cannabis and weight loss

Does Smoking Marijuana Really Make You Lose Weight?

Cannabis has, for a long, been associated with hunger pangs that are triggered right after consumption. So to think that it can help in losing weight seems a bit far-fetched. How can a substance is known for increasing our appetite help us in losing weight?

In this article, we will see the relationship between marijuana and weight loss under a different spotlight and discuss what research has to say on this topic.

The Science behind Marijuana and Weight Loss

According to a 2018 study, the prevalence of obesity contributed to health issues such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes in 42.4% of the respondents.

Countless clinical guidelines have been laid down to help people adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes more physical activities. In addition, some pharmacologic treatments have also been advised to help people lose weight.

In a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2011, the role of cannabis in regulating appetite was observed. The sample population selected for the study were people with either a BMI of more than 30 or higher than 27 with existing health conditions.

The data set utilized for the research included two face-to-face surveys of 52,375 respondents. In addition, the respondents were examined on the basis of how often they used cannabis in the past 12 months.

The respondents were then categorized into four groups based on no cannabis usage in 12 months, at least once a year of cannabis consumption, using it once a month or twice a week, and lastly, using it three days a week or every day. As a result of the study, it was found out that about 16.1% of the cannabis users were obese whereas, 22% of the non-cannabis user were obese.

Another research conducted in 2010 studied cannabis use and obesity and young adults. The study had a sample population of 2566 young adults- 1264 males and 1302 females- who had a record of using cannabis.

The participants of the research were observed on the basis of the frequency of which they consumed marijuana and their BMIs. As a result, it was found out that the prevalence of obesity was higher in non-cannabis users as compared to cannabis users.

A meta-analysis conducted in 2018 also examined the link between marijuana and weight loss. This study emphasized the fact that cannabis users had a lower body mass index and were rather less obese than non-cannabis users. Furthermore, it also stated that cannabis users had an increased intake of calories.

Looking at these studies, it can be deduced that perhaps marijuana might aid with weight loss. But that is not the case. The studies conducted only point out the fact that there is indeed a relationship between cannabis use and weight loss. However, further studies have yet to be conducted to explain why this link exists.

Some of the factors responsible for weight loss and lower BMI in cannabis users could be that they might lower alcohol consumption.

This way, the calories gained from alcoholic drinks can be avoided. Furthermore, the ability of cannabis to interact with CB1, the cannabinoid receptor present inside our bodies, accounts for increased activity level that increases our metabolism.

Other effects of CBD that might help with weight loss are that it eases muscle pain and increases mobility.  In addition, it also aids with lowering anxiety levels which stops people from stress eating. Furthermore, it also aids with insomnia which in a way helps us to avoid late-night snacking.

What about the Fact That Cannabis Increases Appetite?

According to an article published in 2014 in the Innovation and Clinical Neuroscience journal, it was stated that the consumption of cannabis could increase a person’s appetite by activating the receptors known as CB1 present inside the brain. These receptors are in charge of releasing a hormone that increases food intake.

Human bodies naturally contain cannabis receptors and cannabinoids that are derived from the cannabis plant, known as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Various researches conducted on animals have suggested that these receptors trigger the release of a hormone known as ghrelin that is responsible for stimulating appetite in our bodies.

But then, how is it possible that a substance that increases our appetite might also help us lose weight? The jury is still out to figure out the balancing act between the two, but it can be said that the certain effects of cannabis stimulating our hunger compared with its effects of easing anxiety and increasing metabolism could maybe result in having a lower BMI.

How Does Cannabis Help With Losing Weight?

Some researchers believe that cannabis has a physiological effect and a study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research states some hypotheses on that.

The summary of the research was that THC initially would stimulate the hunger receptor, but that effect would be in the short term. After some time, the receptor wouldn’t be much active, leading people to not consume many calories.

In the meantime, THC also increases our metabolism rate as well. So, even if you have gotten the munchies after smoking cannabis, the increased metabolic rate would burn the calories you just consumed.

Thus, even if it seems like cannabis might help you with losing weight, we’ll say that you stick to a healthy diet and focus on exercising because cannabis in no way is the cure to weight loss. In addition, the adverse side effects of smoking too much marijuana outweigh the benefits.

Side Effects of Smoking Cannabis

Some of the common short-term side effects of consuming cannabis are mood swings, altered senses, memory issues, trouble in focusing or problem-solving, and having an altered sense of time, among others. In addition, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has stated that delusions, hallucinations, and psychosis might happen when a person is under the influence of high doses of cannabis.

Apart from the short-term side effects of smoking cannabis, there are some long-term risks associated with them as well. As per American Lung Association, cannabis smoke might contain cancer-causing harmful agents.

Add in the fact that when a person smokes cannabis, the lungs get more exposed to smoke which may lead the person towards chronic cough, or wheezing. It is also why a lot of users today have started shifting from inhaling cannabis (smoking or vaping) to the consumption of cannabis edibles, sublingual, or topicals.

One of the major issues with the consumption of cannabis is when a person misuses it and develops a use disorder. This results in the person building dependence on the substance and thus facing difficulties in withdrawing from it. Cannabis experts recommend consuming your favorite strains and products in moderation to avoid potentially harmful effects and benefit from their therapeutic characteristics.

According to a report by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, approximately 30% of people who smoke marijuana develop a use disorder. In addition, the group of people who are most susceptible to cannabis use disorder is those who start smoking it before or at the age of 18.

Withdrawal symptoms depend upon the level of dependency a person has developed. However, some of the mild withdrawal symptoms include headaches, nausea, and vomiting, whereas some major symptoms include a higher heart rate and poor brain development.

On the brighter side, users follow the regulations set by the state governments regarding cannabis consumption, and also seek assistance from expert budtenders and cannabis doctors. This enables them to benefit from routine cannabis consumption without having the need to quit.

Furthermore, people with existing health conditions might have a more adverse reaction to the over usage of cannabis.

Final Word

The compounds derived from the cannabis plant, THC, might trigger the hormones in the body that are responsible for stimulating hunger. However, the other compound, CBD, might dampen those hunger-igniting effects of the THC.

Again, we’d like to point out that there is no definitive evidence that can state the relationship between cannabis and weight loss, but there is some research highlighting the possible link between cannabis and hunger suppression.

In the International Journal of Molecular Science, a study conducted in 2018 says that there are some cannabis substances that might help with controlling our appetite as well as obesity.

This was proven by the fact that CBD encourages other molecules to block the receptors in charge of stimulating hunger while not doing so itself. In addition, other studies show that highly active CB receptors may have a link with obesity and that CBD contributes towards blocking those receptors, hence aiding in reducing obesity.

While the research conducted so far has shown a plausible link between marijuana and weight loss, the fact that they were conducted on animals doesn’t really provide concrete proof of how they would affect the human body.

Some of the studies conducted demonstrate that CBD could increase appetite, but that could also be because of the varying amount of THC in the product you are using.

All in all, there is still an impending need for more research to be conducted to understand the relationship of cannabis with weight loss.

If you’re looking for high-quality edible marijuana, always talk to a cannabis doctor first, and consult expert budtenders at leading cannabis dispensaries. They will help you find the best strains and dosages tailored to your needs and lifestyle.