Pop culture portrayals of the typical cannabis user might lead you to believe cannabis is great for increasing your appetite. Stereotypes show these people getting “the munchies” almost constantly. This is good news for people who have a depressed appetite, but what about for those who want to gain weight?
Perhaps surprisingly, most evidence suggests cannabis users have slimmer waistlines and healthier body weights. More research shows cannabis may be an effective tool for weight management at both ends of the scale. As much as it may help those trying to combat the effects of a suppressed appetite, those who want to manage their appetites to achieve weight loss may also benefit from cannabis.
How might medical cannabis help with weight loss? There are several mechanisms at play.
1. Different Cannabinoids
If you’ve conducted research on medical cannabis, you know there are many different strains. Different strains emphasize different effects. Some promote sleep, while others promote wakefulness. Similarly, there are some strains that may promote appetite while others may suppress it.
The “munchies” stereotype is mostly associated with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is typically found in high doses in indica strains. THC, however, is just one of many different cannabinoids.
It turns out different cannabinoids have different effects on the appetite. While THC tends to promote hunger and appetite, cannabidiol (CBD) actually seems to suppress the appetite. Getting a strain high in CBD could decrease your appetite, promoting weight loss.
2. Controlling Blood Sugars
Just as CBD and THC have different effects, so too do other cannabinoids. While THC and CBD are more common than other cannabinoids, the effects of the lesser-known cannabinoids could be just as important when it comes to weight loss.
Some studies suggest tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) could play a role in regulating blood sugar. Blood sugar levels affect the experience of hunger. High blood sugar suppresses the appetite, while low blood sugar promotes hunger. Low blood sugar also leads people to make poorer nutritional choices, such as picking a donut over a piece of fruit.
High blood sugar also promotes weight gain and can lead to insulin insensitivity. Insulin also impacts the experience of hunger and weight management. Better control of blood sugar levels can help people manage hunger and allow them to make better nutritional choices.
3. Promoting Focus
Much like people using cannabis on TV and in movies always have the munchies, they also tend to be relaxed and prone to sleeping. Indica strains, heavy with THC, fit this description.
Sativa strains, on the other hand, tend to turn these stereotypes on their head. Sativa strains of medical cannabis claim to suppress appetite. They may also promote awareness, focus, and mental alertness. Sativa strains may help people find mental clarity and get up and do things.
While usually still associated with calm, Sativa strains can lead to a person becomes intently focused on the task at hand.
In many cases, the task at hand is exercise. Sativa strains, then, may promote physical activity. They may also increase the pleasure the patients derive from the activity they choose to focus on. You may not become a sports star overnight, but exercising may become much more pleasurable.
Is It the Right Choice?
Medical cannabis may be an effective tool for assisting in weight loss. It’s safer than some other medications used to promote weight loss. Used in combination with a healthy diet and exercise, medical cannabis could be the right choice for you on your weight loss journey.