The role of cannabis when it comes to weight can be very confusing. On one hand, cannabis is known to cause the munchies and stimulate the appetite. On the other, there are studies linking CBD oil and weight loss.
Which one truly applies? Let’s take a look.
Yes, cannabis gives the munchies
Munchies is the term used to refer to the ferocious surge of appetite that results from smoking pot. And usually, this increase in appetite involves a craving for junk food. Nobody ever gets the munchies and craves for a vegetable salad.
This “side effect” to smoking weed is caused by THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the psychoactive chemical component found in cannabis. THC stimulates the appetite. According to a study conducted in 2014, THC fits into the receptors in the brains of mouse models, more specifically in their olfactory bulb. Because of this, their sensitivity to the smell of food gets heightened and, as a result, triggers a desire to eat more.
There was also an earlier study that found that THC interacts with the receptors in the nucleus accumbens, which is a region in the brain, and promotes the release of dopamine. This, in turn, heightens the pleasurable sensation that one gets from eating when high.
THC is also known to stimulate the endocannabinoid system. Among the many functions of the endocannabinoids involve fullness and hunger. They are responsible for signaling to your body that you are hungry or full. However, the THC promotes the release of hormones that actually convince your brain that you are hungry even if, in reality, you are full.
How is CBD linked to weight loss?
CBD or cannabibiol, on the other hand, is the non-psychoactive chemical compound in cannabis.
The CBD also interacts with the endocannabinoid system, yet it helps regulate energy and calorie balance. Aside from this, it also regulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism.
And CBD interacts with the body’s cannabinoid receptors to help in weight loss.
More recently, Korean researchers have conducted a study that looked into how CBD affects immature fat cells. They also explored the potential benefits and the role of CBD in the prevention of obesity. This study suggested that CBD:
- stimulates the proteins and genes involved in enhancing the fat oxidation and breakdown.
- increases mitochondrial activity, which facilitates the burning of calories.
- decreases the expression of proteins that are involved in the generation of fat cell, called lipogenesis.
The results of this particular study speaks of CBD’s ability to induce “fat browning,” which is the process wherein normally white-colored fat tissues, which store the energy, get converted to beige or brown-colored fat tissues, which burn the fat.
There have also been earlier studies on animal models that found that boosting these brown fat tissues improves glucose tolerance and therefore makes the animal models less likely to develop various types of blood lipid abnormalities and diabetes.
So, what does this mean for cannabis?
There really is no need to be confused. In the same manner as cannabis can make you high or can make you feel relaxed, cannabis can help you lose weight or it can help you gain some. It just depends on whether the cannabis product you are consuming has a higher level of THC or a higher level of CBD.
This means that if your cannabis product has a higher CBD and lower THC content, it can suppress THC’s appetite-stimulating effect and you don’t have to fall victim to the munchies.
This could also mean that when you consume cannabis for recreational purposes – which means high-THC weed – you should make sure your fridge is full.