Thanksgiving Thoughts: Will Cannabis Make Me Gain Weight?
Estimated 5-minute read
If there’s something we can all agree on, is this: the fall season is awesome. Sure, summer is the time to go out and enjoy the heat, visit the beach, do barbecues, and all around get the best out of life under the Sun, but when fall hits, then is time to get cozy, to make yourself as comfortable at home as you can, maybe with a hot beverage, baked goods right out of the oven, and the crunch of leaves under your feet each time you step outside.
And as you may suspect, this is also the perfect season to stock up on the finest cannabis you can find, as the cozy environment is just perfect to light up a joint, or bring out your favorite pipe, and just lose yourself in the chill of a fall afternoon. Even more so, because fall is also the perfect season to have munchies; you can find cheap discount post-Halloween candy pretty much anywhere, and Thanksgiving promises you a fridge full of leftovers you can dig right in after a good bowl of weed.
However, with all that weed, and munchies, and leftovers, and pumpkin pies, and hot cocoa, something that worries a lot of stoners is what all of these can do to their waists. After all, fall and winter are seasons notorious for also wreaking havoc on your diet (and who can blame us, huh?), but many people have the idea that cannabis, and the munchies that come with it, only worsens the issue. But is that true? Is weed conducive to weight gain? Or is this just a myth that we can debunk here today at HØJ?
So get comfortable, dear readers, and don’t throw away the hot cocoa right away, that there’s some very interesting surprises to discuss when it comes to the relation between weed and whatever the scales say this morning. Thanks, and please enjoy!
Munchies and Thanksgiving leftovers: A match made in heaven?
Without a doubt, munchies are one of the central cores of cannabis culture, and if something binds every stoner out there, it is their love for a bag of chips after passing along a joint with friends, to the point that “character seems checked out and eats a lot” is pretty much code for “pothead” in many movies, TV series and cartoons. Having your own recipes when the munchies attack, or the first time you ate an entire box of cereal because that’s the only thing you had on hand is part of the good memories and nostalgia around smoking weed.
And sure, eating an entire pizza after a bowl of weed is not the healthiest thing to do, but the question of how bad the habit of using weed is for your weight has been discussed for a long time. After all, “eating a lot” is not exclusive to cannabis, so establishing a direct link between both has been for a long time a topic of debate and controversy, especially when you consider that the munchies vary a lot between individual users, and the habits of every stoner can vary a lot. So to get to an answer, let’s look at Delta-9, a specific variety of THC that comes from the cannabis sativa variety of weed, and is very tied to the increase in appetite that is so common after smoking a joint, besides also being one of the cannabinoid molecules that tend to produce the strongest highs.
In fact, D9 is often used as an appetite stimulant for people with some chronic illnesses, so eating a lot after smoking a particularly strong strain of cannabis is basically a given. All that might point out to weed users having a higher body mass index (BMI) than the average, but… It turns out to not be the case, surprisingly enough. Why is that? Well, it comes down, more or less, to two elements:
First of all, cannabis is not only good to relax after a hard day of work, but it’s also a metabolism booster, meaning that if you eat a lot of high-calorie foods, this can offset most of it, explaining the lower BMI. Nevertheless, the key words here are “can” and “most”, as the effects vary by person, and eating a lot of these types of foods consistently is still not the greatest idea.
And secondly, let’s not forget CBD, the other cannabinoid present in weed, also acts as a big counterbalance to the munchies. To put it simply, CBD in high quantities can act as an appetite blocker, helping regulate how much you would actually eat after a couple of high-octane joints. However, according to the blog of ShopGoldLeaf, these conclusions are based on experiments performed on rodents, so they are not the end-all be-all to this debate. Still, it is an interesting starting point.
Looking at the bigger picture
Okay, but with the legalization of marijuana in many cities of the US, we have more information than ever to study the effects of weed on a real-world population, so surely we have noticed by now any interesting side-effects of cannabis, especially in our bodies. And you would be right about that, as a study conducted in Washington D.C. has observed a significant drop in obesity rates in places with access to a cannabis dispensary. The articles quotes:
“[A] study set out to investigate what happened in Washington State in the years after adult-use retailers opened in 2014, compared to the rest of the country after controlling for other factors. The experiment showed that the opening of recreational marijuana dispensaries led to decreases in obesity rates relative to a counterfactually constructed Washington State. Specifically, the state’s obesity rate “is an average of 5.4 percent lower than the synthetic counterfactual throughout the post-treatment period” compared to an average -0.01 percent difference in the pre-legalization years.”
Of course, this is just a first approach to a study of this scale, and the results from it could change in the future as more data is found, but for the time being, you shouldn’t worry too much about weight gain from smoking weed. We still advise you to lay off the more fatty foods, and do an appropriate amount of exercise between cannabis sessions, but if you are careful with this, you can enjoy your fall and Thanksgiving dinners without guilt. After all, chilling is the goal here.