Ah, April 20th, or “420”, the day marijuana smokers around the world celebrate the plant that brings joy and relief to so many. Over the last several years, medical marijuana has grown to be a popular and effective treatment for a range of ailments. But what about weight loss?
Well, the relationship between marijuana and weight loss is a little complicated. On the one hand, marijuana is known to stimulate appetite, which could lead to weight gain. On the other hand, it has also been shown to have some potential weight-loss benefits, such as increasing metabolism and reducing inflammation.
So, does marijuana help or harm your weight loss efforts? The answer may depend on a variety of factors, including your metabolism, diet, and overall health. The kind of strain, frequency of use, activity level after consumption, and how hard those munchies hit are all factors as well. (Hint: If you’re locked to the couch with a bag of Doritos, it’s probably not helping your weight loss efforts. Otherwise…)
How Marijuana Affects Appetite
The main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain’s hypothalamus. These receptors are involved in a variety of functions, including regulating appetite. When THC binds to these receptors, it can increase the sensation of hunger. This is why people who smoke marijuana often experience a strong craving for food, also known as “the munchies”.
There are a few reasons why marijuana might increase appetite. First, THC can increase the levels of certain hormones in the brain that promote hunger, such as ghrelin and neuropeptide Y. Second, THC can decrease the levels of certain hormones that suppress hunger, such as leptin. Third, THC can interfere with the brain’s ability to send signals of fullness.
How Marijuana Affects Metabolism
Despite the effects of cannabis on appetite, several studies have revealed a surprising correlation between marijuana use and lower BMI (body mass index) measurements. Users in these studies not only had significantly lower BMI than non-users, but generally consumed more calories too. This indicates that marijuana may increase metabolism, which could lead to weight loss.
While it may have some direct effect on metabolism, marijuana’s real impact may be a result of its role in…
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Improving mobility and increasing physical activity
- Improving quality of sleep
- Reducing stress
How Marijuana Affects Inflammation
Inflammation is one of the body’s natural defense mechanisms, a reaction to protect against infection and injury. However, chronic inflammation can contribute to a variety of health problems, including obesity.
Marijuana has anti-inflammatory properties that could help to reduce chronic inflammation. Studies have shown that marijuana can reduce inflammation in the brain, gut, and other parts of the body. Reduced inflammation could lead to weight loss by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing the risk of insulin resistance. It can also promote more mobility and physical activity by relieving the aches and pains associated with inflammation.
- The type of marijuana you use can affect your weight. Indica strains are more likely to cause the munchies, while sativa strains are more likely to promote energy and focus.
- How much marijuana you consume can also affect your weight. People who smoke more marijuana may be more likely to experience weight gain.
- Your individual metabolism and genetics can also play a role in how marijuana affects your weight. Some people are more likely to gain weight from marijuana use than others.
- If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Marijuana use should not be used as a substitute for healthy lifestyle habits.
The Bottom Line
So, what’s the truth? Does marijuana help or hurt weight loss? The conclusion is… it depends. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, and the effects of marijuana on weight loss will vary from person to person. If you’re concerned about the effects of marijuana on your weight, talk to your medical provider.
In the meantime, Happy 420!