Can Marijuana Make You Gain Weight?
A prevailing stereotype of marijuana users is that they always have the munchies. A body of evidence suggests that long-term cannabis use can lead to weight gain, particularly in men. With that being said, its effects on weight differ by plant strain, dose, route of administration, and frequency of use.
How Marijuana Influences Weight Gain
Different strains of marijuana will have varying concentrations of cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), and terpenes. These psychoactive chemicals act on CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain that make up the endocannabinoid system, which plays a key role in regulating appetite, stress, and pain sensations, among a host of other factors that impact weight gain.
Whether smoked or eaten, cannabis affects the neurobiological circuits that control appetite, causing a temporary increase in the “munchies”. According to a 2015 study from the Yale University School of Medicine, activation of the CB1 receptor acted on by THC increases feeding behaviors and leads to decreased activity of the neurons responsible for feelings of satiety.
The effect is known to be considerable and one that can be used in medical practice to stimulate appetite in people with cancer, advanced HIV infection, and other serious medical conditions.
Appetite stimulation doesn’t inherently translate into weight gain, however. Within the HIV population, marijuana may help stifle weight loss but does little to reverse the wasting that can accompany serious illness.
What this suggests is that appetite stimulation is only part of what triggers weight gain in certain cannabis users.
Effect on Athletic Performance
Cannabis users have been observed to show marked decreases in performance, steadiness, reaction time, and psychomotor performance for up to six hours following use. This can make exercises like rock climbing or heavy-weight lifting more dangerous, a deterrent which, along with the muscle-relaxing properties of particular strains, may promote weight gain simply by decreasing a person’s capacity for exercise.
According to research, THC significantly elevates the resting heart rate (RHR) and blood pressure during and after physical training, decreasing a person’s overall tolerance for exercise.
That said, cannabis has also been shown to decrease pain and to inhibit exercise-induced asthma , which could make it a helpful adjunct to simple exercises that chronically ill patients otherwise couldn’t do.
If many pain patients switch to medical cannabis for pain management in places where it is legal at the state level, it will become important to research these effects more thoroughly.
Even in cases where light exercise may not be negatively impacted by cannabis use, it is still not likely to lead to peak performance.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Peripheral cannabinoid receptors activated by THC are involved in regulating pancreatic function and lipid metabolism. According to research published in 2015 by the American Diabetes Association, compared to non-users, cannabis smokers tend to have a higher percentage of abdominal visceral fat and increased insulin resistance, in addition to lower plasma HDL cholesterol.
It has been suggested, that strains of cannabis that are high to moderately high in THC are more likely to trigger weight gain, particularly among regular users.
Among healthy people who regularly use cannabis, there is a significant difference in how the drug influences weight if you are male or female.
A study conducted in 2015 by researchers at the University of Montreal found that cannabis use triggered significant and consistent weight gain in men, but not in women.
Although the reason for this remains unclear, the scientists suggested that differences in neurobiological targets, as well as general psychology, played a part.
A Word From Verywell
Although the association between weight gain and marijuana use is anything but conclusive, there is enough evidence to suggest that it can influence weight in certain people, especially frequent users who are male, who use cannabis strains higher in THC, or who have other risk factors for obesity or metabolic syndrome.
If you believe you have a marijuana addiction problem, contact the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence at 800-622-2255 for a referral to a treatment center in your area.Marijuana is known to cause the munchies by stimulating appetite. Research has shown that it can increase weight and body fat in certain people.
A guide to weed weights
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- Breakdown of weed measurements
- How to make sure you’re getting what you pay for
- Want to learn more?
Gram. Eighth. Quarter. Half. Ounce.
If you’re not familiar with how cannabis is weighed, measured, and sold, all of those terms can feel like a huge question mark. It’s clear they’re units of measurement for weed — but what exactly do they all mean?
Breakdown of weed measurements
Let’s start with the smallest unit of measurement and work our way up.
A gram is defined as “metric unit of mass equal to one-thousandth of a kilogram.” A gram is a small unit of measurement, which makes it a solid choice for cannabis consumers who don’t want to purchase weed in small amounts. For example, if they’re looking to try a new strain or don’t consume cannabis frequently.
The rest of the units of measurement for cannabis have to do with ounces — either in full or a fraction.
An eighth is an eighth of an ounce — or 3 .5 grams of weed. The eighth is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, weight to sell cannabis. For many people, an eighth of weed is the perfect amount; it’s enough to feel like you have plenty of weed at your disposal, but not so much that you feel like you have too much weed and not enough time to consume it.
The eighth, 3 .5 grams of weed, is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, weight to sell cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The next unit of measurement is a quarter. A quarter refers to a quarter of an ounce, and it weighs approximately 7 grams. Technically, a quarter weighs 7.0874 grams, but the industry standard is to round down to the nearest gram.
A quarter refers to a quarter of an ounce, and it weighs approximately 7 grams. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
A half is a half-ounce of weed, which weighs 14 grams.
And a full ounce? An ounce weighs 28 grams.
When you’re purchasing weed in a dispensary, typically, the highest volume you can buy at any one time caps out at an ounce. But people who work within the cannabis industry, such as buyers and dispensary owners, can buy in larger quantities — including pounds and kilograms. One pound is made up of 16 ounces — which weighs in at a truly impressive 448 grams.
Here’s a quick reference chart of how weed is measured — and how much each measurement weighs in grams:
- 1 eighth = ⅛-ounce = 3.5 grams
- 1 quarter = ¼-ounce = 7 grams
- 1 half = ½-ounce = 14 grams
- 1 ounce = 28 grams
- 1 pound = 16 ounces = 448 grams
How to make sure you’re getting what you pay for
When you purchase weed at the dispensary — whether you’re getting a single gram to test out a new grower or investing in a full ounce of your go-to strain — you want to make sure you’re getting what you paid for. And the only way to know for sure that your cannabis is the proper weight is to weigh it.
Your budtender should weigh out your cannabis in clear view; this way, you can see exactly how many grams are being weighed out. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Your budtender should weigh out your cannabis in clear view; this way, you can see exactly how many grams are being weighed out — and how that corresponds to how much you asked for. If you get to the dispensary and can’t remember the gram conversions, just ask your budtender; he or she will be able to tell you how many grams are in an eighth, quarter, half, or ounce — and then can weigh out your weed to show you that the cannabis you’re taking home is the accurate weight.
In some states with adult-use cannabis laws, flower is required to come pre-packaged and was measured prior to arriving to the dispensary. If you still want to ensure that its the weight indicated on the packaged, you can weigh the flower with a scale at home.
Want to learn more?
Want to explore more about weed measurements and weights? Check out these articles:A guide to weed weights Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Breakdown of weed measurements How to make sure you’re getting what you pay for ]]>