“My weight goes up and down. I’m worried that use of weed will make things worse. But I’ve been told that in some cases it can help cut pounds. So what’s the story?”
Lots of people have that question about both recreational and medical marijuana. On one hand, cannabis with strong doses of THC is known to give people the munchies. On the other, some cannabinoids, such as THCV are known to suppress appetite and so can have a role in a weight-loss program.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin is very similar in chemical structure to THC, and also has some mild psychoactive effects, but it acts as an appetite suppressant. THCV tends to be found in Sativa cannabis strains such as Doug’s Varin, Durban Poison, and Pineapple Purps.
And even the story with THC isn’t cut and dry. Some research has shown that the body mass index (BMI) of cannabis users tends to be lower than non-users. While more research needs to be done, some early studies suggest that “THC reduced weight gain, fat mass gain and energy uptake.”.
THCV is sometimes known as the “skinny pot” or “diet weed” for its ability to suppress appetite. Marijuana with the cannabinoid works with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to regulate appetite. While THC might activate the CB1 receptor to stimulate appetite, THCV does the opposite, blocking the receptor and clamping down on hunger pangs.
Besides helping with a weight-loss program, THCV might have other health benefits as well, such as regulating blood sugar and promoting glycemic control in type 2 diabetics; fighting against seizures, tremors, and other motor control issues when used in with other cannabinoids; and helping reduce bone marrow loss in people with osteoporosis.
Marijuana terpenes might also help with weight loss. Terpenes found in the cannabis plant are the essential oils produced by the plant’s resin glands that are responsible for a strain’s aroma and taste. They also may provide a range of health benefits.
One terpene, humulene, may be known for its star role in flavoring beer, but it can do much more. Humulene is known as alpha-caryophyllene, because of its relationship to beta-caryophyllene (BCS), another terpene found in cannabis and many other plants.
Research suggests that humulene can suppress appetite and help with weight loss. Humelene may also play a role in fighting inflammation, have antibacterial and antifungal properties, act as a natural insecticide, and reduce cancerous cells.
Diet and exercise are cornerstones of any program designed to reduce weight and maintain health. Some studies show that weed can help prolong a “runner’s high” — the euphoric state of wellbeing that can spur the runner to even longer and harder effort, burning off further calories.
One study suggests that exercise increases the amount of endocannabinoids circulating in the body, increasing the sense of wellbeing. In the same vein, cannabis cannabinoid ingredients bind to cannabinoid receptors of your body, which may help boost the high. These receptors also control mood, appetite, pain and memory, and may give you the means to push through an intense workout.