Losing or gaining weight isn’t as simple as the desire to do so. Many complicated factors impact this, such as age, sex, genetics, and lifestyle choices. It all comes down to intention influenced by moderation. With a schedule and plan that includes a diet, a target weight goal is attainable and could be helped with THC or CBD.
To understand appetite’s relation to with THC or CBD, one must first understand appetite’s relationship with the brain. Hunger is a basic survival instinct, which is why you crave certain foods more than others. Your body knows what it wants, however, imperceptible factors affect one’s desire for food. Mood, feelings, and emotions also have a huge influence on what you eat. Meanwhile, suppressed appetite sometimes stems from anxiety, fear, or stress, whereas depression, sadness, or a mental health condition can cause an increase in comfort food consumption.
So, how could one manage their appetite with CBD or THC? Medical marijuana consultant & Wellness Nurse Practitioner, Melinda Toussaint FNP-BC — co-founder of MariCare Wellness in Bowie, MD — provides some insight and solutions.
Toussaint, who provides medical cannabis recommendations to patients, about 25% of whom identify with weight issues, breaks the science down in basic terms, explaining, “CBD regulates your blood sugar. When you eat, your blood sugar spikes up, then it crashes to where you’re starving again. But with CBD, it keeps your appetite balanced, so you’re never feeling hungry per se.”
While the full extent of CBD’s impact remains unclear due to a lack of proper studies, preliminary research found that it affects weight by interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors in lymphoid tissues and the brain. This interaction, Toussaint says, is also why THC has a similar, yet lasting effect that regulates hunger.
The Entourage Effect is effective
THC and CBD work in synergy for a balance of effects. Cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids come together like a Voltron to provide you with greater health benefits through the entourage effect.
For example, Toussaint says, “THC stimulates appetite along with myrcene. It reuptakes the THC. If someone is having fatty foods, THC will stay in the system longer. Those who take CBD regularly don’t have a desire to eat. So, they’d take THC to stimulate the appetite. CBD lingers in the body longer since it’s processed by CB2 receptors and stored in the body longer. Humulene on the other hand, suppresses the appetite,” so one might consume Super Lemon Haze to promote weight loss. A person’s strain of choice ultimately influences the body’s reaction. Researching each terpenes’ use in relation to appetite is necessary.
Mood is also a contributing factor
While consulting patients seeking appetite regulation, Toussaint also explores if mood could be a cause for weight loss or gain resistance. If it is, terpenes are known to modulate various chemical levels in our brains, just as CBD and THC does. “Limonene regulates your mood to make you feel happy and uplifted. Linalool would help relax an anxious person to help them eat,” Toussaint says. Terpenes coupled with cannabinoids have a history of treating mood and anxiety disorders.
Method of consumption also influences your appetite
“Smoking and taking an edible produce two different effects. With smoking, hunger comes on faster and more intensely, where with an edible, it is processed in your digestive system, taking even longer.”
Toussaint’s advice? Have two types of products to regulate your appetite – one that acts quickly, such as an inhalant or one that takes its time, such as a tablet.
“For a longer duration of time, ingestibles are key – oils, tinctures, dummies, tablets, mints, anything infused. It takes 30 minutes to up to 3 hours to get the pique response. [The effect] lasts 6-12 hours or more, depending on the dose and the type of product you took. Gummies may kick in anywhere from 30 [minutes] to an hour and a half, but it lasts 8-12 hours, depending on your dose. Eating infused products could take 3 hours with an experience that lasts for a couple of days.”
This varies on the individual and their unique chemical and physical makeup.
CBD/THC regulation is trial and error
Toussaint reminds us that medicating with cannabis is trial and error, so don’t be afraid to tell your local budtender the ailments for which you’re seeking relief. They are trained and educated to help you find a proper solution based on what’s available.
Also, keep in mind that every day is not the same: “If you’re more stressed or active on a particular day, you may need to use more than if you’re having more of a relaxing day,” Toussaint said. “That also plays a role.”
Your cannabis needs vary daily, just as your body’s needs. The key is to always set an intention, then act on it.