The Best Cannabis Strains for Appetite Suppression
Wednesday January 23, 2019
C annabis consumers and non-consumers alike are well aware that using marijuana is bound to increase your appetite, giving you what is popularly known as “the munchies.” But are there strains that could do the opposite and help to reduce appetite? To find the answer, let’s take a closer look into the world of cannabinoids and how they interact with the human body.
Are there Cannabis Strains that Curb the Munchies?
The body has its own endocannabinoid system, which interacts with the cannabinoids found in marijuana. When cannabis is consumed, it activates a receptor called CB1, which researchers believe is behind the munchies phenomenon.
Though research is scant, it is thought that strains high in THC are behind the activation of CB1, which stimulates appetite, while strains that contain balanced or larger amounts of CBD may counteract the mechanisms of CB1. So, while THC is getting busy activating CB1 receptors – and making you hungry – CBD, which triggers CB2 receptors, may inhibit the action of CB1, helping to tamp down the impulse to eat while high.
In addition to CBD, another cannabinoid thought to be useful for curbing appetite is THCV.
Very similar to its counterpart THC – the compound behind marijuana’s high – both THC and THCV interact with the same receptors. However, THCV acts as an antagonist of receptors CB1 and CB2, meaning it acts in the opposite way. So, if the interaction of THC on these receptors makes you hungry, THCV is acting to block the reward centers in the brain associated with the pleasure of eating food, making it less enjoyable, and therefore, less desirable. In fact, it may be why cannabis users, on average, are thinner than those that do not partake.
Top Strains for Appetite Suppression
THCV, in amounts large enough to make a difference in decreasing appetite, is rather tough to find. Though it is psychoactive like cannabis, the high is believed to have a more psychedelic feel and wear off much quicker, so it is often bred out of popular strains, many of which are bred for a potent high.
Current thought points to African sativas as the most likely to have higher amounts of THCV, and as the market for cannabis grows and more research is done, it is likely that finding THCV will be much easier to find in the near future. In the meanwhile, here are some strains that may be able to stave off the munchies:
Best Strains to Curb Appetite:
- Durban Poison is a South African sativa with sweet and spicy notes known for its clear-headed effect
- Super Silver Haze is thought to be the perfect sativa-leaning hybrid because of its balance of both mental and physical effects
- Green crack is an energizing, upbeat sativa-dominant hybrid with an earthy taste and citrusy scent
- ACDC is a strain low on THC and rich in CBD. With the sweet smell of lemongrass and cherries and a CBD/THC ratio of 30:1, this strain is good for those who want to avoid both the munchies and getting high
- Lemon G13 is heavy on the terpene limonene, making this sativa-leaning hybrid one of the most aromatic. Even though it offers a very cerebral high, it is also very energetic and uplifting
While these strains might help you avoid the munchies, relying on strains rich in CBD or THCV to manage weight is not a great idea. Getting around 30 minutes of moderate activity every day should do the trick, and it can be as simple as mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, or taking a walk around the block. For optimal functional fitness, combine this with strength training a couple of times a week, and take it easy on foods high in fat and sugar. These changes, combined with an appetite-suppressing strain to ease any post-exercise aches and pains, could add up to a healthy lifestyle that doesn’t include the munchies.
What are your favorite strains for appetite suppression? Share them in the comments below!
Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work – which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor – covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.
Most cannabis consumers have experienced a run in or two with the munchies, but are there marijuana strains out there that can actually do the opposite? Learn more about the best strains for appetite suppression and why THCV content plays such an important role in curbing hunger.
10 cannabis strains that won’t make you (as) hungry
“There’s weed that don’t make you hungry? For real? Honey, this changes everything.”
That was my Lyft driver’s response when I told her not all cannabis makes your gullet an insatiable black hole. Most cannabis consumers–especially first-time experimenters–have only tried high-THC strains, so it’s no wonder that the dispelling of this common misconception comes to the surprise of many who have long associated cannabis with the inevitable “munchies” syndrome.
The munchies can be a beautiful thing, and I’m not just talking about the pure ecstasy that comes with dual-wielding a fried chicken leg and an ice cream sandwich once in a while. That appetite stimulation is life-changing for patients dealing with cancer, depression, and other gastrointestinal/appetite disorders. But not everyone wants uncontrollable food lust, and some will actively avoid cannabis because of this one side effect–particularly those struggling with pre-existing eating and weight issues.
For those of you interested in reaping the myriad of benefits cannabis has to offer without the unbridled gluttony, we hope you find this list helpful.
High-CBD cannabis strains
If you’ve ever tried a high-CBD strain before, you’ve probably noticed that they don’t summon the munchies monster like THC-rich varieties. A Yale study published last year found that THC – the same chemical responsible for cannabis’ euphoric high–stimulated a group of nerve cells in the hypothalamus, the area of the brain that governs instincts like hunger and arousal.
While less is known about CBD’s influence on appetite, we do know that this non-intoxicating constituent counteracts many effects of THC and researchers have even eyed CBD as an anti-obesity treatment based on its activity in the brain. Our own anecdotal evidence leads us to recommend high-CBD, low-THC strains for the best “munchie-less” experience, but a strain with equal parts CBD and THC can also induce less hunger with the added benefit of mild euphoria.
Harle-Tsu is hybrid cross between two high-CBD parents, Harlequin and Sour Tsunami (which are also worth looking into for minimal munchies strains). Harle-Tsu typically expresses a high-CBD profile with very little THC, making it a perfect choice for anyone who wants the relaxing and therapeutic effects of cannabis minus the euphoria or paranoia.
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The remedy for your over-excited appetite is this cross between Cannatonic and Afghan Skunk. With a THC content that rarely squeaks past 1%, Remedy delivers mental tranquility and physical relief without the psychoactive burden. This strain is perfect for the patient needing to curb pain, anxiety, tension, headaches, or insomnia, but doesn’t want to interrupt their day with hourly snack breaks.
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Sweet and earthy in flavor, Canna-Tsu provides a boost to both mood and focus. Though this strain may calm upset tummies, you shouldn’t feel any extra rumblings of hunger.
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For uncompromised energy and clarity, we recommend the low-munchies strain MediHaze. This one can sometimes exhibit equal levels of THC and CBD, but compared to high-THC, low-CBD strains, MediHaze is much better for keeping the appetite at bay.
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Similar to the widely coveted ACDC hybrid, Cannatonic is a high-CBD strain that relaxes the body while leaving the mind free to focus. On average, Cannatonic has a 2:1 ratio of CBD:THC, meaning you probably won’t feel much in the way of a high or hunger.
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High-THCV cannabis strains
By now, you’re familiar with THC and CBD. But you may not be familiar with the less ubiquitous THCV, a less common cannabinoid that may suppress appetite (although more research is needed). Notable amounts of THCV are best achieved through extraction. That means if you’re on the hunt for THCV, you’ll likely want to look for concentrate products containing elevated levels of the cannabinoid. However, some strains have been found to contain slightly higher levels of THCV on average.
While high-CBD strains tend to induce little to no high, these strains are worth a shot if you like the euphoria associated with cannabis. Keep in mind, these still contain THC—so tread lightly with the dose to avoid munchies.
Said to contain elevated levels of THCV, Durban Poison is worth trying if you’re fighting an overactive appetite. Cherished for its active, upbeat high that can fuel productivity, this pure African sativa keeps you focused on what matters more than snacks.
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Resist the call of the pizza with Power Plant, an electrifying strain that descends from African landrace sativas. Its spicy, peppery aroma perks up the senses, leaving you with inspiration and positivity instead of a demanding stomach.
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Jack the Ripper
Kill the temptation to order half Taco Bell’s menu with Jack the Ripper, a strain that carries a tantalizing lemon scent. This invigorating variety is sure to summon a talkative mood long before a talkative tum.
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Another African sativa, Red Congolese focuses all of its psychoactive energy in the head, helping creativity and focus to thrive. Among the list of activities this sativa motivates, you’ll sooner find hiking, painting, and reading more appealing than eating the entire contents of your fridge.
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As sweet and citrusy as this strain might taste, Moby Dick doesn’t coerce the appetite as much as other strains. Expect instead to feel your mood and energy elevate to a place in which it’s easy to feel satisfied whether or not you treated yourself to an entire cheesecake.
For those of you interested in reaping the myriad of benefits cannabis has to offer without the unbridled gluttony, check out this list of 10 "low-munchies" strains.