Can medical marijuana help patients with symptoms of Obesity? Find out more below. 

What is Obesity? 

Obesity is an abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a health risk. A body mass index (BMI) over twenty-five is considered overweight, and over thirty is obese.

What are the main causes of Obesity?

Per the CDC, various factors can contribute to significant weight gain, including eating patterns, physical activity, and sleep routines. Health, genetics, and certain medications may also play a role.

Researching Cannabis and Weight Loss

Scientific evidence has demonstrated that smoking cannabis may increase metabolism, which can help people with obesity burn more calories, resulting in a reduced body mass index (BMI). The potential pain and stress-relieving properties of marijuana may aid in losing weight. You’re much more likely to exercise and maintain a lifestyle when you don’t feel intense pain daily.

Stress strongly correlates with weight gain and increased cortisol levels and can be significantly decreased using certain cannabinoid products. In turn, people who are less stressed and anxious get better sleep and are less likely to suffer from obesity. Cannabidiol CBD, primarily, has been known to help with insomnia. Smoking weed can help with weight loss in many ways, although many benefits may be indirect. 

Several biological systems, including metabolism, depend on the functions of our body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is made up of various cannabinoid receptors. There are two cannabinoids: endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids, and both types can interact with the ECS to influence body functionality, such as metabolism, and help people reach a lower body weight.

The standard American diet typically includes abundant calories from sugars and refined starches, leading to an increased glycemic load and an elevated omega-6/omega-3 ratio. People who consume the American diet are more likely to have an endocannabinoid system that doesn’t function properly, resulting in a slow metabolism and a higher body weight. It’s essential to try and deviate from Western culture and maintain a healthy diet.

CB1 receptors play a significant role in maintaining homeostasis, including appetite and metabolism. Suppose you have an elevated dietary omega-6/omega-3 ratio. In that case, you end up with an overstimulation of CB1 receptors, leading to increased appetite and metabolism dysfunction, ultimately gaining weight.

Luckily, cannabinoids can also interact with the CB1 receptors of marijuana users, particularly the THC Phytocannabinoids. Experts have several ideas about why cannabis use is linked to a lower body mass index and a reduced chance of obesity. Still, nothing is set in stone regarding cannabis-induced weight loss research.

Does strain choice affect hunger levels?

Yes. Cannabis users tend to report that Sativa-dominant strains suppress hunger and “munchies” onset more than Indica strains. If you are worried about gaining weed weight, we recommend sticking with a pure Sativa or Sativa-dominant hybrid.

What are the Munchies?

Urban Dictionary describes the munchies as “the compelling and intense feeling of hunger after smoking weed.” While accurate, there is an even more scientific explanation for this feeling. Read on to learn more about what causes a munchie’s hit and the best snack to relieve those intense cravings.

THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis that makes you high and can affect your body in many ways. Ginger Hultin, RD, is the spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the owner of Champagne Nutrition. She states that munchies happen when THC stimulates your body’s endocannabinoid system in the brain to promote an urge to eat. She goes on to say that there is evidence that weed encourages the production of a hunger hormone called ghrelin.

Can medical cannabis help with obesity? 

Some states have obesity and appetite-related symptoms as qualifying conditions for MMJ. Every state is different, so it’s essential to research your individual state’s criteria. Your medical marijuana license is an identification card with which you can legally purchase, possess, and use a specific amount of cannabis as long as your conditions qualify for an MMJ recommendation from an approved marijuana doctor. Some states even offer cultivation cards to grow your plants at home.

Medical cannabis is available in over thirty states nationwide and hundreds of thousands of patients with qualifying conditions. Research suggests that patients can use medical marijuana to treat various conditions, ranging from chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, and insomnia to cancer, PTSD, Multiple Sclerosis, or HIV/AIDS.

When used correctly, cannabis can relieve chronic pain, fatigue, and stiffness symptoms. Using marijuana may help people with mobility issues be more active throughout the day. Some researchers suspect that young people who use cannabis may consume less alcohol, which could contribute to less calorie intake and, thus, lower BMIs.
Studies show that people are more likely to overeat when stressed and that medical weed might replace stress eating and help to reduce anxiety. There’s evidence that cannabis can help insomnia patients get a better night’s rest. Scientific evidence shows that high amounts of cannabis interact with the CB1 receptor, which may help to increase metabolism and reduce fat storage. In summary, there are many potential ways that MMJ can help cannabis users with obesity maintain a healthy weight.

Last Updated: July 25, 2023

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