Weight Loss with Medical Cannabis?

by | Dec 9, 2021

Either from personal experience or from pop culture, patients usually assume that marijuana always gives one the “munchies”. While it is true that medical cannabis products can lead to increased appetite, there are also strains that can lead to weight loss.

Prior to medical legalization, there have been individuals that have used cannabis to gain weight. In cancer patients, for example, we prescribe a medication called Dronabinol – a man-made form of THC.   This medication can help with increasing appetite and calming down nausea.

We need to think beyond the THC content. Remember, when we think about medical cannabis, we need to take into consideration the cannabinoids (and terpene profiles).

If you look at the label of a cannabis product (or the online dispensary menu), you will see a breakdown of certain cannabinoids – THCa and THCv.

THCv is a cannabinoid that can cause psychoactive effects. THCv can actually DECREASE appetite.  (When you hear THCv, think of “v” for “void” – it will void your appetite).  Anecdotally, it has been shown to benefit diabetic patients. Type II Diabetes is the form that is weight related.  Weight loss can reverse Type II diabetes in many individuals.     

THCv can be found in certain strains of medical cannabis, particularly in Sativa strains.  

On the other hand, THCa can increase appetite (When you hear THCa, think of “a” for “appetite”). THCa  is also not psychoactive.  When THCa is heated up, it can be converted into THC through a process called decarboxylation. 

Pay attention to the labels and menus at the dispensaries. I have seen patients with significant weight loss from medical cannabis. 

​- Dr Sam Urick

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