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How Medical Marijuana Can Play a Role in Weight Loss

how medical marijuana can play a role in weight loss

If anything is a testament to the desire for people to lose weight, it is the overwhelming demand for Semaglutide or Ozempic medications. By the last quarter of 2022, more than 9 million patients were prescribed the medication designed for type 2 diabetes management.

The positive side effect of GLP-1 receptor agonist medications is weight loss. However, the adverse side effects can range from chronic nausea to recurrent pancreatitis, an increased risk of developing thyroid C-cell tumors, and potential kidney damage.

For some, the risks associated with weight loss medications are worth the results. In cases of extreme obesity, Semaglutide can be a life-saving medication. But for many, finding a natural way to avoid weight gain and shed some extra pounds means exploring alternative health options.

We’ve all heard of (or experienced) “the munchies” and how cannabis users may endure some pretty intense cravings after marijuana use. Certain strains can stimulate appetite. However, other strains can reduce appetite and help with weight loss.

The Relationship Between Medical Marijuana and Weight Loss

does marijuana help with weight loss

Cannabis can make you feel hungry. In fact, the stimulated snack attack that consuming cannabis may cause is legendary. Many people have a story where they consumed far too much food after getting a bad case of the munchies.

Patients who suffer from appetite loss caused by Cachexia or eating disorders may be certified for medical marijuana treatment. Some patients have restored their appetite and healthy body weight by using cannabis prior to meals or snacks. Cannabidiol (CBD) may also reduce gastrointestinal inflammation and nausea, resulting in an increased appetite.

However, many strains of cannabis may actually curb the urge to eat. Some strains have minor cannabinoids and terpene content that may help people who want to lose weight naturally without taking medications for weight loss treatment.

How Does Cannabis Influence Human Metabolism?

Does cannabis have an impact on your metabolism? You bet it does! Cannabinoids affect a large network of neural receptors in the human body called the endocannabinoid system.

The ECS regulates a variety of processes that impact appetite, stress response, and energy storage. The endocannabinoid system is responsible, in part, for how efficiently you burn calories.

Why Cannabidiol Can Help You Lose Weight

Cannabidiol (CBD) does not directly bind to CB1 receptors. Nonetheless, the major cannabinoid helps regulate a lot of metabolic processes. Some studies have suggested that CBD may increase “fat browning,” while medical cannabis alone does not have the same effect.

Fat browning is the process where white adipose fat (where most excess energy is stored in the body) is converted to brown adipose tissue or brown fat. However, it is not the color of the fat cells that matters; rather, how they behave. White fat cells are stubborn and resist being broken down and converted to energy. Brown fat tissue, on the other hand, actually burns calories and generates heat.

Several global studies suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) may boost your metabolism by converting cells from white fat to brown adipose tissue. Interestingly, when individuals begin to lose weight at a safe and healthy rate, they may notice that areas of fat deposits feel different. Brown adipose tissue is softer because it is broken down and used as energy.

So, if the areas on your abdomen, upper thighs, hips, or underarms are feeling less dense, you are on the right track! Brown fat becomes softer as it is used for energy in the body. Take it as a sign that your efforts are paying off, and if you can’t find high CBD ratio medical marijuana products near you, consider taking a daily CBD supplement.

Exercising May Be Easier With Medical Marijuana

marijuana and exercise

Completing daily exercises with marijuana may be easier if you have chronic pain. When you feel discomfort from knee, lower back, or shoulder pain, sometimes the slightest movement can exacerbate your symptoms. Patients suffering from neuropathy in the legs or feet may also struggle to move enough each day to burn calories sufficient for healthy weight management.

Chronic pain remains the most common reason that patients explore medical marijuana. By mitigating some pain, individuals may feel motivated to exercise more often, helping reduce unwanted weight gain.

Exercise does not have to be high-intensity training. For example, yoga, health, and marijuana go hand in hand for gentle stretches that improve flexibility and balance and relieve stress.

Insulin Sensitivity and Glucose Metabolism Dysfunction

People who have type 2 diabetes produce insufficient levels of insulin. Over time, cells throughout the body can develop insulin resistance. Some people can produce healthy insulin levels, but the cells in their bodies do not respond as effectively as they should.

Insulin resistance can be caused by genetic factors, type 2 diabetes, low physical activity, and a diet high in carbohydrates. Insulin resistance is similar to chronic inflammation, and it is the primary cause of type 2 diabetes.

Some studies suggest that major cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD,) may help regulate metabolism, enhance mitochondrial function, and reduce inflammation. All three may contribute to successful weight management and body mass index (BMI).

Appetite Suppression and Regulation: Does Cannabis Reduce Hunger?

Overall, while cannabis, especially high potency Indica strains, may initially increase appetite, the long-term effects on appetite suppression and regulation are still being studied. Individual responses to cannabis can vary widely, and factors such as strain potency, dosage, frequency of use, and overall lifestyle habits may influence its impact on appetite.

Further research is needed to understand better how different cannabinoids interact with the ECS and other physiological pathways involved in appetite regulation, as well as their potential therapeutic implications for weight management. Some people gain weight, while others find that over time, cannabis may contribute to a healthier lower body mass index.

Stress Management and Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight

Many studies have shown that cannabis may provide anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) benefits for patients who take it regularly. Cannabis can help regulate the release of certain neurotransmitters that trigger anxiety or stress responses, like gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin.

If you are feeling less stressed, it can help stabilize the hormones that trigger hunger. Based on many online patient reviews, certain strains may provide appetite-suppressing effects. Those strains may help you dodge the munchies.

Feeling consistently high chronic stress levels can also tank your appetite and may cause involuntary weight loss. However, high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) actually make it harder for your body to burn fat and calories. In fact, cortisol can contribute to weight gain and belly fat.

Improving Sleep Quality Can Help Reduce Weight Gain

When you have a night of disrupted sleep, the day can feel pretty long. You may feel tired, irritable, and also hungry. Not for a salad, of course. The brain may be the most complex supercomputer on the planet. It knows what it needs when your fuel tank is empty.

You will crave carbohydrates, like chips, soda, bread, burgers, fries, or cereal, because they have high sugar content. Simple carbohydrates (sugar) can be metabolized into energy very quickly. The brain, as it turns out, is very smart.

Insomnia caused by sleeping disorders affects an estimated 70 million Americans. There are many reasons why sleep problems and obesity are related to internal physiological processes. For example, if you are always tired, you are less likely to visit a gym or engage in daily exercise.

Chronic pain is a leading cause of insomnia. Pain symptoms can make it difficult to fall asleep, but recurrent pain throughout the night can prevent you from spending enough time in REM and deep sleep cycles. That can leave you feeling exhausted when you step out of bed.

Chronic sleep disruption has a higher potential to mess with your metabolism compared to not sleeping well periodically. Insomnia is a triple threat because it can negatively impact your immune system, contribute to mental health issues, and increase the probability of gaining weight, as fatigue can make you reach for caffeine and high-carbohydrate foods and beverages.

The Impact of Medical Marijuana on Obesity Management

mmj clinic near me

There are myths and misconceptions about marijuana users. One of the most prevailing stereotypes is that people who use cannabis are lazy, inactive, and constantly overeat. That is how Hollywood portrays the cannabis lifestyle, but it’s actually not accurate at all.

Recent studies have shown that average cannabis users are fit and active. Daytime use strains (Sativas) can actually stimulate feelings of energy, relief from stress, and talkativeness. Remember to discuss your weight loss goals with a cannabis healthcare provider for expert suggestions.

Does Cannabis Increase or Reduce Food Cravings?

Depending on the cannabis strain you choose, it can either suppress appetite or cause increased appetite. When you are researching new medical marijuana strains online, look closely at the strain attributes. If the strain is known to cause an increase in appetite, bypass it and choose a strain that doesn’t cause the munchies.

What Cannabis Strains Are Best for Weight Control?

If weight loss is your goal, you should know that Sativa and Indica strains can have different effects. Sativa cannabis more commonly causes an increase in energy but not appetite. In comparison, Indica strains are usually the culprit when the dreaded munchies strike.

Strains that have lower THC potency levels and high ratios of cannabidiol (CBD) content may provide the best results if your goal is to reduce your weight or maintain the weight you have lost. Steer clear of the Indica’s unless you are using them to help with pain or insomnia, for late evening use.

Indica edibles are ideal for nighttime use because of the delayed onset of psychoactive symptoms. Most people begin to feel the effects of an edible approximately an hour after consuming it, but it can take up to ninety (90) minutes for the full effects. Just long enough to (hopefully) fall asleep before you feel like raiding the fridge.

Sativa Strains May Help Prevent Gains

medical marijuana treatment

When talking about Sativa cannabis strains for medical use, you may see the same suggested strains popping up over and over again. Well, if those strains were not effective for many people, they wouldn’t have such a large fan base, with high-volume sales in every state where medical cannabis is legalized.

Some of the best Sativa dominant strains (based on user reviews) to help with weight loss include:

  • Sour Diesel
  • Super Silver Haze
  • Blue Dream
  • Dutch Treat
  • Tangie
  • Pineapple Purps
  • Cannatonic

When you head to your local medical dispensary, don’t forget to tell your budtender that you are looking for strains that may help suppress appetite and cravings. Of course, you want to make sure you avoid any strain that stimulates appetite, which can make losing weight more difficult if you use cannabis on a regular basis.

Many people who are concerned about weight loss, healthy weight management, or keeping their body mass index (BMI) at a healthy level ask for ‘non-munchie” strains. Don’t worry, though; if it’s not available at the dispensary, they will have some alternative suggestions for you to try.


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