The cannabis plant contains over 500 compounds, and well over 100 of its cannabinoids have been identified. THC and CBD are not only among the most abundant cannabinoids in the plant, but they’re also the most well-known. In terms of therapy, the marijuana plant is known to treat a variety of conditions, and it’s effectiveness is based on its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS. Historically, medical benefits have been particularly useful when it comes to treating inflammation and pain.
Both THC and CBD exist in crystalline resinous trichomes, which cover the cannabis plant when it’s mature. Although both compounds share the same chemical formula, the differing arrangement of the atoms ensures that THC and CBD interact with the body in different ways. Also, the psychoactive high that’s associated with THC makes it more difficult to acquire than CBD, which is legal in most states.
Rather than dwell on legalities, though, let’s focus on how these two compounds compare and contrast when it comes to weight loss. Obesity in the United States is now officially an epidemic and a disease, and as such, the weight loss industry is booming. Taking that into consideration, what does this tell you about the industry as a whole — if obesity is highly prevalent, and the weight loss industry is booming, that’s a pretty clear indicator that most of the products on the market are ineffective! Fortunately, studies are showing that THC and CBD could be an effective, 100% natural way to shed excessive poundage.
CBD & Weight Loss
You probably know that CBD is used to treat all manners of medical conditions, including chronic pain, depression, and seizures. But did you know it could also be one of the most effective fat burning supplements on the planet? Studies suggest that CBD is an effective appetite suppressant, and it goes without saying that the less you eat, the less likely you are to be fat!
Bizarrely, much of this evidence came from tests that were performed on children with epilepsy. For instance, a 2015 study by Geffrey et al. found that CBD reduced seizures by 50% in up to 70% of patients using clobazam, which is a popular anti-seizure medication. One of the ‘negative’ side effects turned out to be a reduction in appetite, but for those seeking an all-natural weight loss measure, this will likely prove to be a boon.
Further research has also shown a link between CBD and ‘fat browning.’ When you consume CBD, it helps to convert the white adipose tissue we store into brown adipose tissue. Why is this important? While white adipose tissue increases fat storage, brown adipose tissue enables you to burn more energy. CBD boosts your metabolism, which ultimately leads to a faster rate of fat burning.
A 2016 study by Parray and Yun looked at CBD’s effect on immature fat cells to treat and prevent obesity, and the research staff was amazed to find the following:
- The CBD stimulated genes and proteins that increase the rate of fat breakdown and oxidation
- It increased the activity and amount of mitochondria, which improve the body’s capacity to burn calories
- It decreased protein expression involved in fat cell generation, which is also known as lipogenesis
However, there is one possible issue. If you over-activate the ECS, mainly via the CB1 receptor, you could end up with an increased level of abdominal fat, insulin resistance in muscle tissue, and an increase in your fat cells’ glucose intake.
THC & Weight Loss
One of the most relevant studies regarding THC and weight loss occurred in 2015. It involved treating standard lab mice with varying doses of THC over a four week period. The study found that, overall, the mice that were given frequent doses of the active cannabinoid lost weight, decreased fat accumulation, and reduced their energy intake. Interestingly enough, THC was effective in obese mice but didn’t appear to cause any weight loss in mice that were already lean.
The scientists then studied the intestinal microbes of the mice to try and make sense of the results. Upon examination, they discovered that THC caused changes in the gut microbiome, which they believe was a significant contributing factor in the promotion and maintaining of a healthy weight. Even in humans there are several pounds of microorganisms inside our bodies, and they work alongside with cells in our digestive tract to promote weight loss or gain, break down foods, and ensure good health.
Also, it’s relevant to point out that this particular Canadian study was far from an isolated case. There have been similar studies performed in several European countries, including the UK, Hungary, and Poland. All of them came to a similar conclusion: there is a definitive correlation between the use of cannabis and BMI reduction. Critically, the association appears to be maintained when variables such as age, gender, and reasons for smoking cannabis are taken into account.
Which is better For Weight Loss – THC or CBD?
Strangely enough, marijuana has also been associated with weight gain. Practically everyone who has ever smoked cannabis has experienced the phenomenon known as ‘the munchies.’ These are cravings that are triggered by the stimulation between cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, and the brain’s neuroreceptors.
A 2014 study by Randy and Lori Sansone looked at the effect of marijuana on body weight. Remember, marijuana’s ability to stimulate appetite means it is recommended for cancer patients that struggle to gain weight. Also, the study showed that marijuana was effective when given to patients with HIV as a means of increasing their body weight.
However, a key point that’s often overlooked is that you must consume reasonably large amounts of marijuana in order for it to stimulate your appetite. The Sansone study mentioned ‘acute marijuana use’ and outlines that cannabis tends to help “low weight patients” increase body mass. In other words, it won’t make a heavy or average-sized person fatter. The study even acknowledges that among the general population, “findings consistently indicate that users of marijuana tend to have lower body mass indices than non-users.”
Thus, in regard to the THC vs. CBD for weight loss debate, most findings steer towards CBD as the better option. The psychoactive properties of THC make it more likely (but not certain) that your appetite will be spiked. In most cases, it is much easier to control your CBD intake which means you’re unlikely to experience a bout of the munchies.
And lastly, although we said we weren’t going to focus on the legalities early on, it is a well-know fact that CBD is far easier to purchase than THC. With regard to quality products, you can find reviews and details of reputable CBD oil sellers on our site.