Cannabis Oil and Weight Loss

Cannabis Oil and Weight Loss

When you’re thinking of going on a weight cut you need to get the plan straight. You need to eat well, hit the gym a regular basis and start to think about leading a positive lifestyle that supports your goal.

But while legalization debatesand confusion continue around cannabis oil, and some laws become as relaxed as they ever have been; what’s the connection between cannabis oil and weight loss?

Could the marijuana plant help you shred, tone up and drop fat? Or is recreational drug use a habit that’ll hinder your progress?

In this article we take a look. Here’s what we’ll cover…

  • What is cannabis oil?
  • Bioactive ingredients of marijuana
  • The potential health links
  • Can cannabis oil support weight loss?

What Exactly is Marijuana?

Currently over 7 million people in the US use marijuana at least on a weekly basis. It is the most commonly used drug throughout the west and accounts for three quarters of all drug use [1].

Marijuana (cannabis, dope, ganja, weed, pot) comes from the dried leaves of the Indian hemp plant. You’ll find it as a green-grey or brownish mixture of leaves, seeds and stems.

It grows widely throughout warm, tropical climates or is cultivated using indoor heating tents and hydroponic technology – a way of nourishing plants in nutrient water without soil.

Cannabis contains a number of bioactive and psychoactive chemicals that can affect an alter your neurocognitive functions.

This means that by smoking or eating the plant you can experience a range of effects. These include:

  • Psych0active effects – a skewed perception of time and reality
  • Relaxation, drowsiness, paranoia or anxiety
  • Euphoria and feelings of contentedness
  • Reduced motor skills and impaired coordination

What is cannabis oil?

The oil from marijuana is a sticky, thick substance that has a resin-like consistency. It is high in antioxidants, and possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties.

It is much more potent than the leaves and has been used medicinally to treat a number of illnesses and disorders.

The Endocannabinoid System

But what is it about cannabis that changes your perception, motor skills and so on?

Well it’s to do with a small number of bioactive chemicals found in the plant leaves. And these chemicals have a direct impact on your endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Your ECS is made up of a number of receptors throughout your brain and nervous system and is involved in regulating a number of processes including mood, appetite and memory. 

The main receptors are called cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2).

Cannabis oil and cannabidiol

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many natural bioactive chemicals found in marijuana. It doesn’t contribute to the psychoactive effect that other cannabinoids do, but it has been linked to reported health effects.

These include:

  • Mental illness such as anxiety, schizophrenia and depression
  • Neurocognitive illness such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
  • Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease
  • Pain relief

It is worth noting though that many of these supposed benefits are still currently under independent testing and investigation.

THC and its effects on endocannabinoid receptors

delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol or simply THC is the main chemical in marijuana that directly affects your ECS nerve receptors.

It is a potent psychoactive and contributes to giving you a feeling of being spaced out or feeling high.

Most parts of the cannabis plant have some THC content. However, it is the flowering buds and leaves that appear to have the highest concentrations. The seeds have much lower amounts.

Key Point: The two main bioactive cannabinoids found in marijuana are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Cannabis oil and Weight Loss

It might not necessarily be the first natural plant oil you think of when you consider a fat burning supplement.

But could cannabis oil really help you lose weight?

Here’s what the science currently says.

Cannabis might be associated with lower body mass…

A study published in Medical Hypotheses [2] found that there are fewer numbers of cannabis oil users that are obese than non-users. And while correlation doesn’t always mean causation, the link does seem to be significant.

But why might weight be lower in cannabis users?

The researchers suggested that the ECS might play a role in regulating mechanisms that reduce hunger.

…but cannabis is associated with the increased appetite

Ask any marijuana user what the most common side effect of the drug is and more times than not they’ll tell you that it increases appetite and snacking – it gives you what’s known as the munchies.

It’s hunger-stimulating effects are so potent that it has previously been used to boost weight gain in patients with low body weight and HIV [3].

There is a strong relationship between cannabis use and weight gain through increased hunger.

Cannabis can reduce insulin levels… but doesn’t make your waist any smaller

A study published in the American Journal of Medicine [4] found that in a group of 579 regular marijuana users, fasting insulin was 16% lower than in control participants. In that sense, the herb does have a ‘metabolic effect’.

And whilst lowering insulin can be useful for losing weight, it doesn’t necessarily result in direct weight loss. The study also found that there was no link between cannabis use, insulin levels and a smaller waist measurement.

A number of factors effect whether you lose or gain weight might

There seems to be a kind of paradox when it comes to cannabis and weight. As we’ve already seen, Your ECS might in part help to down-regulate your appetite, but in others it can make you feel much hungrier.

A study from the journal Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment [5] found that a number of variables will effect whether a marijuana user loses or gains weight.

The study tracked the body weight of men and women between the ages of 17 and 24. And when their habit data was analyzed, the researchers found that those who smoked cannabis regularly had the highest body mass index.

But they also found that it wasn’t necessarily as simple as more marijuana means higher body mass. Other factors such as how much they smoked, their gender and even whether or not they also smoked nicotine also had an effect too.

In short, the study confirmed that men who smoked cannabis and nicotine didn’t gain as much weight as those that just smoked cannabis.

In women it didn’t matter though. Regardless of whether or not the female volunteers smoked only cannabis or nicotine as well, they gained weight.


The relationship between cannabis and weight is complicated. It might help you lose weight but it most likely will result in weight gain.

We suggest that if you are serious about successfully transforming your physique you consider a supplement to your lifestyle that has a better research profile and more potential to help you on your journey.

  1. Bolla, KI et al. Dose-related neurocognitive effects of marijuana use. Neurology. 2002; 59: 1337-1343
  2. Le Foll, B et al. Cannabis and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for weight loss? Med Hypotheses. 2013; 80(5): 564-7
  3. Sansone, RA et al. Marijuana and body weight. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2014; 11(7-8): 50-54
  4. Penner, EA et al. The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults
  5. Prud’homme, M et al. Cannabidiol as an Intervention for Addictive Behaviors: A Systematic Review of the Evidence. Subst Abuse. 2015; 9: 33-38