Can cannabis actually help you lose weight?
People don’t often associate cannabis use with weight loss. If anything, it’s the exact opposite: You’d expect people to gain weight because cannabis can increase appetite. It’s so effective, it’s prescribed for patients with conditions that alter their appetites and cause unwanted weight loss or malnutrition.
So it’s odd to think about cannabis as a weight loss aid, but some studies have done just that. One such study at the University of Calgary found THC reduced weight gain in already obese mice. It had no impact on mice who were at trimmer weights. This suggests cannabis can help us achieve our set-point weights, or the natural healthy weight for our own body type.
After all, losing weight isn’t a universal goal. Maintaining a healthy weight, which is different for everyone, is the ideal. Why? Gaining and losing weight is hard on our bodies and can be difficult to digest on an emotional level as well.Other studies further suggest cannabis, and CBD in particular, could help us with our individual weight goals. CBD, unlike THC, was found to lower cortisol levels that represent the stress hormone that promotes weight gain. Lowering cortisol levels does double-duty because it also improves one’s metabolism.
Cannabis has also been said to help athletes experience an elevated “runner’s high” and focus more intently on their body’s movements, increasing their motivation to get active. It can help someone recover from exercising quicker too—it’s full of anti-inflammatory effects.
So can cannabis help you lose weight?
Maybe. You see, it depends on the cannabis type and other lifestyle factors. In general, everyone needs to practice responsible using. Know that THC can increase one’s heart rate and anxiety levels, which won’t be a great addition to your workout—especially if you have other health concerns. THC’s effect on appetite leaves you more likely to break your food goals and its resulting increased cortisol levels work against your relaxation and weight goals.
Sticking primarily with topicals and non-psychoactive CBD oils may better compliment your overall wellness goals.
As always, losing weight healthily is a process that happens over time. We shouldn’t look for quick fixes for things that have been building, sometimes, for years. Be gentle with yourself and find what works for you and the lifestyle you’re creating.