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Medicinal Marijuana: A Legitimate Appetite Stimulant?

Abstract

Medicinal marijuana has been at the center of controversy for the treatment of cancer cachexia and AIDS related weight loss. Dronabinol, the oral form of marijuana, was approved for appetite stimulation, but its variability in absorption has led researchers to believe that smoked marijuana may be more effective. The discovery of endocannabinoids and their receptors has drawn attention from the research community, and as a result, marijuana’s role in appetite stimulation is clearer. Marijuana may play a critical role in the leptin pathway of appetite stimulation, and continued research in this field may lead to obesity prevention and treatment. The downfall of medicinal marijuana is its side effect profile, which includes increased risk of pulmonary malignancy, neural damaging effects, and psychosis. With more research on minimizing side effects and maximizing effectiveness, marijuana may be valuable in the treatment of appetite suppression related diseases such as cancer and AIDS.

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