Can Medical Marijuana Help You Lose Weight?

Can medical marijuana help you lose weight?

As we learn more about the effects of marijuana, more and more people are viewing it as a natural option for treating or managing a number of health conditions and symptoms. From helping alleviate chronic pain to improving anxiety or depression, this somewhat controversial plant has been thrust into the spotlight as an effective medicine for many folks—and some even claim it can help you lose weight.

Cannabis has a range of uses, from recreational to medicinal, and some strains work better for certain outcomes than others. But marijuana is widely known for increasing appetite, not reducing it, right? Not so with all strains of cannabis. 

So, can medical marijuana actually help you lose weight? Let’s look at the science.

Not all cannabis will give you “the munchies”

Cannabis contains hundreds of compounds called cannabinoids, and the proportions of cannabinoids vary from plant to plant. THC is the cannabinoid we associate with “the munchies” and late-night refrigerator raids. A different cannabinoid, known as THCV or Tetrahydrocannabivarin (found in some, but not all, strains of the marijuana plant), has the opposite effect: it suppresses hunger. 

There’s been a lot of interest in THCV in the scientific community. Researchers have found that this cannabinoid may help with modest weight loss and can potentially help stabilize insulin levels in people with glucose intolerance. A Harvard Medical School study looked at the effects of THCV on blood sugar regulation and found it blocks the receptor that triggers hunger. Based on the way the cannabinoids interact with insulin, study participants also had a more effective carbohydrate metabolism and could better manage cravings. 

THCV has another interesting quality that differentiates it from some common cannabinoids. Unlike the calming effect of CBD or Indica-dominant strains, strains of marijuana with THCV can also increase your desire to be active. Weight loss patients who are able to devote that extra energy to exercise may get added benefits, but more research is needed to determine if these strains could have a noticeable impact on weight loss. It should be noted that exercise without added stimulants is known to be the safest option.

When it comes to significant weight loss, THCV alone is not a complete solution

While THCV may be worth trying for some patients, the studied impact of THCV on weight loss is minimal—thus far. As such, our Rancho Cucamonga weight loss surgeons advise patients to not rely on THCV as a tactic for losing weight. We instead suggest working with medical professionals to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. An experienced weight loss physician can provide full nutritional and medical advice and determine whether or not THCV is indeed appropriate for your needs.
If you are in the Inland Empire area, our warm and caring doctors and team would love to help. Contact us for a personal consultation.

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