It’s officially bathing suit weather outside but we might not be leaping at the chance to squeeze into our swimwear if we haven’t been hitting the gym. While exercising and eating right is pretty much always going to be the winning combo for weight loss, people have taken routes both healthy and quite dangerous in their quests for the perfect body. Yet, few dieters have considered cannabis as a means to shave away the pounds, most likely because weed is so often associated with weight gain. While ganja is much publicized as an appetite stimulant, marijuana weight loss is a very real (if not fully understood) thing. So how do you know whether you should be hitting the glass pipe before hitting the gym?
The Statistics Linking Marijuana to Weight Loss
Let’s digest the statistics before we try to interpret them. In 2011, the American Journal of Epidemiology published research demonstrating that subjects who smoked marijuana between 3 – 5 times weekly were approximately 1/3 less likely to suffer from obesity when compared to subjects who abstained from cannabis use. 2015 found the Health Economics journal sharing research that showed a 2% to 6% reduction in the likelihood of obesity in areas that had legalized medical marijuana. These areas also enjoyed an approximate $58 – $115 per-person reduction on medical spending specifically dealing with obesity.
Then there was the 2013 study published in the American Journal of Medicine that found subjects who habitually indulged in reefer had 16% less fasting insulin in their systems than those who were weed-free. What is fasting insulin, you ask? It’s the amount of insulin naturally produced in your body before you eat. If you consume food that makes your glucose levels rise too quickly, your body may counteract by producing excess insulin. Too much insulin or glucose in your body often results in excess weight gain. But what makes this study even more illuminating is that the regular marijuana smokers also displayed 17% lower resistance levels to insulin and similarly smaller waist sizes. The gist: smoking weed seemed to help with weight loss in a significant number of subjects. Initially, these results were perplexing to research teams considering marijuana’s undeniable link to the “munchies” but it quickly became apparent that there were several factors at play.
Alcohol Substitution May Be Key to Marijuana Weight Loss
Anyone who’s passed a middle school health class understands that if we consume more calories than we burn, we will gain weight. Therefore, the numerous studies pointing to generally increased chances of weight reduction among weed smokers confound expectations of an aid so often recommended as an appetite stimulant in cancer and AIDS patients. One theory posits that recreational use of cannabis is replacing alcohol consumption. While the correlation may not be immediately obvious, alcohol is highly saturated in calories. Therefore, switching from booze to weed could actually promote weight loss in heavy drinkers. This theory also warns that teetotalers who suddenly take up marijuana smoking may actually suffer from weight gain.
Joints on the Way to the Gym
Smoking weed until you’re in a couch-locked haze can be fun now and then but it’s not the best way to battle obesity. To truly take advantage of the benefits of a marijuana weight loss program, many athletes are coupling herb with their exercise routines to reach new vistas of physical achievement. THC and CBD can help ease stress and broaden pain threshold, both ideal to going the distance at the gym. Smoking up before yoga may seem like it would make the process grueling but ganja’s tendency to act as an anti-inflammatory actually mirror the endorphins released in your body, often resulting in a pleasurable experience. Working weed into an exercise routine can take the burn off while also allowing you to ease into a healthy habit.
Feel the Strain
Of course, not every strain is going to be conducive to the smoking experience. Everybody reacts differently to strains and with a federal lockdown on research, analysis of strains is more speculation than hard science. However, many landrace strains have shown evidence of actually suppressing appetite as opposed to the numerous strains that actually promote the radicalized sensation of hunger known as the munchies. These landrace strains are equipped with the THCV cannabinoid that effectively barricades against THC. These landrace strains still get you stoned but the high comes and goes much more rapidly. Green Crack, Durban Poison, and Super Silver Haze are just a handful of strains high in THCV that, in most smokers, would be conducive to marijuana weight loss.
While the key to marijuana weight loss may be a bit more complex than lighting up a water pipe and firing up Netflix, anything that can make working out (and healthy living in general) easier deserves some gratitude. Summer’s here and we’re going to be sweating anyway. Why not add a bit of euphoria into the mix, get into the groove of an exercise routine that works for us, and stay in that groove with a well-timed toke?