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The Best Cannabis Strains for Appetite Suppression

Wednesday January 23, 2019

C annabis consumers and non-consumers alike are well aware that using marijuana is bound to increase your appetite, giving you what is popularly known as “the munchies.” But are there strains that could do the opposite and help to reduce appetite? To find the answer, let’s take a closer look into the world of cannabinoids and how they interact with the human body.

Are there Cannabis Strains that Curb the Munchies?

The body has its own endocannabinoid system, which interacts with the cannabinoids found in marijuana. When cannabis is consumed, it activates a receptor called CB1, which researchers believe is behind the munchies phenomenon.

Though research is scant, it is thought that strains high in THC are behind the activation of CB1, which stimulates appetite, while strains that contain balanced or larger amounts of CBD may counteract the mechanisms of CB1. So, while THC is getting busy activating CB1 receptors – and making you hungry – CBD, which triggers CB2 receptors, may inhibit the action of CB1, helping to tamp down the impulse to eat while high.

In addition to CBD, another cannabinoid thought to be useful for curbing appetite is THCV.

Very similar to its counterpart THC – the compound behind marijuana’s high – both THC and THCV interact with the same receptors. However, THCV acts as an antagonist of receptors CB1 and CB2, meaning it acts in the opposite way. So, if the interaction of THC on these receptors makes you hungry, THCV is acting to block the reward centers in the brain associated with the pleasure of eating food, making it less enjoyable, and therefore, less desirable. In fact, it may be why cannabis users, on average, are thinner than those that do not partake.

Top Strains for Appetite Suppression

THCV, in amounts large enough to make a difference in decreasing appetite, is rather tough to find. Though it is psychoactive like cannabis, the high is believed to have a more psychedelic feel and wear off much quicker, so it is often bred out of popular strains, many of which are bred for a potent high.

Current thought points to African sativas as the most likely to have higher amounts of THCV, and as the market for cannabis grows and more research is done, it is likely that finding THCV will be much easier to find in the near future. In the meanwhile, here are some strains that may be able to stave off the munchies:

Best Strains to Curb Appetite:

  • Durban Poison is a South African sativa with sweet and spicy notes known for its clear-headed effect
  • Super Silver Haze is thought to be the perfect sativa-leaning hybrid because of its balance of both mental and physical effects
  • Green crack is an energizing, upbeat sativa-dominant hybrid with an earthy taste and citrusy scent
  • ACDC is a strain low on THC and rich in CBD. With the sweet smell of lemongrass and cherries and a CBD/THC ratio of 30:1, this strain is good for those who want to avoid both the munchies and getting high
  • Lemon G13 is heavy on the terpene limonene, making this sativa-leaning hybrid one of the most aromatic. Even though it offers a very cerebral high, it is also very energetic and uplifting

While these strains might help you avoid the munchies, relying on strains rich in CBD or THCV to manage weight is not a great idea. Getting around 30 minutes of moderate activity every day should do the trick, and it can be as simple as mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, or taking a walk around the block. For optimal functional fitness, combine this with strength training a couple of times a week, and take it easy on foods high in fat and sugar. These changes, combined with an appetite-suppressing strain to ease any post-exercise aches and pains, could add up to a healthy lifestyle that doesn’t include the munchies.

What are your favorite strains for appetite suppression? Share them in the comments below!

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work – which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor – covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Most cannabis consumers have experienced a run in or two with the munchies, but are there marijuana strains out there that can actually do the opposite? Learn more about the best strains for appetite suppression and why THCV content plays such an important role in curbing hunger.

Best Cannabis Strains for Obesity? Here’s What You Need to Know

Cannabis and obesity is a topic not often discussed. Which is odd, considering that cannabis is known for causing the munchies.

To get one thing clear from the start, there is no such thing as the “best marijuana strains to lose weight.” While cannabis may indeed hold potential in helping to increase metabolism and lower BMI (more on that later), there is no clinical research on the topic of using specific cannabis strains for obesity and weight loss.

There is, however, research on the general topic of cannabis and its relationship to weight and obesity. In this article, we discuss relevant published studies and highlight several strains that may be of interest to those looking to use cannabis as a means to improve daily health and wellness.

Frightening Statistics on Obesity in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 40% of U.S. adults struggle with obesity.

Indeed, many agree with the notion that obesity in the U.S. is now a pandemic. Much of this relates to the standard American diet and lifestyle, but what are folks doing – and what can they do – to help curb obesity? Is cannabis a practical option?

Based on research, the use of cannabis may help with obesity and weight loss in terms of influencing mechanisms related to metabolism.

Before we get into that discussion, however, let’s take a look at what obesity is.

Before We Get to the Cannabis Strains, What Is Obesity?

Harvard Health defines obesity as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or higher. BMI between 25.0 kg/m2 and 29.9 kg/m2 is defined as overweight.

BMI is a measurement derived from an individual’s height and weight. While Body Mass Index isn’t always the most reliable indicator for an individual’s general wellness, it serves as a reliable indicator for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

What Causes Obesity?

In general, the balance between calorie intake and energy expenditure determines a person’s weight. Therefore, the most common cause of obesity is a lack of physical activity combined with overeating.

With that being said, there are additional factors associated with obesity. Here are a few of the most common ones:

1) Genetics

A person is more than likely to develop some type of obesity if one or both parents are obese.

2) Lack of Sleep

Research has suggested a possible relationship between lack of sleep and obesity. However, more research is needed to determine the exact physiological mechanism(s) responsible for this relationship.

3) Lack of Physical Activity/Exercise

Again, obesity is largely the result of a simple imbalance between energy intake and expenditure. People who consume a lot of calories (or even an average amount of calories) without engaging in activity to burn them off are more likely to develop obesity or gain excess weight.

Unfortunately, the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of many individuals is cause for concern regarding obesity. Whereas once individuals had to physically move their body to complete even the most mundane of daily tasks (i.e., cleaning the house, going out to buy food, etc.), much of this is seemingly becoming a thing of the past.

4) Medications

Certain medications can cause weight gain as an unintended side effect. Medications most often associated with weight gain include diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, certain antidepressant medications, epilepsy medications, steroids, and certain blood pressure medications.

5) Psychological Factors

For some people, overeating can be triggered by mental health disorders. Binge eating is now considered a specific type of eating disorder. While the cause of binge eating is unknown, it may largely relate to stress, depression, and anxiety – all of which are on the rise, according to Harvard Health & Medicine.

Potential Relationships Between Marijuana Strains and Obesity

As we just discussed, obesity can be caused by a number of different factors – most of which are combined with overeating. Interestingly, it appears that cannabis users weigh less in general than non-cannabis users. This, of course, is odd, especially considering that cannabis is known to cause the munchies.

In a recent study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, scientists concluded that cannabis “may be a better option for weight loss than surgery or pharmaceuticals.”

“Cannabis ‘may be a better option for weight loss than surgery or pharmaceuticals.’”

-Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, Dec. 2018

Their conclusion was based on observations that THC works to downregulate CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), leading to reduced obesity rates.

As far as why downregulation of CB1 results in decreased rates of obesity – despite increased caloric intake – authors of the study theorize that “rapid and long-lasting downregulation of CB1R … reduces energy storage and increases metabolic rates, thus reversing the impact on [BMI] of elevated dietary omega-6/omega-3 ratios.”

In other words, despite the increased consumption of calories, it appears that THC consumption results in lower BMI via increased metabolic rates.

However, there is no current research on using specific cannabis strains for weight loss or obesity.

Based on the above-cited research discussing THC’s role in increased metabolic rates and downregulation of CB1, here are several of our favorite high-THC cannabis strains.

Marijuana Strains & Obesity: 5 Of Our Favorite High-THC Strains

The following should NOT be mistaken as a “list of the best marijuana strains for obesity.” Research suggests that THC may play a role in decreased BMI, and therefore decreased rates of obesity. The following are merely several of our team’s favorite all-time picks for high-THC cannabis.

Cannabis Strain #1 – Durban Poison

This popular strain from South Africa has been a favorite high-THC cultivar for years. Often regarded as a powerhouse marijuana strain, THC levels frequently reach as high as 26%. The resulting high is immensely potent and cerebral, meaning Durban Poison is unsuitable for inexperienced cannabis users.

Cannabis Strain #2 – Blue Dream

Another increasingly popular high-THC strain is the sativa-dominant hybrid Blue Dream. This cross between the sativa strain, Haze, and the indica-dominant hybrid, Blueberry, is known for offering a range of potential medical uses. It can also help keep users motivated and focused and even provide a boost of sativa-inspired energy.

Cannabis Strain #3 – Grapefruit

The Grapefruit strain, known as an energetic and joy-inducing stress reliever, reportedly can contain a THC content of between 20-25%. Also, most phenotypes boast roughly a 70:30 percent sativa/indica ratio, which potentially could help with a wide variety of medical conditions while making you feel active and motivated.

Cannabis Strain #4 – Northern Lights

As we mentioned above, one of the potential culprits of obesity is lack of sleep. Northern Lights is an iconic indica marijuana strain that is known to help aid sleep. It provides a relaxed body high and a feeling of intense sedation that can work wonders in terms of facing difficulties falling asleep for many users. With Northern Lights, it is essential to achieve the right level of dosing; if you get it right, however, you’ll likely experience a good night’s rest.

Is marijuana good for obesity and losing weight? This is an incredibly unusual topic, but there are specific strains that may help.