Is there a magic component in cannabis which might lead to weight loss?
It’s long been believed that the use of cannabis can lead to an effect known as “the munchies,” an intense craving for unhealthy carbohydrates, like potato chips, pizza, cookies, etc. Cannabis is known to trigger the release of hormones that make us feel famished and can cause us to gobble up everything in sight. Many even enjoy ‘getting high’ and eating a lot. By that logic, observers say, consuming marijuana should make us fat – shouldn’t it?
Maybe not. Recent studies suggest that we might have had some of the basics of marijuana consumption wrong for a long time. It’s just possible that cannabis can, in some circumstances, play a promising and perhaps surprising role in generating weight loss.
Scientists say there is a lesser-known ‘magic’ feature of cannabis – THCV – that might help you shed some lbs or Kgs from your body weight.
It’s all about the THCV
Research has shown that Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), a compound in cannabis, in its pure form serves as an appetite suppressant.
THCV is a cannabinoid found in the resin glands of the marijuana plant. Unlike THC (the psycho-active component of cannabis) and CBD (Cannabidiols), THCV comes with an energizing effect and also seems to modify the effects of other cannabinoids like THC. THCV also has fast-acting, strong psychoactive properties, but these last for only about half the duration of the effects experienced by those experiencing THC.
Title: THCV cannabinoid in cannabis plants helps lose weight.
Caption: A growing body of evidence suggest that THCV cannabinoid helps lose weight.
Alt-text: THCV cannabinoid helps avoid the risk of obesity.
THCV controls appetite by suppressing CB1 receptors in our brain – they’re the parts of the brain that make people think they are hungry / full. THCV is also responsible for the pungent smell of cannabis plants. You can use smell as an indicator that the selected strain contains generous levels of the compound.
Though there is only a small amount of evidence available about this – at the moment – largely as a result of the illegality of cannabis – , researchers and pharmaceutical companies are further investigating whether and how THCV could contribute to helping people pursue their weight loss goals.
Additionally, some of the properties of THCV can be beneficial for those suffering from PTSD and depression. According to a study conducted by Steep Hill, a cannabis science and technology firm based in California, THCV can curtail anxiety, depression and panic attacks, without numbing consumer’s emotions. (https://www.green-flower.com/articles/274/the-overlooked-cannabinoid-that-can-help-fight-type-2-diabetes)
There is one drawback, however. For THCV to be effective in weight loss, it needs to be provided in relatively high dosages.
Getting enough THCV
A normal cannabis plant can produce only a tiny quantity of THCV. As a result, scientists find themselves unable to replicate enough of it to perform the tests they want to. However, all that might tbe coming to an end. Biotech firm Teewinot Life Sciences claims to be the first company that can replicate and produce THCV in commercial quantities.
Teewinot is a private firm that uses a process known as ‘biotatalysis’ to extract the compound naturally. They say extracting THCV in it’s natural form is very expensive and challenging to produce. Jeff Korentur, Teewinot Chief Executive Officer, says the biotatalysis process allows them to manufacture a cannabinoid chemical that is identical to pure THCV in every way but which doesn’t suffer these production hurdles. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/debraborchardt/2017/02/27/yes-there-is-a-type-of-pot-that-helps-you-lose-weight/#74bf6aeb11b5)
Finding THCV strains to stave off appetite and shed pounds
Since most people don’t currently have access to pharmaceutical-grade THCV, the only option they, and scientists studying the effects can explore is to experiment using cannabis strains that offer concentrated amounts of the drug. For now, the best place to find it is in sativa (link to https://cannabisexpress.com.au/blog/post/what-is-the-difference-between-indica-vs-sativa ) dominant strains. (Specific strains which have high THCV include options such as Durban Poison, Doug’s Varin, Pineapple Purps, Power Plant and Red Congolese.
THCV usage comes with the usual warnings
THCV sounds promising. However, we should all remain cognoscente of the risks. While this cannabinoid is not harmful in itself, it can be harmful to those who are underweight due to ‘nausea’ or ‘purging’ types eating disorders. (https://www.cannasaver.com/cannablog/tags/tag/lose-weight-with-thcv.html)
THC has its own weight-loss properties. In a recent study, researchers found that obese mice, when fed a high-fat diet and cannabis, gained less weight than mice fed the high-fat diet alone. This could means that, even if THC gives munchies, consumers won’t gain the same weight that a non-cannabis user would. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4204468/)
The days of classifying cannabis as a substance that causes weight gain and obesity are coming to an end, A large part of the reason for that is the information and scientific research which is emerging about THCV. That said; cannabis alone cannot help you meet your weight loss goals. It can be used only as a supplement to your fitness regime that involves a workout and a healthy diet. As usual, there is no single magic button for weight loss.