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The Twofold Face of Cannabis: Weight Loss VS Weight Gain

People always take conscious of their body weight. In this world where fat and skinny bodies are shamed, its important to stay fit as much as possible. Engaging in athletic activities and doing regular exercise through gym memberships are commonly practiced by some people to keep themselves at the shape.

As these world worship the likes of curvy and six-pack abs bodies, more people tend to do all the possible ways to achieve such a figure. The age of social media and the internet had takenthese level of insecurity and vanity to humans at a higher level.

That is why slimming pills and detoxification teas are prominently being sold in the market to address this underlying issue. People take these products to lose weight abruptly. Though there’s no efficient study to backup these claims, people still tend to take risks on something without examining its further side effects.

One of the most controversial weight loss options is using cannabis. It has been prescribed and used by several cannabis patients to lose weight or improve their body condition. Its also added to a few weight reduction products employing its advertised effectiveness upon use.

In converse, there are also opposite claims regarding this weight loss effect through using cannabis. There have been cannabis users who had gotten instead fatter upon using any cannabis products. Moreover, if it’s truly a good weight loss treatment, then why not all cannabis smokers and users are slim This contradicting statement had led a lot of cannabis enthusiasts a confusion. It’s consecutively a center of debate among cannabis communities concerning its relation on body weight. In this article, we’ll take into consideration the facts involved and delved deep regarding these weight loss or gain claims. We’ll base our assumptions on previous researches to justify it with scientific evidence.

Chemical Composition of Cannabis

Before we’ll take into a more detailed explanation, its important first to understand what’s the chemical content of a typical cannabis plant.

Cannabis exists as three separate plant species. Respectively, it includes sativa, indica, and ruderalis. Though these species came from the same family, each of these genetics possesses have different chemical and physical characteristics.

All of these cannabis varieties denote a unique characteristic of its chemical composition. A set of compounds called ‘cannabinoids’ hold extreme importance to the effect of the herb upon consumption by humans. These cannabinoids numbered more than 113 exists solely on cannabis plant species in different amounts or concentrations.

Most notable cannabinoids actively affecting most to humans are the Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These cannabinoids portray an entourage or contradicting effect through its function.

Nevertheless, the THC induces psychoactive effects in comparison to CBD which acts to calm down or relax upon using it. These two essential cannabinoids exist at relevant concentrations to each cannabis variety.

The sativa line often denotes high THC content. Therefore, those cannabis sativa species referring also as marijuana or weed has been sold prominently for its euphoric effect upon use. It has been mostly utilized for recreational marijuana and being grown for use on smoking or vaping it.

Though marijuana still had therapeutic benefits, it’s mostly shadowed upon a large number of recreational marijuana users on a lot of countries across the world.

The indica type relevantly is rich in CBD composition. These strains promote relaxation and induce sedative effects upon use. Its also medicinal, most efficient for use in various illnesses including inflammation, epilepsy, insomnia, depression, and muscle spasms.

Aside from these major cannabinoids, important ingredients mostly common for all cannabis varieties are terpenoids. These another set of compounds are often responsible for the flavor or aroma that’s quite distinct into other strains.

Nevertheless, there are more than 100 compounds labeled as terpenoids. Examples of these are limonene, linalool, and myrcene.

The Weight Gain Argument

Does cannabis help one to gain weight Here are some of the common arguments that people always say to prove the fact. We’ll take some analysis of these ‘hypothesis’ and considerably, search for a valid proof to enter a solid conclusion to it.

  • Alcohol and Cannabis are both recreational substances. Thus, both could gain weight.

Most often, we compared cannabis to alcohols and even cigarettes. While the three of them works as a recreation practice by a lot of people, there are those who assumed that these substances upon taking them would likely to have a similar effect in the body.

Studies conducted with alcohol intake concluded how the substance could aid in gaining weight with regular or heavy drinking. However, a contradicting conclusion was found with intermittent intake. Instead, alcohol will help one to lose weight upon only occasional use.

This study ain’t conclusive also to cannabis. Yes, both are recreational substances. Yet, it doesn’t mean that both have similar effects on our body. They’re made up of different chemical composition and more likely have a contrasting effect upon use.

This information is a myth since there’s no solid proof to conclude this information.  Let’s never make a habit of generalizing something because they have only one commonality. Things in life don’t always work that way.

  • The Munchies Effect

‘Munchies’ has been prettily associated with cannabis. While a few users aren’t aware of it, munchie is a term referring to snack or food taken after consuming cannabis or alcohol. The ‘munchies effect’ is often denoted to the craving or hunger for food felt upon smoking cannabis or drinking alcohol. While some associated it mostly with cannabis says, the effect to cannabis varies according to the strain type you’ll be taking.

Foods that are usually eaten when experiencing this sudden food crave are junk foods, soft drinks, and easy to get foods. These foods tend to be the victim of these crave that’s most often uncontrollable for a lot of users. As far as it’s uncontrollable, these unhealthy snacks upon in excess could contribute to weight gain if one won’t engage in fitness or regular exercise to lose fats accumulated.

A study was conducted in University of Montreal through cannabis smokers who are ages 17 to 24. Along with that, the researchers regularly track the participants’ waistline and weight during the process.

The results were inconclusive yet most of the participants of the study had gained somehow weight. However, researchers thought that there are could be other contributory factors as to why the participants gained weight. Factors such as drug use, regular use of alcohol or cigarette, and genetics could just be few things to point out why most of them had gained weight.

However, it seems that there’s validity for that study as truly cannabis intake could increase appetite.

To back up this claim, researchers from UCLA’s Cannabis Research Initiative explained how this urge to eat happens when taking cannabis.

It’s often rooted with the cannabinoid called THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. This cannabinoid could potentially affect the secretion of hormones in the stomach by interacting with ghrelin (the hunger hormone).

As we’ve known the THC induces psychoactive effects, likewise, the cannabinoid could potentially intensify our senses including smell, sight, and even our tastes. The major cause for this sudden pleasure upon THC intake is upon the action of the human’s endocannabinoid system. 

The endocannabinoid system uniquely concerns with hormone regulation and maintaining homeostasis. However, it surprisingly interacts to cannabinoids that cause such intense hormone actions in our body.

Though THC increases one’s appetite, it doesn’t mean that all cannabinoids act on the same purpose. In fact, CBD doesn’t cause the munchies effect. The cannabinoid doesn’t work to activate hormones related to our senses and holds other potential benefits upon taken.

The Weight Loss Argument

Let’s follow next to this assumption. Does cannabis lose weight Well, let’s based this assumption with corresponding facts to verify this assumption.

  • CBD causes weight loss

The ‘entourage effect’ of CBD and THC not just limited with few of its functions. It also extends on other bodily roles such as weight control. In contrast to THC as we’ve known, the CBD doesn’t increase appetite. Rather than, the cannabinoid decreases one’s appetite.

A study taken by Del Giudice, explains how this decrease in weight generally happens. Our body’s endocannabinoid system has its own CBD1 and CBD2 receptors. These receptors have found to be activated upon THC regulation. However, the opposite effect stimulates using CBD.

The cannabinoid antagonizes or blocks the activity of both receptors. Thus, it won’t interact with connected bodily functions as such as ghrelin (the hunger hormone) to increase appetite.

However, not all scientists are convinced by this argument. It’s not directly sufficient to prove that cannabis will induce weight loss activity.

That is why another study was conducted in relation to CBD. It centers on CBD combatting obesity and its effects on weight.

Research is done in 2016 by Parrayet. al has concluded how cannabidiol promotes browning of adipocytes in the body.

To explain how this happens:

Adipocytes are often a scientific term referred to as ‘fat cells or tissues’ occurring in our body. Basically, upon consumption of food, the excess will go to storage fats called triacylglycerides or as they say ‘white fats’.

By increasing one’s metabolism, these ‘white fats’ will undergo thermogenesis and convert to ‘brown fat’. This ‘brown fat’ is easier to burn and lose compared to the ‘white fat’.

However, as we grow old, our metabolism often decreases and more likely, conversion of white to brown fat decreases. That is why a study of enhancing transformation to ‘brown fat’ would be a revolutionary to weight loss treatments.

On a similar study, CBD not only just improve the production of ‘brown fats, but it has also cause to stimulate the burning of calories efficiently.

A study conducted by Del Giudice et al. also backs up this claim. The study adds on how the conversion of brown fat aids on losing weight and in burning more calories. They also reiterate the previous study done and come up still with similar results to it.

CBD also is linked to obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Past studies use animal models to verify this hypothesis. For instance, a CBD treatment was done with white rats. It significantly shows how rats had lost 25% of its total cholesterol upon repeated injections of CBD.

  • Long term use of THC helps on weight reduction

While the cannabinoid THC causes the ‘munchies effect’, there are studies claiming that long term use of THC rich cannabis poses the activation of its opposite effect.

A research done by Le Foll had potentially proved this claim. The study centers on THC effects to repeated use into the body. The research concluded that truly, THC reduces weight because of downregulation or desensitization.

The excess of THC into our body develops tolerance into the CB1 and CB2 receptors. This action could result in inhibition instead of activation to endocannabinoids such as 2-AG that stimulates the release of ghrelin, the hunger hormone to increase the appetite.

Repeated and regular intake of THC could not just decrease appetite. However, oversaturation of THC could even lead to suppression of appetite which will cause malnutrition if not prevented.

  • The action of THCV could potentially attribute to weight decrease

THCV, a much less known cannabinoid has also been examined for this study. It has been discovered that THCV similar to CBD antagonizes the action of CB1 receptors. Furthermore, this action could prevent manipulation of the ghrelin (the hunger hormone) which has been known to increase or decrease one’s appetite.

Nevertheless, the study has opened doors toward investigations on other cannabinoids potential to the reduction of weight and other chronic diseases such as cancer, AIDS, and diabetes.

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Video Source: PictureFit

Transformation Videos and Real-time Proofs

Though research is a very reliable data to justify the claims, we always want real-time evidence or a before and after transformations to intensify our beliefs with any scientific data.

However, there are no testimonials into the ‘weight gain’ assumption of cannabis. In contrary, most testimonials refer to cannabis as a great addition to their diet for ‘weight reduction’.

A couple of these testimonials include a Toronto resident Ayan, 28 years old who have lost more than 100 pounds through smoking two joints per day for straight two years.

She added on her interview through the Daily Mail how she’d tried all types of diet schemes for all these years. However, not one had become as efficient as cannabis use.

Though, she says that along with smoking pot, she also works out three times a day to facilitate this process.

Another testimonial for these weight loss treatment is by a Youtube channel named ‘Paradise Hally’. Upon smoking cannabis, she had lost more than 36 pounds without even working out or eating healthily to facilitate the treatment.

But nonetheless, as it ain’t not intimately studied, the weight loss testimonials aren’t valid as there could be other contributory factors that affect weight reduction.

However, apart from these two, there are a lot of testimonials stating how cannabis had helped them reduce their weight. But nonetheless, a certain conclusion could not be mandated as it could be all just be a coincidence.

Though, multiple weight loss treatment evidence increases the possibility of its effect on the body. There should just be a formal weight loss study to truly back up this claim.

And also, we can’t close our doors to the weight gain assumptions. Who would even dare to post online that they’re ‘gaining weight’ Being fat is shaming and embarrassing. Only a few people want to increase their weight.

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Video Source: Paradise Hally

The Final Word

Examining everything, for now, we’ll just have to take sides with the assumption on weight loss. Apart from it has a lot of proofs, there is real-time evidence to back up its claims.

However, as said, there are a lot of factors that interplay with the effects of cannabis. It should be important that age, gender, lifestyle, and various environmental factors could affect the body’s metabolism functions.

Apart from that, treatment for weight loss or gain depends on the particular strain we use. It’s important to know that sativa-dominant strains (assuming THC rich) induce weight gain and the latter indica-dominant strains (high in CBD) oppositely affect one’s weight.

All in all, furthermore studies should be done regarding this myth. But nonetheless, whatever it is, cannabis is truly a wonderful plant holding potential therapeutic benefits into the body to be discovered.