If you've heard rumors about “skinny pot” or “the marijuana diet,” you may be wondering if weed can help in personal weight management or dieting. Cannabis has long been associated with stimulating the appetite, but as we learn more about the many compounds marijuana plants produce (like tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) - a cannabinoid known to curb hunger), we're discovering just how diverse the effects these compounds have on our bodies actually are.
To help you better understand how cannabis (and THCV in particular) can help us meet our dietary goals, here we talk about how weed can help us in our personal weight management regiments. Just remember that marijuana affects each person differently, so you'll have to cater how you use weed to manage your weight depending on your reaction to cannabis products.
- THCV has been shown to suppress hunger, though it doesn't diminish it completely. This means that cannabis strains with high levels of the compound are helpful for people trying to cut down on their meal sizes and snacking, but people who need to gain weight or suffer from an eating disorder should avoid these varieties.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been shown to have a stimulating effect on our appetite, making weed with high concentrations of the compound great for people trying to maintain or gain weight.
- THCV has an energizing effect on most consumers, which makes weed strains with high levels of the compound good choices for use during the day or before an exercise session.
- THCV has an influence over the effects of THC, which famously gets users “high.” Of particular interest is how THCV counteracts some of the more extreme feelings brought on by THC, like paranoia, anxiety, and hunger.
- THCV improves insulin resistance and regulates glucose (sugar) absorption in animals, and due because of these abilities, scientists are exploring the compound as a possible treatment for diabetes.
- Cannabis is known to increase levels of “good cholesterol” and improve the body's metabolic functioning. Consuming weed on a regular basis has been shown to reduce the build up of plaque in arteries.
If there is an excess of sugars and fats in your diet (that is not burned off through regular exercise), weight gain is eminent. To reap the benefits of the marijuana diet, you will still need exercise and consume a proper diet.
(Cue a parade of articles on “skinny pot.”)
Dosing may also play a role here. If THCV is blocking CB1 receptors at lower doses and reducing food intake, we might expect higher doses to activate those receptors and instead increase food intake. But that’s just speculation—such an experiment hasn’t been tried yet.
Another difference that occurs with a THCV high is the duration, which has given the cannabinoid an association with a “racecar”. This is because the onset of the high is a lot faster than THC rich strains, but the effects wear off a lot quicker also. A THCV strain high could be looked at as a sprint, fast and intense, yet over hastily. Whereas a THC high is more like an endurance event, the effects take slightly longer to kick it, and the duration is longer. THCV is also reported to enhance the euphoric aspect of a THC high
At lower doses, THCV acted as a CB1 antagonist—in very, very simple terms: does not get you high. At higher doses, however, it can switch, behaving as a CB1 agonist, much like THC. In other words, take a lot of THCV, and zoom—it’ll tickle that CB1 receptor and produce a psychoactive buzz.
Plants with elevated levels of propyl cannabinoids (including THCV) have been found in populations of Cannabis sativa L. ssp. indica (= Cannabis indica Lam.) from China, India, Nepal, Thailand, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as southern and western Africa.