Weed Help Lose Weight
5 min

Can Weed Help You Lose Weight?

5 min

Cannabis is said to be an appetite-booster because it promotes the "munchies". However, research argues that it can also help with weight loss. Today, we'll take a deeper look at how all of this is connected.

When people talk about cannabis use in regard to food intake, the “munchies” automatically come to mind. Without getting too scientific, it’s the phenomenon that causes people to feel unusually hungry after smoking some reefer.

But, even with that increased appetite, various studies claim that cannabis users have a reduced likelihood of being overweight.

Now, why is that? How exactly does cannabis use affect a person’s weight? A more intriguing question would be, could marijuana use help you lose weight?

This article should provide answers to these questions, or, at the very least, provide some form of clarity.

Related article

Why Does Cannabis Give You The Munchies?

Can Cannabis Help You Lose Weight?

Can Cannabis Help You Lose Weight?

Even those in favour of the theory that marijuana use can contribute to weight loss generally believe it has more to do with the herb’s effects on various bodily functions than with the herb itself. But, in an attempt to find a comprehensive answer, we must first understand how the two are connected.

Understanding Cannabis and Weight Loss

Weight loss entails a lot of moving parts. But here’s the simplest explanation: when you create a calorie deficit, you lose weight.

See, your body constantly burns calories every single day. It does so even as it performs the most basic functions, like breathing or pumping blood. This is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR).

You create a caloric deficit by limiting food intake and exercising. Once this happens, your body begins to use up the stored fat to give you energy.

But where does cannabis fit in this picture? There are several possibilities.

Cannabis and the Gut

Lose Weight: Cannabis and Gut

One theory is that cannabis use could assist with weight loss through its impact on the gut.

Let's take for example this 2015 study conducted on both diet-induced obese (DIO) and lean mice. Each group was given daily doses of THC: 2mg/kg for 3 weeks and 4mg/kg for an extra week.

Results showed the DIO mice treated with THC to display reduced fat mass, weight gain, and energy intake. Furthermore, researchers noted prevention of body weight increase linked to a high-fat diet, and a reduction in adiposity rates.

Regarding THC’s mechanism of action in this study, researchers posit the compound may have decelerated the movement of food through the stomach.

Cannabis and Mobility

Lose Weight: Cannabis and Mobility

When your body’s in discomfort, your mobility is hampered. It hinders you from doing anything productive, including exercise. And, as we know, exercise is one of the key components of weight loss and an overall healthy lifestyle.

But, as recent research has sought to determine, might cannabis have potential in providing relief? THC, in particular, has been the subject of much investigation in this arena.

In terms of in-depth research, we can consider this 2015 systematic review that included 79 clinical trials on cannabinoids for medical use.

Cannabis and Mood

Lose Weight: Cannabis and Mood

For some of you, the term “negative affectivity” may be a foreign concept. In a nutshell, it’s a personality trait that causes someone to experience negative emotions and low self-esteem.

Negative affectivity is strongly connected to mental health conditions, which, in turn, can cause people to resort to living unhealthily.

But, cannabis is also being explored for its potential to relieve these conditions as well. A recent study on medical cannabis users emphasises just that.

Despite a lack of conclusive results, you can try to establish your own connection between cannabis and reducing negative affectivity to encourage a more active lifestyle.

Cannabis and Sleep

Lose Weight: Cannabis and Sleep

Sleep is an integral part of life. That goes without saying. During those hours of slumber, our bodies take the time to repair any damage and enhance other functions.

Lack of sleep, of course, causes more harm than good. In terms of weight management, studies have found a link between sleep deprivation and excess weight. According to researchers, those who are sleep-deprived are more prone to higher caloric intake, especially if they have easy access to food.

If you happen to have sleeping troubles, cannabis may be of help. Those who smoke a heavy Kush to fall asleep at night are no strangers to the sleep-promoting benefits of weed. And, according to this 2017 review, researchers feel the same way. Specifically, THC appears to be the main factor behind this phenomenon.

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Cannabis and Metabolism

Lose Weight: Cannabis and Metabolism

Earlier on, we mentioned how certain studies claim cannabis users have a lower body mass index. In this section, we’ll explain the possible reasons why that could be.

According to a 2018 study, one theory is that high doses of cannabis may produce strong sleep-promoting effects. In turn, it may reduce the urge to consume food.

Another study theorises that since recreational cannabis legalization gained traction, binge drinking has decreased. And we all know that alcoholic beverages can be quite high in calories.

As for cannabis’ effect on metabolism, researchers from the aforementioned 2018 study see a link between diet, endocannabinoid production, and weight gain. More specifically, those who eat food with a high omega-6/omega-3 content have higher levels of anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in their bodies, and thus are thought to be more predisposed to dysregulation in metabolic function.

But, according to the same study, researchers think cannabis may help in lowering both anandamide and 2-AG levels, thus stabilising metabolic function.

What About the Munchies?

Lose Weight: Cannabis Munchies

You’ve seen it in movies like Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle; smoking a good amount of marijuana may urge an individual to consume a copious amount of food.

The portrayal of the “munchies” in these films may be a bit hyperbolic, but they’re not too far-fetched. But, what exactly causes these sudden cravings?

According to research, it all lies in the olfactory bulb, which processes smell. In an experiment done on lab rats, THC was studied for its ability to increase the sensation of smell and taste when eating food.

Ultimately, the study implies that if marijuana use heightens the sensations related to food, it could potentially boost the appetite.

CBD could be an effective alternative to control the munchies, along with these following practices:

  • Keep yourself busy: Instead of going on those short trips to the fridge or pantry, keep yourself productive. Learn a new skill. Exercise. Meditate. These can help ward off the munchie attack.

  • Brush your teeth: Having the taste of minty toothpaste in your mouth is never appetising. It prevents you from wanting to eat anything. Do this whenever you feel like munching on something.

  • Chug some water: Replace those food cravings with a chug of water. You’re keeping yourself hydrated while refraining from unnecessary snacking.

  • Munch on something healthy: If you really can’t help yourself from eating something, go with a healthy option. A bowl of frozen grapes, some carrots, and a few pieces of dark chocolate are good examples.

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10 Healthy Snacks For When The Munchies Strike

Is CBD Good for Weight Loss?

CBD Good for Weight Loss

Speaking of CBD, what is its potential concerning weight loss? More research needs to be done, but current investigations are focusing on:

  • Helping with appetite control: Researchers are eager to see if CBD potentially helps control appetite by reducing food intake.

  • Effectively breaking down fat: CBD has been studied as a target for helping to break down fat a lot more efficiently.

  • Lowering the risk of metabolic dysfunction: Furthermore, research is looking into cannabidiol’s potential to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol.

Can Cannabis Help With Weight Gain?

Cannabis Help With Weight Gain

For those struggling with certain conditions, weight gain is imperative. And, based on recent research, this is another area in which marijuana use may be deemed beneficial.

It’s the perceived appetite-stimulating effect of THC that’s believed to be primarily responsible for this development. As a result, researchers are looking at the possibility of using cannabis as a regulatory compound for appropriate weight management.

Which Cannabis Strain Is Best for Weight Loss?

Cannabis Strain Best for Weight Loss

THC and CBD have received the lion’s share of research in regard to weight loss. As such, if you’re looking to lose or maintain weight, perhaps you’d like a strain with both cannabinoids; this way, you get the best of both worlds.

One such cultivar that satisfies this requirement is Stress Killer Automatic, a 1:1 strain that offers a subtle high without overwhelming the mind. And there are more options where that came from!

Stress Killer Automatic (Royal Queen Seeds) feminized

Parents: Lemon Haze x Juanita la Lagrimosa x Ruderalis
Genetics: Ruderalis/Indica/Sativa
Flowering Time: 10-11 weeks from seed to harvest
THC: 11%
CBD: High
Flowering Type: Autoflowering

THCV for Weight Loss

Many of you are probably scratching your head after reading this. No, it’s not a typo. THCV is also a cannabinoid, but it’s not as popular as THC or CBD. Science says it probably has some psychotropic effects, but only when taken in higher doses.

Concerning weight loss, studies have looked into THCV's potential to limit appetite. Researchers are currently examining the cannabinoid’s ability to inhibit CB1 receptors as a potential mechanism of action.

For those interested in giving this cannabinoid a try, there are strains on the market that are high in THCV, including THC-Victory and numerous others.

THCV (Kannabia) feminized

Parents: Pure Sativa
Genetics: 100% Sativa
Flowering Time: 9-10 weeks
THC: 7%
CBD: 0-1%
Flowering Type: Photoperiod

Weed and Weight Loss: Does It Really Work?

Weed and Weight Loss

As mentioned before, a lot of factors play into healthy weight loss, and weight gain for that matter. But, as recent studies have shown, there is a case to be made for using cannabis alongside proven weight loss techniques.

Of course, when it comes to actually using cannabis, make sure you're opting for methods that don't promote weight gain. In other words, munching on sweet or salty edibles isn't the best way to create a deficit. Consider vaping instead!

Regardless of how effective cannabis is as a weight-loss tool, the one proven method that works is to create a caloric deficit. That means eating the right food, in the appropriate amount, while supplementing it with regular exercise.

Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
With an AB Mass Media and Communications degree, Miguel Ordoñez is a veteran writer of 13 years and counting and has been covering cannabis-related content since 2017. Continuous, meticulous research along with personal experience has helped him build a deep well of knowledge on the subject.
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