America is known stereotypically across the world for obesity. The stereotype is present among pop culture reference as well as in the form of internet memes. Even according to the CIA, the United States has been ranked sixth in terms of obesity rate in the world, and the number of obese people in the country have been in the rise.
The answer to this worldwide epidemic may come from an unusual source – Marijuana. It may sound unbelievable, but studies suggests otherwise. A physiological paradox have been found by researchers on the effect of cannabis on the human body. Although marijuana exhibits symptoms of increased appetites among users, they are not necessarily predisposed to gain weight. In fact, it’s the exact opposite: cannabis use may in fact assist in weight loss. CBD on the other hand can exhibit appetite suppression as well.
The Physiological Paradox of Marijuana
One of the easily observable effects of marijuana towards the human body is a dramatic increase in appetite. In fact, most marijuana users experience a insatiable desire to snack. This phenomenon have been comically depicted in a 2005 film called “Gettin’ Da Munchies”, where the protagonist, after smoking marijuana for the first time, went on a quest to search for the proverbial munchies. The protagonist was portrayed to be in a never-ending search for food to consume all throughout the remainder of the movie. Although it is a satirical portrayal of the physiological effect of marijuana, it does made its point regarding increased appetites among marijuana users.
However, simply concluding that using marijuana will ultimately make you fat is logical in its own sense, research conducted by Randy and Lore A. Sansone, MD says otherwise. In their research abstract, they stated that:
“As for large epidemiological studies in the general population, findings consistently indicate that users of marijuana tend to have lower body mass indices than nonusers” – source
This paradox regarding increased appetite and lower BMI shows a possibility that, in one way or another, marijuana may assist in lowering body weight while still allowing the user to enjoy their munchies.
Another research conducted by the Center for Addiction and Mental Health based in Toronto, Canada, offers similar findings in the connection between marijuana and weight loss. Similar to the research conducted by Sansone, they also came to the same paradoxical conclusion. In their abstract, they proposed that “this effect is directly related to exposure to the Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) present in cannabis smoke. We therefore propose the seemingly paradoxical hypothesis that THC or a THC/cannabidiol combination drug may produce weight loss and may be a useful therapeutic for the treatment of obesity and its complications.”
If this is true, does hemp extracts such as cbd (cannabidiol) also have the same effect on weight loss? Unlike THC which activates the appetite, CBD has the opposite effect. Could this be the next great thing in weight loss? Ironically, CBD gummies and edibles have grown in popularity.
The implications of the paradox
This eat-yet-lose-weight paradox in marijuana, hemp, and CBD may have lasting implications in the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Among the several proposed uses and medical advantages of marijuana, if the ability to reduce weight is eventually proven through extensive lab research, then it may be the biggest breakthrough for medical marijuana. Why? That’s because most of the major diseases of medical marijuana users usually stems from obesity. Rather than simply being a drug that relieves symptoms, it may be the one that cures the root cause.
In the end, like other weight-loss regimen, any observed indicators of weed reducing weight still needs the support of a proper diet, healthy lifestyle, and exercise.