Love them or hate them, the munchies are a very common side effect of many cannabis strains.
It’s believed that consuming cannabis makes receptors in the brain trigger the release of hormones that makes us feel like we’re absolutely starving. And while they may not be great for your waistline, the appetite-stimulating effects of cannabis are what make it so great for people suffering from certain medical conditions.
We’ve known about THC’s ability to cause the munchies for some time, but more recently, cannabis has begun to be looked at as a possible weight loss solution.
Is cannabis for weight loss really a good idea?
Cannabis Doesn’t Cause Weight Gain
If you’ve ever had some really strong munchies you may think that gaining weight because of cannabis is a no brainer. But research into the link between cannabis consumption and weight gain actually shows the opposite.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, those who smoke cannabis are actually less likely to be obese or overweight than those who do not. Other studies have found similar results, indicating that regular consumers of cannabis were less likely to be overweight or to suffer from diabetes and that they even had lower cholesterol levels.
Can cannabis really help people to lose weight?
The conclusion seems to be that while cannabis seems to stimulate appetite in the short-term, that doesn’t necessarily translate to a bigger belly and a larger waistline.
Additionally, some researchers think that the regular consumption of cannabis may lead to changes in metabolism and the gut microbe biome that could actually promote weight loss. By speeding up your metabolism, THC might actually be helping your body to store less fat and burn more calories in the long run.
Stress & Weight Gain
Stress has long been known to lead to unhealthy weight gain. High levels of stress do not just cause people to ‘stress eat’, but can also cause hormonal changes that can stimulate appetite and increase fat storage.
Stress causes the release of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is released as part of the body’s fight-or-flight response that encourages the body to hoard calories and fat – likely as a natural defense against starvation. This leads to fat being harder to lose, especially around the midsection.
Cannabis & Stress Relief
Stress relief is one of the many reasons why people turn to cannabis. Cannabis helps people to achieve greater relaxation and better rest. Moreover, research indicates that the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) may have anxiety-relieving properties.
While cannabis won’t directly lead to weight loss, it may help those suffering from anxiety to stop stress eating. Moreover, decreased anxiety could also mean lower cortisol levels and less belly fat. Some of the positive results that people have seen with cannabis for weight loss may actually be due to its ability to reduce stress.
THCv – The Weight Loss Cannabinoid?
Ever smoked up expecting the munchies only to find that your appetite has instead suddenly disappeared? That may have happened because the strain of cannabis you were ingesting was high in THCv.
THCv (tetrahydrocannabivarin) is a cannabinoid that has recently been linked to weight loss. This cannabinoid is found in trace amounts in certain strains of cannabis and is not believed to be psychoactive. In fact, it is thought that THCv may actually work to diminish some of THC’s psychoactive effects.
THCv is believed to diminish the feel-good sensations that we experience when we consume comfort foods. It is also an antagonist of CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system. This may allow it to cancel out some of THC’s appetite-stimulating effects.
Some strains that contain THCv include Durban Poison, Pineapple Purps, and Jack The Ripper. In addition to THCv, consuming strains that are higher in CBD and lower in THC may also help to keep the munchies to a minimum.
Is Cannabis For Weight Loss Real?
There’s really no definitive link between cannabis and weight loss, or weight gain for that matter.
While most cannabis strains will stimulate your appetite to some degree, that is only a temporary effect. What really matters is how you incorporate cannabis into your life.
For instance, some people make cannabis part of their exercise routine. Energizing, stimulating, and cerebrally euphoric sativa strains can be great for getting through an intense or stressful workout.
But if you’re smoking cannabis to pass the time, or to wind down on the couch at the end of the day, don’t be surprised if you find yourself reaching for the chips and ice cream. In this case it’s best to surround yourself with healthy food choices that will keep you from loading up on sugar and carbohydrates.
Should you rely on cannabis for weight loss? Probably not.
But if you incorporate cannabis into your life in a way that positively affects your eating and exercise habits, it could certainly help you along on your weight loss journey.
Originally published by greensiderec.com