Weed 101: Can Cannabis Help You Lose Weight?
Cannabis is famous for making people hungry. But can this wonderful plant also help us stay fit? Yes, it can.
Published on January 10, 2020

Smoking, eating, drinking, vaping, dabbing, or otherwise consuming weed can make most folks feel ravenously hungry. This sensation, called “the munchies,” has stereotyped cannabis consumers as junk-food addicts who’ll eat anything and everything in sight while lit. 

This stereotype runs so deep that when Colorado voted to legalize weed in 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper cautioned the state’s residents not to “break out the Cheetos and Goldfish just yet.” Hickenlooper even posed in a photo with bags of Cheetos and Goldfish referencing his now famous quip.

But is this characterization of the unhealthy pothead, who makes poor dietary choices, accurate? What if weed, instead of making you eat a ton of junk food and put on weight, could actually fend off the munchies and keep the weight off?


Junk-Food Claims Are Only Half-Truths

Data from weed-legal states show that shortly after legalization, snack and junk food sales soar higher than the national averages. That’s not terribly surprisingly given that smoking weed will give most folks the munchies. But many of the first states to legalize, such as Washington, Colorado, and Oregon, also saw surges in population growth as people migrated to those regions from around the country — and the world — to live somewhere where weed was legal. So, those sales upticks may simply be due to more people living in those states, too.

However, recent studies show that cannabis consumers are much healthier than the junk-food-stoner stereotype would suggest. One 2011 study found that obesity rates were over 30 percent lower among tokers compared to non-tokers. In 2013, another study found that weed smokers had smaller waistlines and more insulin sensitivity than those who didn’t touch pot. Scientists suspect that regular cannabis use may regulate body weight, metabolism, and blood-sugar levels, though why that happens remains a mystery.

Not all strains are cultivated equally, though. Weed genetics contribute to cannabinoid production, but how weed is grown, cured, and stored affects THCV production, too. It’s possible that the Durban Poison or Tangie flower you pick up at a dispensary may not have much THCV. For consistency, consider infused or extracted cannabis products that contain THCV, such as SuicideGirls’ Zero vape cartridge, Level Blends’ Stimulate THCV Tablinguals, Doug’s Varin RELIEF vape pen, or PAX Era’s Dutch Treat vape pods.

Basically, weed alone probably isn’t going to help you lose weight. But if you responsibly combine the right cannabis products with an effective diet and exercise regimen, cannabis could be the perfect complement for a fitter, more active lifestyle.

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Randy Robinson
Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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