Marijuana use is mistakenly associated with binge eating a copious amount of junk food and gaining weight. Research into how cannabis affects metabolism tells a different story. A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine gave more credence to the idea that cannabis have smaller waist sizes than the average non-user.
It may seem counterintuitive, but regular marijuana use can regulate weight despite all those extra calories you seem to be consuming.
Marijuana Myths on the “Munchies”
After you smoke a joint, take a hit from a bong, or dab from your vape pen for concentrates, you will inevitably feel hungry. THC, a cannabinoid compound found in marijuana, stimulates appetite by enhancing smell and taste.
While regular marijuana users tend to eat more than 600 calories per day more than the average non-user, those calories don’t necessarily turn to fat. Especially with marijuana users who have a high tolerance, regular use has dulled certain cell receptors that regulate appetite.
Marijuana Improves Carbohydrate Metabolism
Carbohydrate metabolism involves multiple biochemical processes that convert carbohydrates into energy. In recent years, research has shown that marijuana users have lower fasting insulin levels and smaller waist sizes. Regular marijuana consumption showed a correlation with up to 16% lower fasting insulin levels that non-users.
Insulin in our body is meant to absorb sugar (glucose). If the insulin, produced in the pancreas, absorbs too much glucose it can lead to negative physiological effects. Some people may experience fatigue, weight gain and increase the risk for blood sugar imbalance.
With insulin resistance, the body is unable to absorb glucose properly. Marijuana helps by balancing blood sugar levels to reduce the risk of prolonged increased insulin levels. Chronic high insulin levels can increase risk of obesity and diabetes.
Marijuana Lowers Risk of Diabetes
In large sample studies, researchers have found a clear link between marijuana use and a lower risk for contracting diabetes mellitus. After adjusting for social variables, researchers found that marijuana users were 30% less likely to contract Type 2 diabetes.
Marijuana users also seem to have a high level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), known as the good cholesterol. This HDL removes the bad cholesterol in the bloodstream and reduces the risk of heart disease. It also repairs damage of blood vessel walls. Damage to blood vessels is the first sign of blood flow blockage. HDL can reduce risk of a heart attack.
Regular marijuana use may not be the cure-all for weight gain problems or metabolic disorders, but safe consumption can add a tool to the treatment of metabolic problems. Whether you’re looking to relieve stress which can make you eat more or worried that marijuana will make you gain weight, smoking the plant can be beneficial in regulating your metabolism so it can function effectively.