Marijuana for Weight Loss: Take a Hit, Get Fit

Marijuana leads to the munchies, right?

And the munchies lead to weight gain, right?

Some medicinal marijuana users are prescribed cannabis specifically because of its ability to help trigger the appetite.

So why is the stereotypical stoner so skinny?

While it won’t replace a healthy diet and exercise, heavy cannabis use may play a role in getting a smaller waist and lower body mass index (BMI).

Let’s take a tour through the science behind the munchies, and the evidence and resources available about losing weight with cannabis.

Mad Munchie Science

Ask a non-smoker what happens when you get high and they’ll almost certainly talk about the munchies.

And the science does support the stereotype in a few ways that make weight loss with weed even more surprising.

The average cannabis user consumes about 600 calories more per day than a non-user. Additionally, according to Smithsonian.com, “THC appears to increase our sensitivity to scents and flavors by using naturally occurring neural networks to convince the brain that it’s starving.”

If marijuana makes us eat more, though, how is the marijuana diet a thing?

The Evidence for the Marijuana Diet

An increasing body of research has linked marijuana use to weight loss.

People who use cannabis at least 3 days per week have a lower prevalence of obesity (14.3%) than non-users (22.0%) according to research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (2011).

A more recent study (2016) looked at national survey data and found that daily marijuana users—both men and women—have about a 3% lower BMI.

Looking beyond more visible weight indicators, current marijuana users appear to have lower fasting insulin levels (16% lower) than non-users. The same study from The American Journal of Medicine also found smaller average waist sizes among current cannabis consumers. The amount of cannabis consumed wasn’t associated with increased improvements.

Less obesity, lower BMI, smaller waist size, lower insulin levels… you might be ready to start smoking more right now. Here are just a few tips to get even more out of your marijuana diet plan.

Tips to Help You Lose Weight with Weed

Choose the right strains. Some strains are more likely to give you the munchies, while others may send you off on a hike or cleaning spree. Knowing what weed keeps you active and away from the fridge is step one in using marijuana to manage or lose weight.

Have a meal plan. Eating right is still an important part of achieving your weight loss goals. A meal plan makes it easy to stick to a set shopping list and make healthy, flavorful, and satisfying meals and snacks.

Have a weed “meal” plan. In an ideal world you’ll have at least one sativa and one indica that can keep you motivated and help you relax without triggering the munchies.

Find an exercise routine you like. A hard workout isn’t always fun while it’s happening (or while your body is recovering). That’s why it’s important to find an exercise routine you enjoy… or at least one you don’t hate.

You can increase motivation by saving your favorite edibles for after a workout. You can have other edibles any time you want (this is a marijuana diet, after all), but the best is reserved as a reward before or after exercise.

In order to see what happens in the next episode, you’ll need to fit in another workout this week.

Know your stressors. Emotional eating is something we all do at times, especially when we feel stressed or anxious. You know what else helps alleviate stress in the short-term? Weed. Instead of polishing off a carton of ice cream after a terrible day, a few hits from your bowl or vape may offer the same level of stress relief without all the calories.

Lose Weight, Not Your Buzz

The marijuana diet isn’t a weight loss cure-all. But, it has been shown to decrease BMI, lower insulin levels, and reduce waist size.

So if you were thinking about cutting marijuana from your daily routine as a way to help you lose weight, think again. You may actually lose weight by smoking more.

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