New Year, New You: Science Says Cannabis Can Help Your Weight Loss Efforts
When you picture a stereotypical marijuana user, the image of a healthy, fit person with a slim waistline does NOT come to mind.
Yet the science behind studies reveal that there’s a reason to slam the stereotype (it IS 2020, after all). Studies show that cannabis users have less fat and a lower body mass index (BMI). This is good news, and you’re far better off than your non-smoking counterparts. Particularly if you look at the shocking statistics: obesity rates in America have doubled over the last 30 years.
But there is so much more to obesity than the fact that you are overweight. When your body fat eclipses the amount of fat considered healthy for your size and height, this dramatically increases the risk that you will develop heart disease, diabetes, and other complications later on in life. Obesity has also been linked to earlier deaths and a poor quality of life. Other complications that have been known to arise from obesity include anxiety, depression, muscle pain, fatigue, and the inability to exercise.
Contrary to what popular myths say, cannabis does not always correlate to getting the “munchies”, make you want to eat copious slices of pizza, or drown in a bag of potato chips. Nor does cannabis turn you into a couch potato. If you’re looking for a way to get fit and lose weight this year, maybe it’s time to integrate cannabis into your wellness routine.
Cannabis Consumers Tend To Weigh Less
Two studies in the American Journal of Epidemiology revealed that cannabis consumers who partake at least 3x a week are 1/3 less likely to be overweight than those who didn’t. In one of those studies, obesity was more prevalent among individuals who abstained from cannabis. Specifically, cannabis users had an obesity rate of 16.1% , while it was 22% for non-consumers. In the second study, cannabis consumers had an obesity rate of 17.2%, and for non-consumers it was 25.3%.
Another study which was published in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics yielded similar results. Researchers from the University of Miami discovered that in a large sample of 13,000 individuals, women who consume cannabis daily had 3.1% less BMI on average, compared to people who don’t smoke cannabis. On the other hand, men who consume daily had 2.7% less BMI compared to non-users.
Cannabis Consumption Affects How Your Body Metabolizes Carbohydrates
A 2013 study conducted by scientists from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, Harvard School of Public Health, and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, discovered that cannabis affects the body’s metabolic processes in a positive way. The study’s findings, which were published in the American Journal of Medicine, suggested that there is an important link between regular cannabis consumption and an improvement in blood sugar levels.
The researchers collected data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2010. “Previous epidemiologic studies have found lower prevalence rates of obesity and diabetes in marijuana users,” says lead investigator Murray Mittleman, MD. “Ours is the first study to investigate the relationship between marijuana use and fasting insulin, glucose, and insulin resistance,” he disclosed in a press release.
Mittleman explained that cannabis users have a propensity to consume more calories than those who don’t, but “two large studies found that marijuana users tended to be leaner than non-users, even after accounting for other behavioral and clinical characteristics.”
There is quite a large body of evidence that proves cannabis can help stabilize the body’s metabolic processes and help prevent diabetes while at it. It can also help treat the side effects of diabetes, such as glaucoma.
Using Cannabis Efficiently For Weight Loss
Not all cannabis strains and products are made equal. You can customize the way you medicate to help alleviate certain medical conditions including obesity. If you’d like to use cannabis to help speed up your weight loss efforts, opt for strains that have a high content of tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), a cannabinoid that has shown to be promising in suppressing appetite. THCV can potentially be helpful for diabetics as well because it can help stabilize blood sugar levels. Most sativa strains are known to have higher THCV levels compared to other strains.