The Truth About Weed and Weight Loss

Posted by Claire Zimmerman on January 29th, 2021

Cannabis is known to stimulate the appetite. And it would seem ironic that a substance that induces hunger could also help in weight reduction.

Find out if weed, the unsung weight-loss tool, will improve your waistline.

What's in Cannabis?

Cannabis or marijuana or drug cultivars is a complex plant that produces more than 0.3% THC. It has psychoactive and medicinal properties and contains over 100 cannabinoid compounds. The rule of thumb when choosing cannabis is that sativas are more activating and reviving, while Indica strains will make you feel calm and collected.

The plant-based cannabinoids, or phytocannabinoids, can replace the body’s endogenous cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids when there is a shortage in the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Here are some of the cannabinoids found in cannabis:


Also called THC, is the psychoactive ingredient that gets you high. Decarboxylation or heat propelled reaction converts THC acid (THCA) in the plant to an active THC form when lit in a cigarette or heated in cooking. Although evidence is anecdotal, experts believe that THC has therapeutic properties that cut pain, ease nausea, and boost appetite.


Or CBD is the next most popular ingredient in cannabis and found in hemp varieties of cannabis. It has no psychoactive effects and works to decrease the high from THC. CBD reduces pain and swelling, the prevalence of seizures, alleviates anxiety, and improves focus. But most growers favor cultivating the mind-altering THC plants than CBD since many consumers prefer getting high.


Cannabinol or CBN is the third most common type of cannabinoid and produced from the breakdown of THC after exposing the plant to oxygen or heat. It has psychoactive and therapeutic characteristics, but not as potent as THC. A small dose of CBN can leave a sedating effect.


Clinical studies shared their findings of the medicinal benefits of cannabigerol or CBG, another ingredient with one percent of the cannabis.  CBG displayed that it can delay the progress of neurodegenerative diseases and decrease the growth of cancer cells in mice.


Terpenoids produce the scent and flavor of cannabis, also it has shown therapeutic effects. There are over 100 terpenoids, some are:


Rarely can you find sabinene in cannabis, if there are it is usually in small amounts. If you smell a pine-minty or peppery scent in your weed, sabinene might be part of the blend. It has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and adds a peppery flavor to your food.


Pulegone occurs in low quantities in cannabis. It is a minty terpene that provides mild sedation or stress relief that may aid in thwarting anxiety.


Nerolidol has a floral, woody aroma and sedative properties that provide a relaxing effect to consumers. It has the potential to treat diseases like malaria and cancer.


Myrcene can be found across many cannabis varieties. It offers a heightened high and a prospect to treat patients with osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions.


Aside from its herbal aroma and cool flavor; it can decrease pain, reduce blood pressure, and boost breathing.


What is “The Munchies?”

When eating edibles or smoking pot you are doing the munchies. It is the craving or desire for food when cannabis is ingested. You can blame tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is responsible for your food trip and for the high. 

The brain is split into zones; some areas regulate our mood, and others impact our craving for food. Anytime cannabis enters our body it can go anywhere, when THC reaches the brain that influences mood, it spurs euphoria. And when it enters the brain it stirs appetite and makes you go hungry.

The science behind the munchies

One of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis is to improve appetite. Research reveals that THC stimulates the endocannabinoid system (ECS), an area of the brain that controls eating habits and energy. 

THC bands together with the receptors in our brain to manage pain, emotions, and smell. It can also trigger the discharge of ghrelin, the hormone which initiates hunger. Neurons that are usually deactivated when eating unexpectedly spurs more eating when cannabis is used. THC enhances our smell which makes the scent of food more tempting, increasing our appetite. It also raises the release of dopamine, which makes eating more pleasant.

Does an edible alter the effect of munchies?

If you’re trying to avoid the munchies ‘coz you’re gaining weight, you can still get high when your tummy is stuffed. Ingest an edible after you’ve satisfied your craving, the urge will be less intense.

What follows with eating more edibles when I have the munchies?

Cannabis and more cannabis will get you really high. A fatal overdose is unlikely, you’ll experience the normal effects of using cannabis, but more intense. There may be symptoms of severe confusion, worry, fear, fast heart rate, and high blood pressure; but all of these will pass when the effect of cannabis wanes.

The experience is scary, to avoid these episodes don’t eat edibles when you are head high.

Connection Between Weed and Weight Loss

One of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis is to increase appetite, but obese people weren’t left unnoticed by scientists. More research is needed when it comes to cannabis and weight loss, knowledge is gathered mostly from studies comparing cannabis users to non-user and anecdotal evidence.

In Colorado, growers are cultivating cannabis strains high in tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). These plants suppress the munchies or reduce the appetite.

Two national surveys in 2011 studied the role of cannabis and endocannabinoids in appetite regulation. The results of both studies displayed the incidence of obesity was less noticeable in cannabis consumers than nonusers. A follow-up study in 2019 indicates the lower prevalence of obesity among cannabis users.

A 2018 study theorizes the effect of cannabis use on body mass index (BMI) and obesity rates. Evidence suggests that ingestion of THC can reduce weight and lower the risk of obesity-associated medical conditions.

New evidence from Michigan State University suggests cannabis tokers weigh less than nonusers. This contradicts the belief that regular munchers are prone to weight gain. Over a three-year period, the weight of the participants was monitored, cannabis users were less heavy and obese than their counterparts. 

Although the prospect of cannabis as a reducing agent seems bright, it is not a cure-all remedy that will solve your weight woes. Cannabis can be a smart addition to your regular wellness plan of exercise, a healthy diet, lots of sleep, and reduced stress.

Author’s Bio

Rebecca Akers is an enthusiastic and creative writer at THC Design. Her main goal is to spread information about growing cannabis and its health benefits.

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Claire Zimmerman

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Claire Zimmerman
Joined: December 25th, 2020
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