Can Marijuana Help You Shed Pounds? Some solid evidence suggests that marijuana usage and weight loss are associated. No joke.
The stereotype of pot users as obese middle-aged men who subsist on junk food and watching TV is quickly becoming outdated. Numerous cannabis consumers are not overweight, sickly, or sluggish. A rising number of elite athletes, including marathon runners and triathletes, claim marijuana helps them adhere to their diet and exercise routines and keeps them in shape. Some even claim marijuana has helped them lose weight.
They could have a point. Although research on marijuana and weight loss is still in its infancy, several studies suggest that marijuana may play a tiny influence. Cannabis is no substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise. However, marijuana usage is not a direct route to getting overweight and unhealthy. Here are the scientific findings.
THE RESEARCH ON MARIJUANA AND WEIGHT LOSS
Can marijuana help you shed pounds? There is substantial scientific evidence that THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana, promotes hunger in many individuals. Therefore, it is frequently administered to chemotherapy patients who are otherwise too ill to eat. THC binds to and activates CB1 receptors, which are found in the stomach, small intestine, and areas of the brain that monitor food intake and boost eating pleasure.
Thomas Clark, Ph.D., cannabis researcher and chair of biological sciences at Indiana University South Bend, explains, “CB1 is essentially your weight gain receptor.” “It is the primary hormone that stimulates appetite, regulates how quickly you store the food you eat, and decreases your metabolic rate in order to preserve the calories you ingest.”
Given these effects, it is reasonable to expect that consistent marijuana usage will result in weight increase. The theory is supported by certain research. However, the overall evidence is contradictory, and numerous other studies imply that the exact opposite may be true.
Can marijuana help you shed pounds? A 2011 study, for instance, found that those who use cannabis at least three times per week are less likely to be obese than those who do not. Similarly, a 2013 study found that marijuana consumers had improved insulin control and reduced waist circumferences. A 2019 study indicated that, over the course of three years, marijuana users maintained lower body mass indexes than nonusers, confirming previous findings.
On the surface, these are quite convincing arguments in favor of marijuana and weight loss. However, these research should be interpreted with caution. All of them indicate a link between cannabis and a healthier body, but none of them prove that marijuana usage is the cause of these effects. There may be additional elements at play.
Clark states that numerous correlational effects likely contribute to these results. “For starters, marijuana smokers tend to be younger, thus they may weigh less. Perhaps these marijuana users also smoked more tobacco, which has been linked to weight loss. Then there are others who are overweight, begin smoking marijuana, and immediately feel better; hence, they lose weight and credit it to marijuana despite the fact that there may be no physiological effect.”
In addition, many cannabis smokers consume less alcohol, a significant factor in weight growth. Marijuana also reduces stress and improves sleep, all of which are associated with a lower BMI. There is also the element of pain management. Some sportsmen suggest that if marijuana relieves muscle aches and pains, it might help you stick to your workout routine and even train harder.
HOW MARIJUANA MAY AID WEIGHT LOSS
Let’s keep search answer for our question if can marijuana help you shed pounds? Despite all the potential cofactors, some researchers feel that marijuana may still have a direct physiological effect on weight. Clark is among the group. In 2018, he and his colleagues published a report that, using data from seventeen large-scale research, provides a reasonable explanation for the reduced BMI and obesity rates among cannabis consumers.
Clark explains their theory as follows: THC first stimulates the CB1 receptor, which temporarily increases appetite, however this effect is short-lived. According to him, the receptor becomes less active over the course of 24 hours, causing people to ingest less calories overall. In the meanwhile, data suggests that THC increases metabolism over time. So, according to this idea, even if you indulged in the cravings after smoking a bowl, your increased metabolic rate would counterbalance the effect by burning those calories faster than if you were not a cannabis user.
Can marijuana help you shed pounds? Yes. And you wouldn’t need to use a ton of marijuana to experience these benefits. Clark maintains that once per week may be sufficient to keep the CB1 receptors in a low state and the metabolism revved up.
He is quick to note, however, that this is still only a hypothesis. Clark says that robust human clinical trials are required to determine whether THC has this effect on weight control. Researchers would have to gather a group of individuals with identical diets and lifestyles, divide them in half, give one group marijuana while the other does not, and then observe them for an extended period of time.
Due to the fact that marijuana is officially still illegal in the United States and ludicrously still classified as a Schedule I narcotic, which substantially hampers research, this type of study will not be conducted any time soon. Clark adds that plants like marijuana are notoriously difficult to examine since they are complex animals whose composition varies substantially from strain to strain.
So, for the time being, all we have are theories, and Clark’s appears to be rather sound. However, he does not recommend using cannabis as your primary weight-loss tool: “I believe cannabis can help if the side effects are bearable, but you should focus primarily on food and exercise.”
We hope you enjoyed our article and that you got an answer to the question “Can Marijuana Help You Shed Pounds?”.
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