I recently got a question posted on my facebook group asking “can smoking weed help you lose weight?“
What does the science say about this?
The munchies, as some people would call it can develop is where one develops a sudden and relenting craving for delicious, palatable sweets and junk food, especially after a cannabis-lit session. And more often than not, the munchies are unapologetically satisfied by a quick trip to the nearby 7-11. With that in mind, the last thing you would think when smoking the jay is that it will help you lose weight. After all, how can you eat junk and expect to look like this.
Interestingly enough, in 2011, researchers found something rather peculiar on this matter. Through surveying roughly 50,000 people, they found that the more frequently subjects reported smoking weed, the less likely they were to be obese. And this is after adjusting for other factors like age, sex, and other drug use, such as cigarettes. The most frequent users, in this case measured as 3 or more times per week, were about 40% less likely to be obese than those with no cannabis use in the past 12 months.
That’s quite a sticky icky result. But considering weed’s munchie effects, how is that possible? Well, there’s a few hypotheses floating around possibly explaining the bong-induced effects in play. And they’re based on how the constituents of MJ known as endocannabinoids interact with our bodies. Two of the major endocannabinoids that tree-smokers know and love is tetrahydrocannabinol, aka THC, and cannabidiol, aka CBD. Of the two, THC is most responsible for the increased munchies we’re familiar with.
Even then, researchers in 2013 hypothesized that long-term use of THC might actually lead to the opposite effect. This is through their belief that repeated receptor stimulation from THC use can lead to a down-regulation, or desensitization of its effects. Like caffeine, one might be able to build a tolerance to THC. Continued use leads to an oversaturation of THC. This prevents other, stronger endocannabinoids our body makes, like 2-AG, from binding to CB1 receptors, which when stimulated, facilitates the release of appetite-inducing hormones. Thus, if any of this were to be true, more THC leads to less appetite and eventually suppressing appetite. Another study in 2015 further elaborated that THC was able to prevent gut microbiota changes normally seen in obesity, resulting in lower food intake and reductions in bodyweight and fat. CBD, unlike THC, has been discovered to outright antagonize both CB1 and CB2 receptors. It’s not much of a surprise that it theoretically limits cravings and promotes weight loss. Also, to point out, CB2 receptor stimulation have been shown to reduce appetite as well.
And, another, lesser known endocannabinoid, THCV, can also act as a CB1 receptor antagonist, possessing similar appetite-suppressing potential as CBD. You would think, with all of these sciency appetite reductions that it would be an open and shut case to tell everyone how great a little joint can help with your waistline. But, all of these findings only stand as hypotheticals for now. The thing is, the majority of the findings weren’t in humans… but in rats. Unfortunately, human trials are few and far between due to marijuana’s controversial legal nature. By the way, PictureFit does not condone the use of marijuana and everything discussed inthis video is strictly for educational purposes. If we were to see these mechanisms replicated in humans, then we might have a clearer answer. And with acceptance of cannabis on the rise, that might not be too far down the line. But for now, if you were to ask if marijuana is a good weight loss tool, the only possible answer is… maybe.
Now, cannabis use does have some practical benefits. One is that, if you consume alcohol mainly for its psychological effects, replacing it with marijuana can still provide its own psychological effects but without the added calories. Also, if you find yourself being able to exercise more intensely or longer while high, then that can help you burn more calories. Just be cautious, though, since THC can raise your pain tolerance, causing you to possibly ignore pain signals related to potential injury. So, don’t go too hard. But other than that, the answer is still maybe. In the future, that might change with new data and if it does, you can be certain that there will be new content on this website all about it.
For now, enjoy your blunts if you choose to, just don’t think that it will blunt the number on your scale. Let me know what YOU think about the marijuana weight loss magic in the comments below. Has it helped YOU with your weight loss goals. Or even weight gain. If you enjoyed the article, please share it with your chronic loving friends.