Yo, what’s good my peeps? Spring is finally here and summer is just around the corner. As we scroll through our Instagram and TikTok feeds, we’re already seeing some fine-ass bodies on boats, by the pool or lounging on the beach. While the concept of sexy bodies is evolving, most Americans carry a little extra weight that doesn’t make baring it all comfortable.
But hey, if you’re a cannabis consumer, I’ve got some good news for you. According to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, marijuana users are less likely than non-users to develop metabolic syndrome, which is a major risk factor for obesity, type II diabetes, and heart disease.
Scientists at the University of Miami in Florida conducted this study that examined the relationship between cannabis consumption and the individual components of metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure, increased abdominal fat, elevated blood sugar, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. Nearly 8,500 people aged 20 to 59 provided survey data for the study. Participants were separated into three categories: current marijuana users, past users, and those who had never smoked the herb. Whereas metabolic syndrome afflicts 22 percent of the U.S. adult population, less than 14 percent of current cannabis-using adults in this study had metabolic syndrome.
Among young adults, cannabis consumers are 54 percent less likely than non-consumers to present with metabolic syndrome. Past marijuana use is associated with lower odds of metabolic syndrome among middle-aged adults. And seniors who medicate with cannabis tend to be slimmer and less insulin-resistant than seniors who just say no.
Now you might be thinking, “Wait a minute, doesn’t weed give you the munchies?” Well yeah, that’s true. Under the influence of marijuana, flavors seem to jump right out of food. That’s because tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) activates CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the brain that rouse one’s appetite and heighten one’s sense of smell. But surprisingly, the results of this study and other reports indicate that increased use of marijuana doesn’t result in greater caloric consumption with consequent adverse metabolic outcomes, including obesity. Indeed, the opposite appears to be true.
Scientists have also synthesized “inverse agonists” that can activate a cannabinoid receptor and cause it to signal in the opposite manner from how it functions naturally. A CB1 inverse agonist will curb appetite and reduce food intake by binding to CB1 receptors, whereas THC boosts appetite and food intake by binding to CB1.
One could reasonably assume, given what we know about the munchies, that increased use of marijuana will result in greater caloric consumption with consequent adverse metabolic outcomes, including obesity. However, the results of this study and other reports indicate that such is not the case. Indeed, the opposite appears to be true.
Australian scientists recently examined the role of the cannabinoid CB2 receptor “in modulating energy homeostasis and obesity-associated metabolic pathologies.” The CB2 receptors are concentrated in the peripheral nervous system, immune cells, and in metabolically active tissue. The Australian researchers found that CB2 receptor activation by JWH-015, a “selective CB2 receptor agonist,” reduces food intake in mice and prevents the build-up of body fat.
THC, a non-selective, plant-derived agonist, binds to both the CB1 receptor and the CB2 receptor. The fact that THC and other cannabis components (including the aforementioned THCV) activate CB2 receptor signaling may explain why marijuana users are less likely to develop metabolic syndrome than marijuana abstainers. Metabolic syndrome is a generalized, low-grade inflammatory condition, and the THC-sensitive CB2 receptor regulates immune function and inflammation.
So instead of grabbing a calorie-filled beer or overly sugary cocktails, why not try a vape or an oil if you want to be beach ready? It might be the healthier option. Peace out!