Cannabis could impact your BMI – Anna DeVeaux, MSc

Photo by AllGo — An App For Plus Size People on Unsplash

Exciting recent scientific hypothesise is offered by Thomas M. Clark, PhD, from the Department of Biological Sciences from Indiana University. He claims that in the United States “many people may achieve net health benefits from moderate Cannabis use, due to reduced risk of obesity”.

The researcher is proposing that there is an excellent theoretical explanation for why Cannabis users may have a lower body mass index (BMI). Sounds intriguing. Lower BMI further translates into lower inflammation, lower cardiovascular disease risk, lower risk of cancer and diabetes.

What are the theoretical observations behind this claim?

We know that dietary choices contribute to a multitude of diseases, especially when the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is increased. A diet rich in omega-6 adds to dysregulation of the Endocannabinoid System ( ECS). Dietary excess of omega-6 seems to upregulate Cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1). On top of that, consuming too much omega-6 rich food adds to disrupted energy metabolism. Upregulated CB1 disrupts energy homeostasis and contributes to weight gain.

The dietary shift to consuming omega-6 is universal in Western societies. Most vegetable oils like soybean oil, sunflower oil, palm oil, seed oils are sources of omega-6. It is speculated that modern wester diet containing 25- 30 times more omega-6 than omega-3 disrupts Endocannabinoid System and causes obesity.

This theory of Cannabis sounds counterintuitive at first. Cannabis-based drugs are successfully used to increase appetite in cancer and AIDS patients. However, increased caloric intake does not always translate into increased weight. Several studies collected BMI data of Cannabis non-users and users, and there is a statistically significant difference in BMI being lower for Cannabis users.

Obesity is a worldwide pandemic. Recent statistics show that up to 39% of adult in the US are obese; the highest rate of obesity in Mississippi and lowest in Colorado. The trend sharply and universally is increasing year after year since 1990. Incidence of obesity has doubled over the last 30 years.

Is moderate and responsible use of Cannabis is protective against obesity?

Maybe, according to this theory.

Furthermore, the beneficial effect of Cannabis use on metabolism rate is retained 3–4 weeks after stopping the use of THC/CBD products. And wait! Users who stop consuming medical Cannabis tend to continue loose weight and maintain the benefits for a while.

There is also another thrilling conclusion of the authors of this theory; Cannabis users seem to consume, on average more calories per day than non-users; still, they have lower BMI compared to non-users. It is reasonable to suggest Cannabis users may have achieved downregulation of ECS tone and increased the metabolic rate.

The metabolic rate could theoretically be increased by downregulating Cannabinoid receptor type 1 by up to 30%. A quite significant increase for people trying to shed some pounds.

“Available data suggest that this will save many lives”, states Thomas M. Clark.

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