Research on possible benefits of CBD and Bulimia

It is estimated that 10-15% of Americans are affected by an eating disorder, many of those suffering from a condition classified by the DSM-5 called  Bulimia Nervosa. People with this condition typically fall into a cycle of binge eating, sometimes up to 3000-10000 calories in one session, and then following this, take steps to rid themselves of the calories by purging. Purging may involve self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, over-exercising, or periods of fasting. 

How CBD for bulimia may play a role in alleviating symptoms and aid in recovery

Serotonin is what is known as a monoamine neurotransmitter, which contributes to cognition, reward, memory, and other physiological functions, as well as regulating feelings of happiness and overall wellbeing. A whopping 95% of the body’s serotonin resides in the gut. CBD mimics serotonin by activating your body’s serotonin receptors, which has the potential to alleviate high anxiety and depression, which have a direct correlation with many other complex mental and emotional issues.

In a 2011 study of women with eating disorders, all of the study’s participants show less responsive endocannabinoids in the centers of the brain responsible for appetite, reward, emotion, and body perception. CBD for bulimia may help alleviate some of the symptoms of the disorder due to the way that CBD works with the endocannabinoid system and the body’s serotonin. 

How do you know if someone you love has bulimia?

One of the key characteristics of bulimia is the desire to hide their disorder, and most bulimics maintain “normal” body weight and BMI so many of the typical signs associated with an eating disorder may go unnoticed. However, if you suspect or someone you love may be affected by bulimia nervosa, look for the following signs: 

Gum damage

Tooth damage

Hoarding food

Hidden food stashes

Seemingly ‘out of control’ while eating

Eating very large quantities of food in one sitting

Raspy voice, especially suddenly

“Puffy” cheeks from swollen salivary glands

Consistent sore throat

Scars, wounds, or calluses on the knuckles

Immediately going to the bathroom during or after eating

People suffering from Bulimia Nervosa May experience the following symptoms:



Bloated or distended stomach


Gastrointestinal issues




Loss of menstruation or irregular periods

Dry or blotchy skin

Isolation from friends or family

Heart arrhythmia

Obsession with weight, calories, or body shape and size


Heart attack

Heart failure

Electrolyte imbalance

Kidney damage

Liver damage

Cramps in muscles

Ruptured blood vessels in eyes

Bulimia is a potentially life-threatening disorder, although due to feelings of guilt and shame associated with the disorder, only 1 in 10 people receiving treatment. With relapse being a common occurrence (up to 50%) and a high rate of suicide as well as death from complications from the disorder, it is important to seek medical help immediately if you believe you are suffering from bulimia. Ask your doctor or medical professional if you could benefit from CBD for bulimias as part of your recovery.

While bulimia and other disorders are complex mental illnesses, the exact cause of bulimia has not been pinpointed, however, it is theorized that traumatic life experiences like sexual abuse or childhood neglect may the root cause of the development of eating disorders. Other conditions, like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or anxiety disorder, may additionally play a role in the development of Bulimia Nervosa. 

It is highly important to note that some studies have shows that serotonin (the ‘happy’ chemical) is connected to eating patterns and behaviors. 

Are you at risk for developing bulimia? 

Bulimia can affect all ages, genders, and ethnic backgrounds, however, there are some characteristics that are more prevalent in those suffering from bulimia:

Feelings of worthlessness

Impulse control

Family history of emotional, sexual, or physical abuse.

Desire for perfectionism

Trouble managing emotions

Bulimia and other eating disorders are complex mental illnesses. Although common, they are deadly, and seeking professional help is key to recovering both mentally and physically. CBD does have some drug interactions. Especially if you are currently on any medications, speak with your doctor about incorporating full-spectrum CBD into your treatment plan. 

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