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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.

Here’s how cannabis can help lose weight this summer

The trick is figuring out which weed strain will end up becoming a gym buddy

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    Article content

    The sharp rise in the munchies — seriously, it’s a thing — is being blamed on the legalization of recreational pot.

    • Does smoking weed make you lose weight?
    • Federal study aims to learn more about marijuana and weight loss
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    But a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in March 2019 by Michigan State University highlights an interesting finding. “Contrary to the belief — that marijuana users who have a serious case of the munchies will ultimately gain more weight — those who smoke cannabis, or marijuana, weigh less compared to adults who don’t,” Michigan State University notes.

    Here’s how cannabis can help lose weight this summer Back to video

    While marijuana does increase appetite, it could also help with losing weight; the trick is figuring out which weed strain will end up becoming a fitness buddy.

    Are long-term marijuana users less likely to be obese?

    It seems as though that’s true. A study published in 2011 evaluated the presence of obesity among adults over the age of 18. The results showed that “of the 50,736 eligible respondents from the U.S., the prevalence of obesity was significantly lower in cannabis users than in non-users.” Another study, published in 2010, collected data from 2,566 adults over the age of 21. Once again, findings highlighted lower overweightedness and obesity among adult cannabis users. Still, “further research is needed to examine the mechanism of this association,” researchers added.

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    “The effects can be varied on individuals,” says Dr. Murdoc Khaleghi, senior medical advisor for Elevate Hemp, a U.S.-based manufacturer of CBD products. “Some people admit that cannabis makes them more alert, while others find the effects calming. The big difference lies in the cannabis strains,” Dr. Khaleghi notes.

    What cannabis strains can help you lose weight?

    The basics of losing weight include monitoring calorie intake, exercise and getting proper rest or sleep both before and after workout sessions. And while cannabis can’t solve all of life’s problem, it can certainly help.

    FILE – In this Feb. 20, 2015 file photo, Alaska Cannabis Club CEO Charlo Greene smokes a joint at the medical marijuana dispensary in Anchorage, Alaska. Photo by AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File

    “I discovered early on that cannabis sometimes reduced my appetite. One time I sat down to have a meal, after I had vaporized, and I was no longer hungry,” says Bethany Rae, founder of Flower & Freedom, a community exploring cannabis use for fitness. “I later learned that it was strains high in THCV that were reducing my appetite instead of stimulating it.”

    THCV, also known as tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a compound found in cannabis that acts as an appetite suppressant, unlike THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, that is known to increase appetite. Some of the cannabis strains high in THCV, as recommended by Civilized, are Durban Poison, Doug’s Varin, Dutch Treat and the stoner classic, Girl Scout Cookies.

    Then, there’s cannabidiol (CBD): wonder drug for some, marketing scam for others. For the rest, CBD is the compound found in the cannabis that doesn’t cause any high, one that “can potentially decrease appetite,” says Dr. Khaleghi.

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    A 2017 study researching the safety and side effects of CBD did conclude that it seemed to have a better profile with regard to experiencing cannabis’ side effects, including a change in appetite and weight. “CBD is not an appetite stimulant; it certainly has less weight gain properties in contrast to THC,” Dr. Khaleghi adds.

    How weed can help with workouts, post-recovery and a good night’s sleep

    There’s no easy way to lose weight other than sweating it out; cannabis, however, can be a welcome cheerleader. If getting out of the bed, motivated, is proving a struggle, strains such as Durban Poison, Harlequin, Ghost Train Haze and Green Crack, as recommended by Leafly, have a solid track record for fighting fatigue and boosting energy.

    “I find cannabis helps me keep a healthy body weight by reducing inflammation and muscle pain; it even helps me recover faster from exercise,” reports Rae. For soothing out raw muscles, Civilized recommends strains such as Sour Diesel, Girl Scout Cookies, Blue Dream and Sweet Kush.

    A recent study suggests that “contrary to the belief — that marijuana users who have a serious case of the munchies will ultimately gain more weight — those who smoke cannabis, or marijuana, weigh less compared to adults who don’t.” Photo by iStock / Getty Images Plus

    Then there are the much-needed Zs, a lack of which is directly associated with obesity. Poor sleep can increase appetite, hunger craving and subsequent higher calorie intake, reports California-based healthline, a privately owned provider of health-related information. “Lack of sleep, in general, makes me feel hung-over and tired the next day. If I am tired, I am more like to seek out food that is high-energy, high-calorie food,” Rae says.

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    Even though research on sleep and cannabis is still in its early stages, a 2017 study found that CBD might hold promise for REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, sleep behaviour disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness. When it comes to cannabis strains for a good night’s rest, Greencamp recommends Purple Kush, God’s Gift, Grandaddy Purple and MK Ultra.

    How to use THC and still remain fit

    THC is one of the many reasons people use cannabis: to get high. But if THC stimulates hunger, does that mean a person should stay away from it? “If I’ve had too much THC in my body, I usually add in CBD,” says Rae. “If I am going to consume a strain that’s high in THC and has very little CBD, I might take some sublingual oil drops of CBD half an hour before to get some CBD in my system to help smooth out the experience.”

    From left: Bethany Rae, founder of Flower & Freedom, and Dr. Murdoc Khaleghi, senior medical advisor for Elevate Hemp.

    Interestingly, when it comes to weight gain in overweight people, THC doesn’t seem to be a problem. In a 2015 study, adult male DIO (diet-induced obesity) and lean mice were treated daily with THC (two mg/kg for three weeks and four mg/kg for one additional week). THC helped reduce weight in obese mice, but didn’t help the ones that were lean.

    “When a person is overweight, their metabolism is actually higher. People don’t realize, but overweight people burn more calories than normal weight individuals. That’s because some of the excess weight, whether it be fat or muscle, is metabolically actively burning calories. A body’s natural tendency is to burn calories from the excess weight and restore to normal weight,” explains Dr. Khaleghi.

    The trick is figuring out which weed strain will end up becoming a gym buddy