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Does marijuana contribute to weight gain or does it aid in weight loss? While marijuana is known to stimulate appetite, research indicates a possible association between marijuana use and lower body weight and reduced body mass index (BMI). 

Interestingly, despite the enhanced appetite often associated with cannabis use, studies have found that those who use cannabis may be less prone to obesity compared to the general population. As for the connection between cannabis use and weight loss, there is some evidence pointing towards an association with lower body weight. 

However, further research is necessary to fully comprehend the reasons behind this relationship. If you have more questions, please feel free to reach out to us at Cannabis Doctor X – Medical Marijuana Doctor.

Can ‘The Munchies’ Cause Weight Gain?

Research into the relationship between marijuana use and weight gain suggests that multiple factors come into play, including the “munchies” phenomenon. Studies involving healthy adults have found that the amount of THC consumed significantly influences caloric intake. A behavioral analysis discovered that consuming marijuana in low doses doesn’t noticeably affect food consumption, while higher doses are linked to increased caloric intake, likely due to increased snacking.

Interestingly, large-scale studies on healthy adults have shown that individuals who use marijuana typically have lower body mass indexes compared to those who don’t. A longitudinal study spanning 15 years that compared 2,255 people with a history of marijuana use to 1,365 non-users found that despite consuming more daily calories, marijuana users weighed less on average.

A review of two comprehensive epidemiological studies revealed even more striking results. Non-users had obesity rates of 22% and 25.5% in the respective studies, while the rates among marijuana users were 14.3% and 17.2%.

At first glance, these findings seem counterintuitive. They suggest that for some people, marijuana use might contribute to weight loss.

Does Smoking Marijuana Affect Your Weight?

While marijuana is commonly associated with an increased appetite, there is no empirical evidence suggesting that cannabis directly causes weight gain. The primary cannabinoid in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is known to stimulate hunger. However, other cannabinoids may have contrasting effects. For instance, cannabidiol (CBD) and small doses of tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) could potentially counterbalance the hunger-inducing tendencies of THC.

Research has shown a correlation between cannabis use and lower body weight and BMI. However, no concrete evidence currently exists to suggest that marijuana directly contributes to weight loss. Instead, it’s believed that cannabis might indirectly assist with conditions that could lead to weight gain, such as lack of mobility, chronic pain, stress, poor metabolic function, and sleep disorders.

Weed and Weight Loss

Scientists have proposed several theories to explain the puzzling link between marijuana use and weight loss, ranging from biological factors to behavioral patterns:

Short and Long-Term Use Comparison

While initial consumption of marijuana stimulates CB1 receptors and enhances appetite during intoxication, a meta-analysis found that regular, long-term use of cannabis reduces the activity of these receptors for several weeks after usage. This reduction in activity encourages the body to decrease energy storage and boost metabolism, which could potentially lead to weight loss.

Substance Use Tendencies

Individuals who use marijuana are more likely to also misuse substances like alcohol, sedatives, stimulants, and opiates. Stimulants, in particular, have been linked to reduced appetite and weight loss.

Reward Center

A study discovered an inverse correlation between marijuana use and body mass index in overweight women, meaning those with higher BMIs seemed to use less marijuana. The researchers suggested this paradox might occur because food and drugs compete for the same reward centers in the brain. In other words, some people might derive more pleasure from eating than from using marijuana.


Research suggests that individuals with lower body weights are more likely to gain weight with short-term chronic marijuana use than those with average or higher BMIs. Scientists think this contradiction may demonstrate a “broad-spectrum” regulatory effect on weight, where cannabis can help underweight and ill individuals gain weight without affecting those at or above normal BMIs.

Do Edibles Help With Weight Loss?

Considering the possible health hazards associated with smoking cannabis, there are alternative methods to consume medical marijuana. Options like edible marijuana products are often considered healthier as they are usually not linked to lung damage, unlike smoking. However, since edibles typically involve eating, they are not commonly recommended for those aiming to lose weight.

Medical Marijuana for Weight Loss

While studies have shown a correlation between cannabis use and reduced body weight, it’s not yet appropriate to label medical marijuana as an effective remedy for obesity. The reason for this association remains unclear due to the lack of conclusive research. 

Until more comprehensive studies are conducted to unravel the underlying mechanisms of this phenomenon, using medical cannabis for weight loss may carry potential risks.

Does Weed Speed Up the Metabolism?

Several hypotheses have been proposed by experts to explain the potential connection between marijuana use and decreased BMI and obesity rates. One such theory suggests that marijuana could enhance metabolic processes. Research indicates that marijuana interacts with the cannabinoid receptor 1, which influences both food consumption and metabolism. 

CBD, in particular, has been found to affect carbohydrate metabolism and expedite sugar processing. High levels of cannabis intake seem to decrease energy storage while increasing metabolism, possibly leading to a lower BMI.

Cannabis Doctor X – Medical Marijuana Doctor

CDX has several medical marijuana locations across Florida. If you are interested in learning how to obtain a medical marijuana card feel free to give us a call!