Medical Marijuana and Its Impact on Your Metabolism

Updated on November 12, 2020

In the past few years, marijuana has received widespread acclaim in the medical community for its ability to effectively and treat various conditions, ranging from chronic pain to anxiety. Recently, it was established that weed is equally effective at helping patients to lose weight.

This sounds intriguing and confusing, given that stoners always seem to have a ravenous appetite. Surprisingly, studies have indicated that you don’t always get the munchies from consuming cannabis. Here’s everything you need to know about the impact of medical marijuana on metabolism.

Cannabis and Obesity Rates

If you’re trying to shed weight with the help of marijuana, you’ll hear some classic stoner stereotypes. For instance, you might be told that marijuana users consume more calories, and common sense tells us that more calorie intake equates to weight gain.

Well, according to a study report published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, medical marijuana users are less likely to be obese compared to the general population. The study established that the proportion of overweight participants reduced with the frequency of marijuana use.

Although marijuana use stimulates appetite in laboratory studies and clinical trials, users are less likely to be overweight than non-users. Research has also shown that although regular cannabis use is linked to a higher calorie intake, it lowers users’ BMI and fat mass.

Therefore, although medical marijuana users tend to eat more than non-users, they often weigh less. On average, marijuana users consume up to 834 extra calories a day, yet their BMI is considerably lower than that of non-users. This clearly suggests that cannabis users have higher metabolic rates.

Facts Behind the Science

To properly understand how cannabis affects your metabolism, you first need to have an idea about your endocannabinoid system. This is a network of receptors in your body and brain, also referred to as cannabinoid receptors. The endocannabinoid system connects part of your brain that controls hormonal production, pleasure centers, emotion, and movement. It also connects these brain parts to corresponding body parts.

The vast chemical network is the primary reason why we experience sensations such as appetite and pleasure. Whenever you feel hungry, an endocannabinoid called anandamide gets released into your system. This chemical is replaced by THC whenever you consume marijuana and activates the CB1 receptor.

Since the CB1 receptor potentially causes obesity, replacing it helps to keep your body weight in check. Research has also established that dysfunction in the endocannabinoid system causes metabolic syndrome. Individuals who suffer from metabolic conditions tend to have overstimulated CB1 receptors.

Contradictory Cannabinoids

One surprising fact about marijuana is that you take in two compounds that contradict each other by consuming it. While THC elevates your appetite by binding to your brain’s CB1 receptors, CBD deactivates the receptors. This goes a long way in reducing overall food intake. When you consume marijuana, you’re essentially taking in compounds that enhance your metabolism and leave you feeling hungry (THC). At the same time, you consume CBD, which mitigates that metabolic deregulation.

There’s more to marijuana-aided weight loss than elevated metabolic rates. This isn’t merely a matter of the body breaking down what you eat faster. A recent study showed that people who use medical marijuana regularly also drink less and have a lower calorie intake. Besides, it helps you to sleep better, relieves body pain, and reduces stress levels. These are some of the things that give you the impetus to start and stick to a weight-loss plan.

Best Marijuana Strains for Weight Loss

There are thousands of marijuana strains, with each of them having a different chemical composition. Medical marijuana doctors often recommend strains rich in tetrahydrocannabivarin, a compound that helps suppress appetite. These strains include:

  • Durban Poison

As the name suggests, this marijuana strain originates from South Africa. It’s characterized by a sweet and earthy flavor and is packed with tons of energy. Consuming this strain leaves you feeling energized, which is just what you need to hit the gym.

  • Green Crack

This strain is known for its distinctive sweet taste and instant high. Nevertheless, its quick-acting effects tend to be short-lived. It helps to enhance your energy and focus.

  • Super Silver Haze

This is a Sativa-dominant marijuana strain, which offers a clear-headed high. It’s a hybrid between Skunk #1, Northern Lights, and Haze strains. It not only boosts your energy levels but also leaves you feeling relaxed.

It’s a no-brainer that the medical community is gradually embracing marijuana. With more marijuana-focused studies being undertaken, people are getting to understand this miracle plant better. One of the benefits that have been unearthed is that marijuana can increase users’ metabolic rates, thus helping them to lose weight. However, before embarking on marijuana medication, it’s best to consult medical marijuana doctors so that a personalized treatment journey is mapped out for you.

Throughout the year, our writers feature fresh, in-depth, and relevant information for our audience of 40,000+ healthcare leaders and professionals. As a healthcare business publication, we cover and cherish our relationship with the entire health care industry including administrators, nurses, physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and more. We cover a broad spectrum from hospitals to medical offices to outpatient services to eye surgery centers to university settings. We focus on rehabilitation, nursing homes, home care, hospice as well as men’s health, women’s heath, and pediatrics.