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There’s no doubt that cutting calories is one of the quickest ways to lose weight (though keeping it off is another story entirely). Yet, low caloric intake is definitely not something often associated with cannabis lovers. Anyone who has tried a heavy indica strain knows that the herb can make you hungry for fatty, carb-laden foods. But, can some strains actually help prevent overeating? The answer could be a surprising yes. Here’s why some skinny weed strains are appetite suppressants. 

Why does cannabis make you hungry?

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Cannabis makes you hungry for one primary reason: appetite-stimulating cannabinoids. The majority of strains out there are high in psychoactive THC. When you consume cannabis, THC takes the place of compounds your body naturally produces. These compounds are endocannabinoids.

Turns out, endocannabinoids are critical for appetite and metabolism.

Specifically, endocannabinoids are chemical messengers that tell your body when to release ghrelin. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone that drives you to eat. A couple of the chemical compounds in cannabis activate the same cell receptors in the brain and digestive tract as your endocannabinoids.

As a result, your stomach starts growling and you find yourself rooting around in the kitchen. There are two primary cannabinoids in cannabis that stimulate appetite:

  • THC
  • CBN

Does some cannabis reduce appetite?

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While certain cannabinoids give you the munchies, other cannabinoids have the opposite effect. In fact, Britain’s GW Pharmaceuticals is actually experimenting with certain cannabis compounds for the treatment of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a major risk factor for obesity, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

In a 2012 clinical trial, GW researchers tested two cannabinoids as a treatment for diabetes. Specifically, they tested nonpsychoactive tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and cannabidiol (CBD) on 62 patients with type 2 diabetes.

The results were quite positive. Patients had better insulin response and greater pancreatic cell function, among several other improvement factors.

The positive clinical trial is supported by earlier pre-clinical research in animals. Another 2012 rodent study found that CBD actually decreased feeding in rats. Rodents were treated with three different cannabinoids, CBD, CBN, and CBG.

The rats that were given CBN chowed down significantly more than those given CBG, which had no apparent effect. Yet, the rats given CBD ate less than the other two models.

THCV has also had successful pre-clinical trials. In rodent models, THCV improved insulin sensitivity. When combined with CBD, mice have shown lower levels of fat buildup in the liver and reduced cholesterol. All good signs that these two cannabinoids may help people manage their weight stave off dreaded metabolic syndrome.

Skinny weed = High THCV and CBD strains

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The following strains are known for either their high THCV or high CBD content. As discussed, both of these cannabinoids seem to suppress appetite and improve metabolic function. It’s important to note, however, that the higher THC and CBN levels in the strain, the more likely you are to get the munchies.

So, if you’re picking up at a dispensary, take a peek at the testing data to make sure you’re getting more of these “skinny” cannabinoids and less of the munchie-inducing ones.

  • Harlequin (high CBD)
  • Cannatonic (high CBD)
  • ACDC (high CBD)
  • Doug’s Varin (high THCV)
  • Durban Poison (high THCV)
  • Blue Dream (high THCV, but check testing data as there are two common phenotypes for this strain.)
  • XJ-13 (high THCV)

To conclude, why do some strains suppress appetite? It all depends on their cannabinoids. THCV and CBD both improve metabolism, increase insulin sensitivity, and may contribute to less fat buildup in the liver. In animal models, CBD has even been shown to reduce caloric intake.

Want to cut back on the munchies? Opt for strains high in THCV and/or CBD.

Does cannabis increase or decrease your appetite? Have you tried any of these skinny weed strains? Share your story with us on social media or in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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Delilah Butterfield

Delilah Butterfield is a Pacific Northwest native with a passion for cannabis and natural health. Contact her on Twitter @delilahbfield.
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