Yes You CAN Consume Marijuana Without Gaining Weight
If you are a cannabis user, you are too familiar with the inevitable side effect colloquially known as “the munchies.” Every smoking sesh is followed by the perennial raiding of the fridge and consequent binge eating. If you have an eating disorder or are bordering on one, the munchies may grab a stronger hold on you. You will find yourself eating for hours until the effects of the plant wear off. The munchies are a phenomenon that goes hand in hand with cannabis use.
But what if you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight? How do you get around the munchies? Some people give up weed altogether just to avoid the inevitable munchies. For medical patients, giving up cannabis is not an option. Nor is abstinence an option for recreational users.
There are, in fact, ways to avoid that uncontrollable eating urge ever present after using marijuana. But before we delve into that, it is important to understand why cannabis makes us so hungry in the first place.
When you get the munchies, THC and other cannabinoids activate your brain’s cannabinoid receptors. THC promotes the neuronal activity of proopiomelanocortin cells in the hypothalamus and triggers feelings of hunger even when you are full. Chemicals within the cannabis plant combine with the receptors in the olfactory bulb of the brain impacting taste and smell.
Normally, the body’s hunger receptors will shut down after eating, but cannabis represses those receptors so we can eat more and not feel full. People who are trying to lose or maintain their weight will find the munchies to be an unwelcome challenge.
The Science Behind the Munchies
\For decades, scientists have been trying to figure out how and why marijuana’s main active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, stimulates the appetite. THC boosts our awareness to flavors and scents by convincing the brain that it is starving when it is not.
A team of European neuroscientists at the University of Bordeaux found that in mice, THC goes into receptors in the brain’s olfactory bulb, increasing the rats’ sense of smell and driving them to eat more. This research shows that the reason why you want to eat more food after consuming marijuana is that you can smell and taste it more acutely. Simply put, THC gives us the munchies by convincing our brains that we’re starving, even when we are full.
Marijuana stimulates appetite; it’s that simple. While this side effect can be undesirable for many of us, it is a godsend for patients who are dealing with conditions such as nausea, anorexia, cancer, ulcerative colitis and other ailments that interfere with appetite and weight gain. For these people, the munchies are a welcome relief.
It is not possible to annihilate the munchies completely, but there are things you can do to fight the urge to eat after a cannabis session. Below we put our spotlight the steps you can take to ensure that you don’t eat the whole refrigerator the next time you consume weed.
Junk Food Proof Your Home
Keep junk food out of the house and stock up on healthy options like cut up fruits and veggies. Have on hand cut up fruit like mangos, cantaloupe, watermelon, salted nuts. If you have no unhealthy snacks lying around the house you’ll likely much on healthier alternatives. Just try not to succumb to the temptation of grabbing your car keys and heading to the store to buy junk food.
Try Different Strains
Just like whiskey is different from wine or beer, so are different strains of cannabis. Different strains have different side effects. Sativa strains tend to curb the appetite because they provide a mental high as opposed to the indica strains. A high-THC strain will not give you the munchies like a CBD-rich strain. Additionally, there are actually specific cannabis strains that help treat obesity.
Some cannabis strains even possess special terpenes or cannabinoids that actually suppress appetite. Strains that carry the compound THCV are further inclined to repress appetite. This cannabinoid is an antagonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors, that block THC, and keeps you from getting the munchies. Durban Poison, Blue Dream, Grapefruit and Northern Lights are a few of the cannabis strains that will help you to control the urges to overeat.
Hide Your Junk Food Stash
Before you consume cannabis, gather all the junk food in your kitchen and put them somewhere difficult to get. Ask a family member or roomie to hang on to them. Ask them to hold your car keys while they’re at it. Doing this will prevent you from going to the store to buy junk food. Making the food hard to get may prevent you from eating it.
Shop for Groceries Wisely
When grocery shopping, fill your cart with healthy snacks like sliced fruit and veggies and forego anything fattening or unhealthy. Carrot sticks, grapes, hummus, and popcorn are favorite healthy snacks. Snacking mindfully this way will allow you to appreciate the flavors of healthy foods. Purchase food in individual or single servings. This way, instead of eating an entire cake, you’ll only eat a single portion.
Exercise While You’re High
This one is not for everyone. Most people don’t usually want to go for a run after smoking weed. However, getting some physical activity after taking a few tokes may curb the insatiable appetite that would otherwise appear if exercise were not in the mix. If anything, it will keep you away from the refrigerator. The exercise will distract you from eating those 2 quarts of Häagen-Dazs after a smoke sesh. Also, exercising while high can benefit your workout and make it more enjoyable.
Take a Nap
Many people use cannabis to induce sleep. If you can summon a ten-minute nap while high, you’ll be able to ward off the munchies, at least temporarily. The longer the nap, the less likely you’ll be raiding the refrigerator.
Leave the house after you consume cannabis. Go for a hike or a walk around the block. You will see things more clearly when high and have a greater appreciation for the mundane things you would otherwise ignore.
After smoking, keep yourself busy. Paint, write, dance, or do yoga. Cannabis will unlock your creative potential and you may come up with a creative art piece that you wouldn’t have been able to accomplish were it not for the weed.
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…
If you can’t beat ‘em, enjoy it! It’s okay to overindulge once in a while, as long as once in a while doesn’t turn into a couple of hours of binge eating. If you don’t trust yourself to mindfully eat smaller portions, have a friend hide that bag of Lays. You will be glad after you sober up.
Don’t let the munchies get you down. While there is no cure for the munchies, but there are ways to get around them so you can take your medicine, keep your figure and enjoy the view.