A commonly held belief is that using cannabis results in “the munchies,” temporarily stimulating the appetite and likely not lending itself as part of a weight loss plan. However, current research paints a more complex picture, and demonstrates the potential physiological and psychological benefits that cannabis can have for those looking to manage their weight.
Studies show that cannabis stimulates the CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid systems to help reduce inflammation and promote anti-obesity effects. Evidence suggests that patients who utilize cannabis also have an increase in metabolic function and a lower risk of developing metabolic X syndrome.
To understand how cannabis can help with weight loss, we need to break the plant down into its components. Cannabis plants are made up of over 60 cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the cannabinoids that make up the majority of each plant. THC is the psychoactive component that provides the characteristic “high” associated with the use of marijuana and has also been found to be the appetite-stimulating culprit. But let’s not forget that a combination of compounds of both CBF and THC produces the highly beneficial Entourage Effect. While one compound alone can pose a challenge for dieting and weight loss, the entourage effect of all compounds working together create an entirely different effect on metabolism, obesity, and insulin resistance.
While THC may increase appetite, CBD has the opposite effect, actually reducing appetite upon consumption! On top of appetite reduction, CBD has been found to reduce insulin in the bloodstream by 17%, aiding in the fat burning process. CBD’s role in weight loss goes beyond simple metabolic changes. A mountain of research finds CBD to be an effective anti-inflammatory, helpful in fighting joint and muscle pain, allowing patients to be more active and recover from exercise more easily. It’s also been found to be effective as an anti-anxiety aid, which can be useful if an individual has a habit of eating as a response to stress or emotion. All things considered, cannabis that is high in CBD can be a true star for weight loss, helping you eat less and recover easier.
There’s also exciting new research on the various other cannabinoids found in cannabis, and one in particular shows great promise for weight loss, THCv. THCv, also known as tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a form of THC that has a slightly altered molecular structure which significantly reduces the psychoactive effects of THC. Studies show that its effects on appetite suppression and insulin levels are similar to CBD. THCv levels in your average cannabis plant are low, however there are some cannabis sativa strains bred specifically for higher concentrations of this valuable cannabinoid.
If you’re utilizing cannabis for a qualifying condition and also trying to reach weight-loss goals, we suggest you choose strains that are higher in CBD and lower in THC levels. Because medical marijuana at medical dispensaries is carefully labeled with cannabinoid content, the dispensary staff can help guide you toward strains that have uplifting and energizing effects. With so many cannabis options out there, there’s certain to be one that provides relief for your qualifying condition, and offers metabolic benefits!