While it’s been long rumoured that cannabis use leads to “the munchies” and subsequent weight gain, weed and weight loss may have a surprising and promising partnership.
An age-old assumption that is held about cannabis users is that they often succumb to “the munchies” and end up making poor food choices, risking gaining weight as a consequence.
Using cannabis doesn’t need to be a pathway to embracing the munchies; in fact, more are turning their attention to the ways that weed and weight loss may go hand in hand.
Cannabis needs to experience a disassociation from the image of the stoner eating Pringles on the couch while playing video games. A 2011 study from the American Journal of Epidemiology concluded that, “people using cannabis are less likely to be obese than people who do not use cannabis.” This is supported by studies showing that cannabis users have trimmer waistlines and lower-cholesterol.
A 2015 study examined the effects of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) on maintaining a healthy weight in mice. The study found that THC causes changes in the gut microbiome (a microorganism connected to weight) that are assumed to contribute to healthy weight. Overall, it showed that the THC treatment, over a period of 4 weeks, reduced weight gain, fat gain, and energy intake in obese mice.
Cannabis & Exercise
More in the cannabis community are showing the benefits of connecting cannabis to the exercise routine, promoting the way that weed leads to weight loss. Some athletes microdose pre-workout to bring a state of relaxation and focus to their training routine (without getting high!). Cannabis topicals can help with muscle recovery and reduce inflammation and can protect sore muscles or joints during the workout process. Further cannabis dosing helps reduce the inflammation and associated pain with sports injuries or soreness.
Taking this approach requires the cannabis user to see cannabis as an enabler, and to thoughtfully choose strains that will boost energy and bring focus. People will usually choose a sativa strain like Durban Poison or Harlequin before a workout while relying on an indica-dominant strain for more low-impact activities like yoga.
Appetite Suppressing Strains
Munchies are a real thing, but there are actually strains, cannabinoids, and terpene profiles that help reduce appetite, rather than make you hungry and grab for anything in the fridge.
Some examples of what to look for in appetite suppression include:
• Strains that contain THC-V (tetrahydrocannabivarin) deliver an energetic and euphoric high along with appetite-suppressing qualities. One high THC-V strain some users can access is Black Beauty. A more common route to strains that suppress appetite are those rich in the terpene humulene that has a similar effect to THC-V with appetite. Strains high in humulene include Sour OG, Sour Diesel, Girl Scout Cookies, and Skywalker OG.
• Strains that combine high levels of THC-V and humulene, like Green Crack, will pack an energetic punch while preventing you from reaching for the fridge;
• Cannatonic is a helpful appetite suppressant because it gives the user an upbeat feeling with its high CBD content and low THC content. Those who want a bit of a pep in their step in a social situation but don’t want to opt for a sugary alcoholic drink may find Cannatonic will produce the same relaxing effect of having a few drinks;
Either Humulene and THC-V (or both) are what to look for in appetite suppressing strains. Using THC-V for the first time can be an eye-opening experience for the most seasoned cannabis user due to its potency and feelings of euphoria. Use these strains within a safe environment and mindfully dose to assess the effects.
Change the Conversation
The modern cannabis consumer has an opportunity to change the stigma associated with cannabis; it’s not something that makes you lazy, but rather, when used intentionally, it can help in goals achievement. While the studies on weed and weight loss are preliminary, the dialogue around the potential for cannabis and weight management is certainly growing.