You probably never thought that cannabis could help you to lose weight – the same herb notorious for giving its users the munchies. But new research into peculiar strains suggests that there are strains that can help you to slim down. While reducing your calorie intake will help to lower your weight, most regular cannabis users consume indica-dominant strains, that can significantly increase your appetite, making you crave foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugars.
However, the appetite suppressant effects of some cannabinoids are noteworthy, and the right strain really can make it easier to shed a few unwanted pounds.
Why does cannabis increase your appetite?
The primary cannabinoids in cannabis stimulate your appetite, hence why you get hungry. Recreational smokers take the plant for its THC, a psychoactive compound that happens to boost appetite. THC locks onto receptors that would otherwise link up with endocannabinoids such as anandamide – these chemicals are produced endogenously.
Research has found that endocannabinoids play a crucial role in the body’s metabolism and appetite. Perhaps most importantly, these messengers instruct the release of ghrelin, also known as the “hunger hormone.” Some compounds in marijuana activate the same cannabinoid receptors in the digestive tract and brain that endocannabinoids do.
Therefore, after taking THC, your belly tends to start rumbling and you go off in search of food. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBN (cannabinol) are the cannabinoids which have the biggest known impact on appetite.
So, can some cannabis decrease your appetite?
Not all cannabinoids induce the munchies, however. GW Pharmaceuticals, a British company developing cannabis-based drugs, is currently trying to find the perfect cannabinoid combination to treat metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity and strokes.
GW researchers experimented with CBD (cannabidiol) and THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) for their potential as a diabetes treatment in a clinical trial. A total of 62 patients, all with type 2 diabetes, took part in the study.
The study produced some positive findings, with patients noting improved pancreatic cell function, enhanced insulin response and progress in several other areas.
This 2012 human research backed up findings of other pre-clinical studies that were done on animals. In 2012, a study revealed that CBD could reduce the food intake of rats. The research also investigated the appetite-suppressant properties of CBN and CBG (cannabigerol).
The rats treated with CBN experienced an increase in appetite, compared to CBG, which appeared to have no impact on the rats’ appetite. However, the rats administered CBD consumed less on average than the other two groups.
Pre-clinical rodent research on THCV has also thrown up intriguing data. The cannabinoid improved insulin sensitivity when given as an isolated treatment and helped to limit the build-up of fat in the liver and decrease cholesterol when administered alongside CBD. From this, researchers gleaned that a CBD-THCV combo could be of serious benefit to patients with metabolic syndrome, and others simply looking to control their weight.
Best strains for weight loss
Therefore, we can presume that the best strains for weight loss are high in CBD and THCV. Both cannabinoids improve the metabolism and have a suppressant effect on appetite. However, just because a strain is high in CBD and THCV doesn’t mean it’ll help you lose weight, if it’s also rich in appetite stimulators THC and CBN.
Before purchasing a strain for weight management, pay close attention to the test results, which should state the cannabinoid profile, helping you to make the right pick.
Cannatonic, Harlequin and ACDC are three brilliant high-CBD strains. Durban Poison and Doug’s Varin are two of the best-known THCV-rich strains, although they can be hard to come by. Blue Dream is also popular, but be careful, as the strain has two phenotypes with vastly different cannabinoid profiles.
We can deduce that the cannabinoids have the deciding influence on whether a strain will increase or reduce appetite. Strains rich in CBN and THC will likely give you the munchies, whereas THCV and CBD have the opposite effect. Overall caloric intake can also be reduced with CBD, according to preliminary research on animal models.
Do you use cannabis to stimulate or manage your appetite? If so, which strains have you had the most success with? Leave a comment below.