Until recently, marijuana hasn’t been widely regarded as a weight loss product. Well-known for causing the munchies, for a long time the rule of thought was that it would make you gain weight. Well, as it turns out, this way of thinking may be outdated. It has everyone asking, does weed help you lose weight?
Recent studies are suggesting that not only does weed not make you fat, it might actually help you lose weight. How can that be? It is thought to be due to it’s interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex system in the body that maintains homeostasis. It has an effect on your behavior, your mood and your appetite. It also plays a pretty important role in the way your body accumulates fat. An over-active ECS can cause obesity.
Cannabis interacts with the ECS by interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the body. It could cause you to feel “the munchies” by activating CB1 receptors in the gut, thusly making you feel less satiated. However, when researchers sought to discover if the munchies made it more likely for cannabis users to be obese, they found the opposite.
A scientific review in 2011 concluded that obesity rates were actually higher among people who didn’t use marijuana. Additional studies have corroborated this finding. And not only that, but science has shown that cannabis consumers tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI), despite also showing an increased intake of calories.
Even though cannabis may give you the munchies, marijuana doesn’t make you fat. The question is, does weed make you skinny? So far, research is proven to be compelling. Another recent study has discovered that marijuana users have a lower level of fasting insulin. Lowering insulin levels is essential to losing weight. Interestingly, researchers also found that marijuana users have a smaller waist size.
However, science has not yet figured out why cannabis might help weight loss. Researchers have theorized that perhaps cannabis affects the metabolism. So far, the most likely answer is thought to be that cannabis’ weight loss effects may be more indirect.
Now, we know that cannabis doesn’t cause obesity. We’ve learned that weed may actually encourage lower insulin levels. This leaves us wondering, “How does cannabis help you lose weight?”
For starters, weed can help increase your levels of activity. Cannabis is well-known as an anti-inflammatory. This may be a catalyst to getting active and staying active. By reducing muscle and joint inflammation, it may ease the symptoms of soreness and stiffness that come with physical activity.
In fact, more and more athletes are turning to cannabis products like CBD oil to help improve recovery time. The idea is to potentially help in combating soreness and inflammation. Some athletes say that weed helps make exercising easier. Studies have also shown that marijuana might actually motivate people to work out. It seems the stereotype of a lazy stoner with the munchies might be a thing of the past.
Research has also been looking into marijuana and its effects on the body’s metabolism. So far, preliminary findings are showing positive results. This study in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research (2018) found that cannabis could increase the body’s metabolic rate. However, this finding might be dependent on the individual’s diet.
Cannabis has also been shown to improve sleep for some users. Proper sleep which may also aid in weight-loss. Poor sleep can cause changes to the body that affect your appetite, which can lead to unwanted weight gain. Cannabis can also lower stress and for some consumers, reduce alcohol intake. Stress and alcohol may lead to weight-gain and this may alleviate these contributing factors.
Before you start labeling cannabis as a weight loss ticket, there are a couple of things that are good to know. Specifically, if you don’t exercise and maintain unhealthy eating habits, cannabis may not help you all that much. In addition, smoking weed might affect your lungs, which could in turn affect your ability to exercise and maintain healthy fitness levels.
By itself, a cannabis diet most likely will not get you to that number on the scale you’ve been hoping for. Sorry, but so far the science isn’t altogether conclusive in confirming weed as a weight loss drug. Remember, cannabis can’t erase the calories in that box of donuts or cheeseburger.
However, in conjunction with healthy eating, exercise, and plenty of sleep, it may be able to help the body maintain a healthy BMI. What is most encouraging about all of this new research is the idea that marijuana alone doesn’t cause consumers to become obese. Of course, more studies are needed to fully comprehend the weight loss benefits of cannabis.