Cannabis seems to help manage various health conditions, but can it tackle weight loss? Here’s the true link between THC and weight loss.
Cannabis continues to surprise researchers about what it can do for overall health.
Once an illicit substance believed to drive users to commit trouble, cannabis is now being lauded for its potential to manage many health conditions, including insomnia and cancer.
While the jury is still out on these studies, they’re reason enough for avid users to get excited.
Of course, this fact also means that some questionable claims find their way around the internet. Recently, news that cannabis—particularly one of its many cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—can aid in shaving off several pounds has been making rounds.
Some research on the subject exists, but the scientific community stresses that “correlation doesn’t imply causation“.
This article aims to set the record straight. Can THC be a game changer in the realm of weight loss? The answer might not be as straightforward as most people believe.
Medical science doesn’t deny the importance of losing weight in one’s health. But for people who need to maintain their appearances, such as Dr Dabber influencers and other prominent personalities, weight loss is almost required. You can imagine their excitement upon learning that THC has the potential to help them in maintaining their figures.
But where did such talk begin? Experts believe it started from a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2011.
Using data from two national surveys in the U.S., researchers found that obesity was less prevalent among cannabis users than non-users.
As obesity is a huge problem in the country, the study was somewhat significant.
The average BMI of non-users was 27.5, while that of cannabis users was 25.5. Their theory is that cannabis affects the body’s metabolism and lowers energy storage.
The Trouble With THC
These studies seem to favor cannabis as an instrument for weight loss. However, there are some caveats that anyone trying to cite them would want to consider.
The 2011 study mentions cannabis countless times but doesn’t specifically mention THC. You can access the full paper here and run your browser’s Find function; not once does it say that the weight loss results from THC.
With over a hundred known cannabinoids in a cannabis strain, the one responsible for the results can be any one of them.
Meanwhile, the second study specifies THC as the primary component for the reduced BMI among cannabis users. However, their theory of how it manages this remains a theory; science has yet to explain this connection in detail.
But perhaps the most major caveat is the nature of THC. This cannabinoid is mainly responsible for the “high” that cannabis users experience, as it interferes with the brain’s ability to process information while stimulating it to release dopamine.
Experts estimate the effects can last around two hours, but psychomotor faculties can remain impaired beyond that timeframe.
What About The Others?
THC might not be ideal as a weight loss solution due to its psychoactive properties. But what about its hundreds of cannabinoid siblings?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is gaining popularity in the cannabis market, being THC’s non-psychoactive counterpart. It won’t get users as high as THC, making it a widely used ingredient for cannabis-infused foodstuffs and products.
As for CBD for weight loss, like THC, existing research suggests such an idea.
One study in 2013 revealed that cannabis users registered a decrease in fasting insulin by 16% and insulin resistance by 17%. Analysis of mean waist circumference suggests that current users have decreased waistlines: 97.4 cm for non-users versus 93.6 for current users.
Another non-psychoactive cannabinoid with potential is tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), also referred to as “diet THC.”
A double-blind study of 62 people with type-2 diabetes found that THCV improved pancreatic functions, revealing its potential for blood sugar control.
However, an earlier study showed that it could also increase one’s craving for food.
But as with THC-focused research, the number of current studies involving CBD and THCV isn’t enough to reach a consensus. It’s also crucial to consider that not all bodies respond to cannabinoids similarly.
Make no mistake; the potential for THC and other cannabinoids to assist in weight loss is there. But until scientists manage to answer the whys and hows, it’s probably better to take this claim with a grain of salt.
Cannabis may help with other health conditions, but as for losing weight, it pays to stick to tried-and-true methods like a balanced diet.