Everyone knows that cannabis can cause the munchies. So, why aren’t more cannabis consumers overweight? For decades, herb lovers have been plagued by the stereotypical image of the skinny hippie. Now, new science suggests that there may be a reason this image prevails. As it turns out, cannabis may actually help you lose weight.
Weed for weight loss?
Cannabis consumers reportedly have lower body mass indexes (BMI) and smaller waistlines than nonconsumers. This is true even though additional research suggests that herb lovers eat an average of 600 more calories per day.
Additional evidence suggests that cannabis consumers are more active, have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and 16 percent lower fasting insulin levels. Cannabis consumers are also less likely to be obese. In fact, a 2011 study found that regular cannabis consumption was associated with reduced obesity rates by roughly one-third.
How you can lose weight with weed
Rodent research published in PLoS One back in 2015 may have an answer. The study found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) treatment reduced weight gain, fat gain, and energy intake in obese mice. THC is the chemical compound that causes the famous cannabis “high.” The rodents had become obese after being given foods that caused them to gain weight.
The mice were treated with THC daily for three weeks and the dosage of cannabinoid was increased on the fourth week. While the compound inspired weight loss in obese mice, it did not cause weight loss in mice that were already lean.
To get to the bottom of these results, Canadian scientists studied the intestinal microbes of the mice. Inside the gut lives up to 4.4 pounds of live microorganisms. These microorganisms work synergistically with cells in the digestive tract to break down foods, maintain good health, and can promote weight loss or weight gain.
The study found that THC caused changes in the gut microbiome that are thought to contribute to healthy weight. Specifically, the psychoactive changed the ratio of weight-promoting microbes in the digestive tract to a healthier balance after being fed a high-fat diet.
While amazing, this action is not entirely surprising. It is well-known that THC has powerful antimicrobial qualities and is thought to protect the cannabis plant from pathogenic infections.
Types of cannabis for weight loss
THC is not the only cannabis compound that is expected to encourage weight loss. Research has shown that cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid that does not cause a high, can block some of THC’s effect on appetite. Additional research shows that CBD can reduce appetite and feeding time in rodents. CBD is found in strains like:
Research in the field of obesity and diabetes suggests that the cannabis compound tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) may also promote weight loss in rodents as well as balance blood sugar, reduce inflammation of the pancreas, and improve insulin sensitivity. Strains high in THCV include:
Of course, simply smoking cannabis is not the only factor that may contribute to weight loss. Physical exercise, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, stress reduction, and pleasurable social activities all promote good health and lend a hand in weight management.