Many people are familiar with the phenomenon of sudden cravings for food after consumption of weed (an effect known as the munchies). Cannabis has long been known as a natural appetite stimulant, but few people know that it can also be used to suppress the urge to eat. Clearly, there is much still to discover about how cannabis affects our appetite: read all about it here.
Cannabis And Appetite
If you’ve ever had the munchies, we don’t need to explain the intense craving for food tempting people to loot the nearest fridge. Obviously, cannabis affects our appetite, with plain capacity to increase it. This explains why weed has been recommended for – and grown by – people who lose weight too fast, as can happen in case of cancer treatment, AIDS, or anorexia, to name but a few medical applications.
That doesn’t automatically mean, however, that smoking a joint or even eating cannabis edibles will get everyone hungry all the time. In some cases, cannabis can suppress appetite as effectively as it can increase it. The outcome depends on various factors, including the cannabinoids and terpenes that specific strains contain. To understand how this works, we need to find out more about how cannabis affects the human body.
Cannabinoids And The Urge To Eat
Our appetite is just one of many processes governed by our own internal endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system works by means of a network of receptors reaching all throughout the body. It relays messages by self-produced cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. However, our body’s ECS also recognises plant based phytocannabinoids found in – you guessed it – cannabis. That means cannabis compounds can also convey messages to our cells.
Let’s start out with what happens when you start to grow hungry in the usual way. If your stomach is empty, the ECS sends a signal to your hypothalamus. This in turn triggers the brain’s limbic system, signalling you to start looking for something to eat. The ECS affects both the emptying of the stomach and the production of hormones responsible for our sense of hunger. When food we eat fills the stomach, our body produces leptin, a hormone that makes us feel full and content. This hormone signals the brain to let it know we have had our fill, and this in turn decreases ECS activity. After consuming cannabis, however, cannabinoids can potentially affect your appetite by influencing the natural cycle of feeling hungry and feeling full after eating.
How Cannabis Stimulates Appetite
Of all the different cannabinoids found in marijuana, THC is the one suspected to increase our appetite the most. Recent studies show that smoking weed can increase one’s daily caloric intake by up to 40%. THC can cause people to eat more snacks, both when alone and in social settings. In addition to improving appetite, THC also makes food seem to taste better, making you enjoy eating more than you would when sober.
This stimulating effect on appetite explains how people undergoing chemotherapy can benefit from using cannabis, particularly from high THC strains. People suffering from anorexia could stand to benefit from cannabis consumption in similar ways, although unfortunately, research on this subject is still scarce. Positive effects of cannabis use on eating behaviour could allow them to gain weight. In addition, the soothing properties of cannabis could help them cope with the stress and anxiety associated with anorexia and other eating disorders. On the other hand, anorexia tends to go hand in hand with a sensitivity to dependency issues, which makes cannabis use in such cases a subject to discuss with your doctor or therapist.
In addition to THC, other cannabinoids such as cannabigerol (CBG) also appear to have appetite increasing potential. CBD was demonstrated to improve appetite in rats, without producing any psychoactive effects. Clearly, cannabis shows serious potential when it comes to increasing appetite for medical or other reasons.
Inhibitory Effects On Appetite
Cannabis contains about 400 different components that have their own unique effects on human physiology. In addition to a range of cannabinoids, terpenes are another group of compounds capable of influencing our urge to eat. Studies by the National Institute of Health revealed that both CBD and CBN are examples of cannabis components capable of inhibiting our appetite. Moreover, CBD decreases the appetite-stimulating potency of THC present in cannabis strains. THCV is another cannabinoid with potential to decrease appetite, even though it is one of the less common cannabis compounds which is notoriously difficult to produce synthetically.
Terpenes are natural aromatic substances found in many pant species. One common cannabis terpene affecting our appetite is humulene. A 2009 study investigated the effect of humulene on obesity. It turned out that people who frequently use cannabis (at least three times a week) are less likely to be obese than the general population.
Such findings are striking; particularly so when the general consensus is that cannabis causes the munchies rather than decreasing appetite. Humulene appears to be another cannabis compound that would make a fine candidate for countering weight gain and excessive eating behaviour.
Indica And Sativa Genetics
Although decades of crossbreeding have blurred the lines between typical sativa and pure indica genetics, both types of cannabis are thought to have a distinct effect on appetite. Indica-heavy marijuana often produces more physically oriented bodybuzz highs with deeply relaxing and often more sedative results. Near-pure sativa weed, by contrast, tends to focus on the mental aspects of a high, associated with waves of euphoria and energetic, creativity-inspiring headbuzz effects.
Traditionally, indica-dominant strains are considered extra effective for increasing appetite, provided they tick the other boxes discussed in this article. Getting the munchies is largely considered to be a body-based phenomenon, so inducing the feeling with indica genetics seems to make intuitive sense.
On the other hand, sativa strains could provide interesting options for controlling appetite without making consumers too sleepy, stoned, or couchlocked to do anything else. In fact, we all know that getting exercise and having a physically active lifestyle active is a tried and tested way to achieve and hold on to weight loss. Here too, then, it seems as though both ends of the cannabis sativa and indica divide have their own appetite controlling benefits to offer.
Cannabis And Controlling Appetite: Finding The Right Strain
All things considered, cannabis offers interesting potential for controlling appetite for either weight gain or weight loss. The underlying mechanism, based on the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system, can be directed either way. The trick, then, is to find the best cannabis strain to nudge your appetite in the right direction. Triggering ravaging appetite for those struggling to get enough daily calories requires other genetics than keeping the urge to munch under control. The strains you’ll find below are our personal suggestions to affect your appetite in either direction by growing and consuming the ideal cannabis strain.
Appetite Promoting Cannabis Strains
Anyone looking to increase their appetite to gain weight or prevent losing (more) weight could give the following strains a try.
Top Munchies Booster: AK-OG Kush
AK-OG Kush cannabis seeds tick all the boxes for a true appetite booster strain. THC content is pretty solid at around 22%, while CBD levels are kept to a minimum. Offset by significant CBG presence and a remarkable 80% indica heritage, this is our perfect Amsterdam Genetics munchies booster.
Growing these seeds is not too difficult, especially indoors, as long as growers are prepared to observe the extended flowering time before they invite this buxom lady to the table – bon appetit!
Second Place: Fatkid’s Cake
Anyone looking for maximum THC potential to fire up that appetite ought to give Fatkid’s Cake cannabis seeds a try. If this strain’s name doesn’t convince you, perhaps we should point out that its parent strains are Cherry Pie and Girl Scout Cookies – a pedigree to get the mouth watering for sure.
The obese-sounding seeds pack almost 30% THC with 60% indica genetics for maximum munchies potential paired with 1.6% CBG readings. Topped off with great flavour and fine growing credentials, you know you’d better put out that extra plate when this obese baby stays over for dinner.
Appetite Reducing Cannabis Strains
For those who are looking to lose a bit of weight or stay in control of a rogue appetite, we have two fine cannabis menu suggestions. One leans heavily on CBD slimming potential, whereas the other employs sativa energy boosters and secondary cannabinoids to burn calories while burning leaves.
Weight Loss Sativa Heavyweight: Quicksilver
Make no mistake: at 23% THC content, you could be forgiven for thinking Quicksilver cannabis genetics ought to get the appetite going. However, she is a real uplifting sativa stimulant that will see most people off for a gym workout rather than camping in front of the fridge and vegging out. Her cannabinoid profile adds CBD, CBN, and THCV to the mix; each of which has its own weight loss potential to contribute.
Warmly recommended for active cannabis connoisseurs looking to maintain an active daytime lifestyle, combining this easy-growing sativa with plenty of fibre, vitamins and vegetables could be your ticket to that low BMI high!
CBD Appetite Suppressor: Blue Monkey CBD
Of all the cannabinoids discussed, CBD is widely regarded as the most readily accessible appetite suppressing cannabis compound. That is why growers aiming for weight loss can’t afford to overlook our Blue Monkey CBD seeds. Adding a serious spoonful of relaxed vibes to the non-psychoactive buzz, Blue Monkey CBD seeds are well-suited for daytime use. Designed for maximum CBD benefits, these cannabis seeds support an active, health-conscious lifestyle to complement any attempt at keeping appetite under control.
Growing Cannabis For Appetite Control
The relationship between cannabis and appetite is as fascinating as it is complex and nuanced. On top of the above, our best advice to growers is to try and find out what works best for every unique personal situation. Our prime quality seeds collection awaits: feel free to dig in and help yourself!