los síntomas de anorexia.

Anorexia Nerviosa y Cannabis

Un estudio abierto de 2003 se centró en la seguridad y la eficacia del medicamento derivado de cannabis Dronabinol en pacientes con anorexia con enfermedad de Alzheimer. El estudio siguió a 48 sujetos que usaban el medicamento. Se descubrió que cada persona ganó peso durante el estudio, y el 65% también informó una reducción en agitación.

Otro estudio de 2007 también se enfoca en como el Dronabinol puede ser un posible estimulante del apetito para personas de cuidado prolongado. En una media los resultados mostraron que 15 de 28 pacientes en el estudio ganaron peso durante los 84 días que duró este. Notablemente, seis participantes ganaron mas de 10 libras, mientras que 10 incrementaron más de 5 libras. Dicho esto, el estudio no menciona las implicaciones mentales de la condición, dejando espacio para creer que recaer es posible.

El año siguiente se realizó un estudio adicional que observó una mejora en el apetito y una reducción de la agitación en pacientes con hepatitis C. Esta vez, se analizaron tanto el dronabinol como la nabilona, ​​un cannabinoide sintético que simula el THC. Sin embargo, el análisis tampoco abordó ninguna condición subyacente relacionada con la salud mental.

Más recientemente, un estudio piloto de 2017 de nueve pacientes mujeres adultas concluyó que el THC puede mejorar los síntomas de anorexia. En este caso, la mejora principal notada fue la percepción de los pacientes sobre su alimentación. Los investigadores declararon que los sujetos informaron niveles más bajos de depresión mientras cuidaban más sus cuerpos. El estudio también encontró que no ocurrieron “cambios significativos” en el índice de masa corporal (IMC) de ningún sujeto.

Algunos profesionales médicos han sido testigos de resultados mixtos al usar cannabis como una opción de tratamiento. Lauren M. Canonico es psicoterapeuta y consultora con especialidad en recuperación de trastornos alimentarios. Canonico informó que el cannabis ha impactado a sus pacientes de varias maneras. Los resultados positivos incluyen pacientes que comen más o prueban una variedad más amplia de alimentos. Los resultados positivos adicionales incluyeron mayores niveles de relajación y una mayor tolerancia al malestar y la ansiedad.

Canonico dijo que algunos pacientes notaron que el cannabis ayudó a reducir el uso de estrategias de afrontamiento como atracones y purgas, o masticar y escupir sus alimentos. “Ha sido una herramienta increíblemente útil para muchos pacientes con los que he trabajado a lo largo de los años”, afirmó.

La psicoterapeuta también señaló los efectos adversos que puede experimentar un paciente. Tales resultados incluyen un aumento de la ansiedad y la paranoia por la comida. Canonico cree que esto puede deberse a la experiencia pasada y no relacionada del paciente con el cannabis.

Otros efectos pueden estar en juego, pero el psicoterapeuta no está seguro. “Muchos [pacientes] tienen ansiedad concurrente o trastornos relacionados con el trauma, en ambos lados de la respuesta, por lo que no está claro”.

La incertidumbre sobre el resultado del cannabis ha llevado a muchos a Internet en busca de hallazgos anecdóticos. El foro en línea de anorexia de Reddit, o subreddit, tiene un puñado de debates sobre el tema. Ya sea que se haya escrito hace cuatro años o en los últimos meses, la mayoría ha declarado que el cannabis ha aumentado el apetito al tiempo que disminuye las obsesiones por la comida.

Una persona le contó a High Times sobre un resultado similar del uso de cannabis recomendado médicamente.

“La anorexia te hace sentir gorda, indeseable, débil [y] con un dolor de cabeza constante”, explicó “Cathy”, una paciente que pidió permanecer en el anonimato. La anorexia nerviosa comenzó a afectar a Cathy después de años de tratamientos de escoliosis cuando era adolescente. Después de que se quitó el aparato ortopédico, Cathy se encontró escrutando su cuerpo y peso.

Su carrera como modelo exacerbó aún más el problema. “No tenía energía para hacer ejercicio, pero me llamaban gorda regularmente. Entonces, comencé a cortar la comida cada vez más ”, explicó. En el pico de su enfermedad, la Cathy de 5’6 “pesaba 99 libras.

Después de su diagnóstico, los médicos le recetaron el antidepresivo mirtazapina. La medicación y un movimiento en todo el mundo ayudaron a agregar más de 40 libras al marco de Cathy. Sin embargo, afirmó que nunca abordó cómo el desorden alimenticio la hizo sentir. El hecho de no hacerlo provocó una recaída mientras luchaba con la dismorfia corporal a su regreso a casa.

Un amigo intervino para ofrecer ayuda mientras Cathy luchaba con el antidepresivo. La llevaron a un dispensario donde podía obtener legalmente cannabis. “Probé cannabis y no he parado desde entonces”, informó. Hoy, ella usa la planta como parte de su régimen de autocuidado, que incluye mantener hábitos alimenticios saludables y visitas con médicos.

Ella le da crédito al cannabis por sacarla de los antidepresivos con los que luchó durante tanto tiempo.

Cathy dice que ella recomienda que otros como ella prueben el cannabis. Sin embargo, advierte que debe ser parte de un plan de tratamiento más amplio. “… [el consumo de cannabis medicinal] debe ir de la mano con la terapia para tratar la causa de la anorexia”.

The post Cannabis y la salud mental: Anorexia Nervosa appeared first on High Times.

Cannabis and Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is a well-known but uncommon eating disorder that affects less than 2% of the worldwide population. However, for those who have anorexia, the complications can be serious, sometimes leading to osteoporosis as a result of bone thinning, digestive issues, heart problems, and even death. 

The “munchies” are a phenomenon long associated with cannabis. Could the appetite-stimulating effects of cannabis benefit individuals with anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders? The answer may not be so simple, as eating disorders tend to have a strong underlying mental health component. If treating anorexia were as simple as encouraging appetite, then the disorder would likely not exist. 

What cannabis may be able to help with, however, are the comorbid conditions associated with anorexia, such as anxiety and depression. 

Research Overview 

Current research demonstrates that cannabis could treat some of the conditions that often coexist with anorexia. 

Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

The Studies

In 2013, a Danish study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders found that dronabinol, a synthetic form of cannabis, may help anorexic patients gain weight. The medicine was reportedly well-tolerated and linked to weight gain in subjects who took 2.5 milligrams of dronabinol twice daily compared with those who took a placebo. 

Anxiety is frequently experienced alongside anorexia, and it has also been cited among the top five reasons for using medical cannabis in North America. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that cannabis significantly lowered anxiety levels, stress, and depression in the short-term. Caution should be exercised over the long term, however, as this study also found that depression symptoms (but not anxiety) could get worse when cannabis is used for prolonged periods.

Interestingly, researchers revealed that women experienced a greater reduction in anxiety than men in the short-term. This is an important consideration, given that women are three times more likely to experience anorexia than men.  

However, the relationship between anxiety and cannabis use is complex. A meta-analysis of 31 separate studies published in 2014 in BioMed Central Psychiatry found that there was a positive relationship between cannabis use and anxiety. That is, anxiety is more common in cannabis users than non-users. Whether cannabis is simply a common coping strategy for these individuals, or alternatively, contributing to mood disorder, remains unclear. Randomized controlled trials examining the effect of cannabis on anxiety are much needed.  

While cannabis has demonstrated the ability to help people suffering from anorexia, it’s important to note that research has also found that when people with anxiety use cannabis to cope, it could potentially lead to misuse or dependence on cannabis. A 2019 study published in the journal Substance Use & Misuse found that social anxiety may be associated with using cannabis to decrease negative effects, which could increase the frequency of cannabis use and potentially cause a dependency risk. 

Patient Perspectives

Missy Hope, who requested her real name not be disclosed, had never heard the term “anorexia nervosa” when her eating disorder developed. At 15, insecure about her body and depressed after her parents’ recent divorce, Hope began to starve herself.

“At first, I didn’t realize I was starving myself,” Hope shared in a phone interview with Weedmaps. “I just thought I was being really disciplined by eating only fruits and vegetables every day. When I dropped down to 95 pounds, I didn’t realize that my appearance was scaring people.”

Now 32, the real estate agent has conquered her anorexia, through an inpatient treatment program that was supplemented by medical cannabis use. According to Hope, she discovered cannabis around the same time she entered the program. 

Like many former anorexia patients, Hope still battles with the adverse effects of this disorder from time to time, but cannabis use provides her with much-needed relief to this day. 

“Smoking a joint here and there has helped with my anxiety and depression, but I still battle with them,” she explained. “But I feel like I’ll always struggle to some extent with these issues and even with food.”

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What the Experts Say 

Hope’s continued efforts to deal with her depression and anxiety are common among individuals recovering from anorexia. Some medical experts believe that cannabis may be beneficial in helping to manage these ongoing psychological symptoms.

The authors of a 2017 study published in the Israeli Journal of Psychiatry Related Science concluded that THC “may be an effective component in treating the psychological symptoms of AN (anorexia nervosa).” 

This assertion stems from the results of the physicians’ study of nine anorexic women who reported improvements in self-care and mood following treatment with 1 to 2 milligrams of THC daily administered over four weeks. 

The Bottom Line

Cannabis may help ease anxiety, stimulate appetite, and uplift mood, all of which make medical cannabis a potential complementary treatment option for anorexia nervosa. However, anyone with anorexia should consult with a physician before beginning any course of treatment while addressing the psychological factors that contribute to the disorder. 

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