A 2007 study by researchers at Columbia University, found that orally administered medical marijuana significantly stimulated the appetite of AIDS patients suffering from cachexia, increasing calorie intake and promoting weight gain. A second study in 2011 found that ingested THC increased appetite in cancer patients by 64 percent. THC-dominant varieties of marijuana might be the most successful in treating cachexia, and research suggests that THC itself may be the effective compound. Some fifty to eighty per cent of cancer patients will develop cachexia, usually but not always during the final stages. Patients suffering cachexia have a higher mortality rate than those without.
Evidence suggests that cannabis may help cachexia patients increase their energy and physical activity levels, which in turn could lower the risk of atrophy and improve mood and quality of life.