It’s a classic effect of smoking pot: the raging craving for savory, salty, and sweet snacks that everyone knows as the munchies. Arguably, this universal need to feed is one of the most enjoyable benefits of being stoned. Smokers are as particular about curating a perfect collection of snack foods as they are about getting the best kush. The only problem – those extra pounds that squish above your waistband don’t go away when your high does.
But, don’t throw your bong away just yet. As if you would. Despite having a reputation for making you hungry, certain strains of cannabis can actually suppress your appetite and help with weight loss.
Why do I get the munchies after smoking?
There is extensive research on why marijuana’s active ingredient, THC, stimulates appetite. When you smoke or ingest weed, the THC binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the part of the brain responsible for regulating emotions, pain, and the senses of smell and taste. In other words, smoking weed enhances your sensitivity to smell, making those gooey, cheesy pizza rolls a lot more potent and appealing. THC also releases a flood of dopamine, which makes eating even more enjoyable – a perfect recipe for a night on the couch with a bag of chips.
How cannabis can help with weight loss
Given that the active ingredient in marijuana is responsible for causing food cravings, it seems backwards that smoking a particular strain could help quell them. Enter THCV and humulene.
THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a cannabinoid with a mellower psychoactive effect than its cousin, THC. It’s an antagonist of the body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors, which means it blocks THC and the subsequent munchies. THCV also shows promising medical potential for weight loss by limiting the feel-good sensation you experience when eating comfort foods. Unfortunately, THCV is only produced in small quantities in the cannabis plant. Steer your search towards African Sativas, which have the highest potency of THCV. In particular, Doug’s Varin, Pineapple Purps, and Durban Poison have a higher concentration of THCV.
Humulene, a terpene also found in hops, works in a similar way to THCV to suppress the appetite. Whether you’re looking to drop a few pounds or just curb those inevitable cravings for crappy food when you’re baked, selecting a strain high in humulene can be an effective way to beat the bulge. Common strains high in humulene include Greenhouse Cheese, The Church, and Super Lemon Haze.
This article was originally published on Marijuana.com.
About Kate Kasbee: Kate Kasbee is a health and wellness writer based in Chicago. She is the content creator, recipe developer and content strategist for the site Well Vegan and co-authored her first book "Frugal Vegan: Affordable, Easy and Delicious Vegan Cooking." Beyond health and wellness, Kate is an experienced travel and real estate writer, serving as a contributor to publications such as "Travel in Style" and "The Los Angeles Times Las Vegas Guide."