Appetite disorders are a group of medical conditions related to persistent eating behaviors. Common disorders of this nature include bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge-eating.
In many cases, appetite disorders can involve an obsessive focus on food, body shape, and/or weight. Depending on the decisions that an individual takes, some appetite disorders impact the body’s ability to consume adequate nutrition. The end result can lead to significant harm to the bones, teeth, or immune system.
Additionally, these disorders can have a negative impact on emotional and psychological health.
In the United States, an estimated 30 million people are affected by an appetite disorder. This figure represents more Americans impacted than autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s combined.
Despite 30 million people suffering from an appetite disorder in the US, only $28 million in funding goes to researching eating disorders each year. In contrast, the total combined funding for autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s is over $900 million.
Because of this, many people seek alternative ways to manage their conditions. Cannabis is often championed as an appetite stimulant. So, can it have a positive effect on appetite disorders?
Keep reading to find out our choice for the five best strains that can potentially encourage appetite.
The Effect of Cannabis on Appetite
Specific processes in the body regulate hunger. When people consume food, the body produces leptin; this substance helps suppress appetite. The body begins to feel hungrier when leptin levels decrease.
However, there are physical and medical conditions that prevent leptin levels from falling. For example, in an individual with HIV-related anorexia, it’s thought that the neurons slow down, resulting in a scenario where neurotransmitters are unable to send the chemical messengers for hunger.
Cannabinoids in cannabis, such as THC, are thought to stimulate appetite and encourage food consumption. One study, conducted at Washington State University in 2019, decided to investigate this relationship. The study involved dosing lab rats with cannabis vapor. The research team discovered that the drug triggers hunger hormones. They also found brain regions that change to a sort of ‘hungry’ mode when a person is under the influence of cannabis.
According to the researchers, cannabis use resulted in small, more frequent meals in rats. Usually, when our stomachs are empty, we release a hormone called ghrelin, signaling to the brain that it’s time to look for food. Blood levels of ghrelin are highest before meals and return to lower levels after eating.
Based on this article, as well as anecdotal evidence, the use of cannabis may help because of its ability to stimulate these hunger hormones.
At this time, there is very little research surrounding the impact of cannabis on the pathology of appetite disorders, as well as a thorough understanding of cannabis pharmacology and its impact at the receptor level. In addition, many appetite disorders have a psychological component, which makes it difficult to determine how cannabis use will affect a particular individual.
So, while our five best cannabis strains for appetite disorders may not address the disorders themselves, these strains may promote appetite in general.
1 – Girl Scout Cookies
Despite its name, Girl Scout Cookies is a potent strain with a THC content of up to 28%. It’s a cross of OG Kush (from South Florida) and Durban Poison. Abbreviated to GSC, this strain is an indica dominant (60%) hybrid that is almost guaranteed to give the appetite a much-needed boost.
Girl Scout Cookies is an exceptionally potent strain, so users should tread carefully. The lack of CBD (just 0.2% on average) means it is a strain that gives users a euphoric high in a hurry. Many users experience an improvement in mood and, in some cases, unstoppable laughter.
The scent of chocolate and mint are also common characteristics of this strain. Best of all, the Girl Scout Cookies strain is known for making users very hungry.
2 – Diablo
This is another cannabis strain with an extremely misleading name. In reality, Diablo can make users feel incredibly relaxed and calm. Its THC content of around 20% is ideal for users with intermediate cannabis experience.
Diablo is a sativa dominant (60%) hybrid that makes users happy from head to toe. It could soothe the body and mind. Additionally, it’s renowned for working up large appetites.
People often report using Diablo at night, helping users feel extremely relaxed with a dash of giggles.
3 – Pineapple Express
Pineapple Express is a sativa dominant (60%) hybrid with a THC content ranging from 19-25%. This strain typically makes users feel mellow and very, very hungry.
Pineapple Express is thought to encourage feelings of joy while providing a sense of uplifting energy. It’s a strain particularly popular with creative individuals as it enables users to relax without feeling tired. It can be an excellent daytime option.
The pineapple aroma gives the strain its name while offering a gorgeous and tropical taste. Users may experience a sweet aftertaste, much like after eating a slice of fresh pineapple.
4 – Tahoe OG Kush
This strain is close to being a 50/50 hybrid, although there is a slight bias towards indica. People who report difficulty sleeping often report using Tahoe OG Kush. However, Tahoe OG also serves as a popular option for those seeking appetite stimulation. It contains 20-25% THC, and practically zero CBD (as little as 0.07%).
Using Tahoe OG Kush can make users feel relaxed within minutes, and many report feeling a sense of warmth and coziness. Rather than experiencing couch-lock, the strain typically induces an uplifting energy boost, which may help productivity.
It is common for users of this strain to stock up on snacks because of its ability to stimulate hunger.
The strain also has a lovely pine fresh scent with an added sweetness that is immediately apparent. It tastes almost as sweet as it smells; this is arguably what stimulates the appetite!
5 – Candyland
This strain is a 50/50 hybrid that contains a huge 24% THC. Candyland is amongst the best marijuana strains for early morning use. It is a cross of Platinum Girl Scout Cookies and Granddaddy Purple and is a favorite among artists.
Although technically a hybrid, Candyland feels like a sativa. Perhaps this is why users feel energized for hours after first using it. However, early-morning users should give the strain a little time to kick in, as it’s known to make people feel ravenous.
The stain is also popular with people suffering from headaches, aches, and pains.
Final Thoughts on Cannabis & Appetite Disorders
For many cannabis users, an increased appetite is an unwanted side effect; however, depending on the individual, this side effect may be exactly what a person is looking for.
It’s important to reiterate that these strains are not proven to help appetite disorders. Instead, they are well-known in the cannabis community for promoting appetite in users. Many of these strains have additional merits, such as encouraging relaxation, that some users may enjoy on a day-to-day basis.
For users new to medicinal marijuana, it is best to start with medium or low-strength strains. Overuse can cause side effects such as paranoia and anxiety.
It is essential to consult with a medical physician regarding cannabis consumption. Additionally, it is crucial to understand the current laws and regulations in the appropriate states.