Dear Nurse Susan,
Every year I have the same New Year’s Resolution…Lose weight! I’m great for a month at most, then I eventually gain whatever weight I lost, plus some. My friend told me she was losing weight by using marijuana. Pleeeaaasssee!!! Can you imagine, claiming to lose weight by using something that is notorious for causing the munchies! Clearly she has smoked too much…but can it really help me lose weight???
Chubby, but not Gullible
The good news about cannabis and weight management is you can gain weight or lose weight depending on how you use it! To start let’s talk about how our Endocannabinoid System modulates appetite. If you are unfamiliar with the ECS, you can learn about it in this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-OEpwgv6aM&list=PLj3YZ12PT1hWGvNfxUSI0qHCFhe2gu8WX&index=3
Studies have shown that frequent cannabis consumers are less likely to be obese and have a lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes as compared to abstainers. Researchers at Oregon’s Health and Science University assessed the relationship between cannabis use and a variety of health outcomes in a nationally representative sample of 4,743 participants between the ages of 20 and 59.
They concluded, “Heavy users of cannabis had a lower mean Body Mass Index (BMI) compared to that of never users, with a mean BMI being 26.7 kg/m in heavy users and 28.4 kg/m in never users.” The finding is consistent with those of prior reviews, such as those here, here and https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/174/8/929/155851.
So, you are probably wondering, “How is this possible?”
Over activation of the CB1 receptor (commonly via THC) leads to greater food seeking behavior and appetite (“the munchies”). So, if you are trying to counter body-wasting due to cancer or HIV, this is good news indeed. If you want to gain weight using THC can play a role in increasing your appetite.
If your goal is to lose weight, minimize your THC intake and focus on your CBD and THCV intake. CBD is an appetite suppressant because it blocks the CB1 receptors and leads to decreased appetite. It also induces “fat browning” a process that turns white fat cells into beige or brown fat cells. White fat cells store energy and brown fat cells burn energy. By increasing the brown fat cells, your body reduces fat stores, improves glucose tolerance and blood lipid (cholesterol) abnormalities. (More at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27067870)
THCV is a cannabinoid found in cannabis that is an appetite suppressant. It is difficult to find cannabis strains or products with lots of THCV, but lab results show it is more common in sativa and African landrace strains such as Durban Poison and Doug’s Varin.
CBD is readily available, so let’s talk about how CBD causes weight loss. Research cited in the articles included here shows that cannabinoids can decrease appetite, increase metabolism, and reduce insulin resistance, thereby reducing the risk of weight gain, Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. The way to get started with CBD weight loss is:
- Find products or strains high in CBD. Only buy high quality CBD products (sprays, oils, etc.) with lab results readily available. Use high “CBD cannabis –based products” which contain a full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, rather than “industrial hemp” products which are a different and less complete form of CBD.
- Start with 5-10mg about an hour before your two largest meals daily. Every three days increase you dosage by 5-10 mgs per meal until you feel a result. You can’t overdose on CBD and there is no psychoactivity related to CBD. 50mgs. – 75 mgs. per meal is not too much, if needed.
- If you live in a legal state, supplementing CBD with a small amount of THC will amplify the effect of the CBD. This is known as the “entourage” effect. Use a few sprays of 18:1 or 8:1 spray before bed and you should feel no “high” and get a good night’s sleep.
Finally, realize that plant medicines are not fast acting like synthetics – patience is required! Prescription drugs have a quick result, although often they have a build-up period as well. It may take a month for you to feel the effects of a high CBD, low THC regimen. And like any medication, cannabis does not work the same for everyone.
Work it! This approach is not magic and it doesn’t mean you can eat anything you want. The appetite suppressing and metabolism boosting effects of CBD and THCV will be helped by making some lifestyle changes. Eat healthy food and in moderation, get exercise and movement, and adequate sleep is crucial for any weight loss approach.
Chubby, Give CBDs a try and see what happens. Happy New Year to you and best wishes to all with whatever your resolutions may be!
To your health!
p.s. Just for fun, I’ve included some options available to improve health. I am not recommending any of these strategies for weight and health management, but if you resonate to any of these strategies, give them a try and see how you respond. Combining the benefits of cannabinoids with positive lifestyle changes is a recipe for success!
10 Tips for better sleep:
Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What You Want, and Free Yourself from Food Drama Forever