There’s always the stereotype–someone high on pot, going throughout their house, gobbling up any food they can find. And yes, one of the side effects of medical marijuana can be hunger. But surprisingly, marijuana has actually been found to increase your metabolism despite this stereotype.
How is that possible?
Recently, the University of Miami examined around 8,500 individuals, ranging from 20 to 59 years old, via the National Health and Nutrition Surveys. They found cannabis users on average:
- Had lower blood sugar levels
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Less risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
- Less abdominal fat
- Lower levels of bad cholesterol.
There have also been several other studies reconfirming this research. This led down another series of questioning, because how could a substance famous for making people eat more actually have an opposite effect on their bodies?
Well, it has to do with the chemicals that control hunger. In order to make us feel hungry, an endocannabinoid (yes, that is the actual term) called “anandamide” is released in our system. Anandamide is replaced by THC when we consume marijuana. This compound specifically activates the cell receptor known as the CB1 receptor, which increases appetite in your brain. But at the same time, other compounds in marijuana activate other cell receptors that encourage different urges to deactivate–for instance, the storage of fat from the food that you consume.
In effect, this cancels many of the effects from the added calories you may be consuming, as well as gives you the additional medical benefits associated with medical marijuana.
Does this mean you can use all the medical marijuana you want to not gain weight? Of course not. But it does show that there continues to be more benefits to this substance than we fully understand yet, and we need to keep researching its health properties.