In a 2013 study in the American Journal of Medicine (AJM), researchers concluded that not only do regular cannabis smokers (who indulge three-to-five times a week) have smaller waistlines, lower insulin levels and higher levels of “good cholesterol,” but they also tend to have a greater ability to metabolize carbohydrates and better metabolic indicators overall. Three previous studies suggest that those who smoke cannabis on a regular basis also hit some pretty enviable lows: lower body-mass-index measurements, lower risk of diabetes and lower likelihood of being overweight. All of this information contradicts the notion that regular tokers consume about 600 more calories per day than those who don’t partake.
Exactly what is happening physiologically is a mystery until further, cannabis research can be done, but medical professionals speculate that the brain’s cannabinoid receptors — which lead to short-term memory lapses and increased appetite when activated — may become desensitized in the chronic consumer. So, while cannabis may initially induce hunger and lead to overeating, over time it could have little effect on an individual.
While the AJM study showed that such positive metabolic outcomes tend to favor those who indulge three-to-five times a week, cannabis can still assist in weight control even for the occasional dabbler. It may seem paradoxical that a plant infamous for increasing appetite could have a slimming effect on the body, but contrary to popular belief, not all cannabis causes the munchies. In fact, at least one cannabinoid in the bunch, THCV, has been found to actually suppress the appetite.
THCV is a cannabinoid that’s beginning to receive increased attention. It shares important similarities with THC, both of which induce psychoactive effects, but THCV creates a shorter-lived high which actually blocks THC – along with the munchies that come with it. A shorter high may not be what the recreational user is looking for, but it could be ideal as a short-term appetite suppressant to help prevent snacking between meals or eating to excess at the dinner table.
THCV also creates a highly desirable buzz. Commonly found in African landrace sativas, this cannabinoid contributes to the energetic, uplifting effects that have made strains like Durban Poison, Nigerian Silk and Red Congolese among the most revered in the cannabis kingdom.
With a little smart planning and conscious eating, it turns out that cannabis can actually be an ally at the dinner table. Used strategically, THCV strains can help stave off those unwanted pounds.
Tips for Conscious Eating
- Don’t wait until hunger sets in to start eating. You’ll be more likely to chew thoroughly (which causes feeling fuller faster) and better enjoy your food when you’re focused on the nuances of the flavors instead of stuffing yourself to satisfy a ravenous appetite.
- For those who celebrate the tradition of toking up before diving into a home-cooked meal, satisfy that indulgence with a sativa strain rather than a hunger-inducing indica.
- If a strain high in THCV is not available, consider waiting until mealtime is over before lighting up. With food already in your system, you’ll be much less likely to have munchies to contend with.
- If struck with the munchies, use it as an excuse to get in the recommended nine servings of tasty fruits and vegetables per day.
- Nothing is as effective at preventing weight gain as exercise. Enjoy a little sativa and get your heart rate up, whether it be parking far from an entrance and walking to it briskly, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or taking a neighborhood stroll after dinner.
TELL US, have you ever tried using cannabis for weight loss?