What comes to mind when you think about losing weight? For most people, it’s dieting, working out, and keeping a close eye on your calorie intake. The last thing you might think about is cannabis. How could it attribute to weight loss when it’s always been known to encourage binge eating?
Cannabis is especially helpful for patients who struggle with their appetite — people with cancer, HIV, and eating disorders are often advised to try cannabis to help. In this case, it’s to gain weight, not to lose it. So how could it have the complete opposite effect on others?
New research is sprouting about a feeling similar to ‘runners high’. Coupled with exercise, cannabis users say that they feel more inspired and motivated to see their workout through to the end.
If you enjoy cannabis and working out, then it looks like good news. The thing to remember is that using cannabis will not make you lose weight alone. You need to exercise. Even with that, cannabis isn’t a weight loss pill, it simply lets you enjoy your workout more than usual. It pumps you to work harder. This may (or not) result in extra weight loss if that’s what your goals are.
Many people are misled by false claims that haven’t been officially tested yet. Losing weight won’t happen if you sit down for the rest of the day — you have to sweat, too. Using cannabis and expecting to drop a few pounds by itself isn’t going to happen. However, if you’re feeling demotivated to exercise — something that you usually enjoy — then that’s where cannabis can help to push you off the sofa and get moving.
Dr. Dayna McCarthy, Icahn School of Medicine at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, told MarketWatch; “Cannabinoids have the propensity to heighten what is already happening in the body; exercise releases endorphins, and patients may feel even better or more positive after exercising when they ingest cannabis substances … It’s counterintuitive, but there have been some studies to show that [cannabis] can help motivate you”.
So maybe it doesn’t directly make you lose weight, but it can help with other things to get you on the right path. Cannabis has lots of different cannabinoids — THC and CBD being the most popular — that don’t cause weight gain. One that is getting more attention as a weight loss aid, is THCV. While it’s true that THC can make you binge, THCV has the opposite effect. It works by balancing out the negatives from THC, like excessive hunger and lack of concentration.
The only downside is that THCV is found in small quantities within cannabis strains, making it difficult to extract. There are no THCV potent strains as of yet.
On the other hand, there are speculations around CBD and how it affects us when we’re trying to lose weight. So far, we know that CBD has the ability to relieve pain and inflammation, reduce anxiety, help to have a night of better sleep, and improve heart health. There’s not a lot of evidence to support whether or not it can help in weight loss though. Some studies say that it suppresses food intake, while others claim the opposite.
An important thing to note is that mixing cannabis with a professional sport is prohibited. Under WADA regulations, it’s still illegal for athletes to have cannabis in their system. If you’re thinking of coupling up your workout with cannabis, make sure that you’re not taking part in athletic competition.
As well as this, doctors don’t recommend using cannabis for losing weight. The only claims come from studies done on mice, or from people that have self-experimented (in states where recreational cannabis is legal).
Dr. McCarthy adds that each person reacts differently to cannabis, so take the time to figure out what works for you; “This is a mind-altering substance, and everyone’s brain is different … so [different doses of different strains on different people] can affect each person very differently. And we don’t know if this can interact with other medications.”