If you told me back in the beginning of my career that one day, I’d be writing about using marijuana as a weight loss aid, I wouldn’t have believed you. And yet, here we are.
Most people recognize cannabis as an appetite stimulant—and stigma still paints regular users as “lazy stoners,” despite evidence pointing to the contrary. So consider me shocked that there are actually scientists out there touting marijuana as a potential cure for the obesity epidemic.
In fact, a growing body of evidence suggests that precise doses and delivery systems may be the secret to unlocking this plant’s true potential…
Defense against the Western diet
Most of this research is coming out of Canada, where pot became federally legal last year. And despite still being in its early stages, the results are promising to say the least.
For example, early case studies showed that cannabis seems to confer users with protection against liver disease—and laboratory investigations on human cell lines and mice have supported this mechanism.
Animal studies show that mice on a calorie-dense Western diet won’t gain weight when they receive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—one of the main cannabinoids in the marijuana plant. They also show that marijuana actively helps with weight loss—and combats inflammation and metabolic dysfunction—even without dietary changes.
And in humans? Well, the data is still largely observational—but it’s compelling.
A large review of 17 different studies on weight and marijuana use, featuring more than 150,000 subjects, showed that marijuana users are leaner than non-users… even though they eat around 800 more calories a day.
That’s right: While non-users were generally overweight, the users tended to stay in a normal weight range—amounting to a seven percent difference in body mass index (BMI) overall.
In other words, while pot may still give you “the munchies” right after using, the effect over the next several weeks that follow is quite the opposite—delivering a decrease in appetite, and a turbocharged metabolism.
We’ve only scratched the surface
As you may recall, I’ve been a big fan of cannabis for a while now, having seen how it transformed my practice in the state of California, where it’s been legal for years. And it’s starting to change my practice in New York, too—although here, we’re still very limited in the patients that can use it.
It’s frustrating, I have to admit. Because let’s face facts: If marijuana actually can help to counteract both the diabesity and the opioid epidemic, then why in the world aren’t we fast tracking the research on it?
The cannabis plant has over 400 active components. And you know full well that if this was a pharmaceutical drug instead of a natural substance, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would already have it signed, sealed, and delivered to the public in a pill bottle.
As it stands, some strains of cannabis are incredibly beneficial. Others, not so much—and we still have a lot to learn. We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to investigating what pot can do, despite it being one of the most well-studied plants out there.
But I’ll tell you one thing. As a doctor who has dedicated my life to helping people lose weight, I want to know if this really works. And I know I’m not alone.
The good news is that, now that legalization is gaining momentum, human research is, too. In fact, I dedicated an entire article to the metabolic benefits of cannabis in the recent August issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“CBD: Your metabolism’s new best friend”).
Needless to say, the facts behind all of those marijuana myths may surprise you. So if you haven’t yet, consider subscribing today—you won’t be sorry.
“Lose weight with marijuana?” Medscape Medical News, 08/28/2019. (medscape.com/viewarticle/917328)