Can Medical Marijuana help you lose weight?


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If the question is: Can Medical Marijuana help you lose weight? then the answer is yes, but make sure to read the fine print. There is no doubt that Cannabis provides stress relief, helps with pain, and makes your creativity bloom. Approved as a medical treatment for seizures, chronic pain, PTSD, Multiple Sclerosis among others, proves its versatility. It is also approved for patients that suffer from wasting syndrome associated with AIDS and chemo-induced nausea/vomiting in cancer patients because it helps them gain weight by increasing appetite.

It is of popular knowledge that Cannabis can give you “the munchies”. Patients usually describe it as a voracious hunger that makes them want to eat everything they see. So this might lead you to think that potheads are more obese than non-smokers but in realty they are less.  Several recent studies have found that daily marijuana use is associated with a lower BMI, smaller waist circumference, and lower fasting insulin blood levels. Does that mean cannabis is the secret to weight loss? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 

This might be a multi-factorial coincidence that can be explained in many ways.

  • Studies have shown that the weight gain seen with Cannabis applies to patients that are underweight and sick. Patients that had a normal BMI did not gain more weight but did choose a less healthy diet.
  • Another reason may be substitution; the smokers could be seeking comfort by smoking more marijuana, rather than eating more, non-smokers might used food to treat their anxiety.
  • Others have suggested that obese people, or people who chronically over eat, do so because the process triggers a reward center of the brain. By stimulating the same area of the brain, overeating acts like a “drug”. Cannabis users get their own high and don’t need to overeat in the same way so tend to be less obese.
  • Some speculate that cannabis can regulate weight by interfering with CB1 receptors in the brain. These receptors are responsible for regulating memory and appetite, and when triggered, can cause memory lapses and an increase in appetite. With chronic use, these receptors can become desensitized making the user less likely to gain weight.

Appetite regulation

Appetite is controlled by region of the brain called the hypothalamus which then regulates the secretion of two different hormones: ghrelin and leptin.

Leptin creates the sensation of satiety while Ghrelin stimulates hunger.

Ghrelin, which is regulated in the hypothalamus is stimulated by CB1 receptors. This is how THC creates such powerful cravings.

CBD, however, happens to be an super effective CB1 blocker. Animal studies showed that rats given CBD ate less food than the control, and CBD has been shown to increase leptin levels.

Appetite Supressant Strains

  • Strains that contain THCv (tetrahydrocannabivarin) deliver a high energy and euphoric feeling along with appetite-suppressing qualities. One high THCv strain some users can access is Black Beauty, Pineapple Purps and Doug’s Varin.
  • Those rich in the terpene humulene that has a similar effect to THCv with appetite. Sour OG, Sour Diesel, Girl Scout Cookies, and Skywalker OG are good examples.
  • A sativa dominant strain with the terpene limonene, for instance, has been found to help promote weight loss. Ex. Super Lemon Haze, or Jack Herer
  • Strains that combine high levels of THCv and humulene, like Green Crack, will pack an energetic punch while preventing you from reaching for the fridge;
  • Cannatonic is high in CBD giving patients an upbeat feeling while helping curb their appetite.

In conclusion; There’s simply no silver bullet when it comes to rapid, lasting weight loss. Losing weight requires discipline, dedication, and time. Still, anyone who uses Cannabis for medical or recreational purposes can rest assured that marijuana won’t make them fat. What Cannabis can do is help get your body and mind in rhythm and help you enjoy and get more out of your workouts by keeping you motivated. Just make sure to chose the correct strains that provide appetite suppressant properties and the correct diet to match your healthy needs.


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