Can Marijuana Help You Lose Weight?

Photo Credit: Max Pixel

Photo Credit: Max Pixel

Contrary to popular belief, marijuana may actually help people lose weight instead of gain weight. This seems contradictory to the fact that marijuana does in fact cause the munchies. One study from 2014 from the University of Bordeaux found THC interacts with CB1 receptor’s in the brain’s olfactory bulb, leading to a strengthened ability to smell food and increased food consumption. Additionally, research has found CB1 receptor activation leads to the release of the hormone ghrelin, which increases user appetite.

Still, studies have found marijuana use is linked to a lower body mass index (BMI), and one study from 2013 involving 13,000 adults found marijuana users had 16% lower fasting insulin levels and lower insulin resistance levels than non users. Additionally, marijuana users had smaller waist circumferences and lower BMI than non-users. Another study from 2015 found communities that had implemented medical marijuana programs were associated with 2-6% lower rates of obesity. Researchers believe marijuana’s ability to promote weight loss may be attributed to the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). In a study from 2013, mice were fed 10 mg THCV once a day. These mice exhibited lower glucose intolerance, which is a symptom of type 2 diabetes. A lower glucose intolerance is associated with weight loss. Another way marijuana can help with weight loss is through activation of the CB2 receptors, which, according to an Australian study in 2015, reduces appetite and prevents the buildup of body fat. Another study from 2012 involving male rats found cannabidiol (CBD) reduced appetite and caused the rats to eat less food over time than those who were fed placebo.

This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.