Losing and gaining weight isn’t as simple as turning a light switch on and off. The truth is, aside from genetics, weight has something to do with several factors such as gender, lifestyle, and even pressures from society. But, probably, one of the most damning components of gaining and losing weight is appetite.
Recently, it has come to our attention that there seems to be a relationship between THC and CBD (major cannabinoids found in CBD and THC) and appetite. Whether there’s some truth to it or not, it’s time to gather facts and see what we feel about this.
Managing Appetite with THC and CBD: What Science Tells Us
Before we get to the exciting part, let’s quickly brush on how appetite affects the brain and vice versa. Here we go.
Hunger is our primal survival instinct. Apart from sex and whatnot, food (including water) is the one thing we crave more than almost anything. As our body and mind evolve, we’re not just interested in “eating” now, we have developed specific tastes and likes when it comes to food. This is where appetite steps in.
The brain and appetite are so interwoven into each other’s system that moods, feelings, and emotions affect appetite and the type of food we crave at that particular moment. Do you know that one can suppress appetite due to stress and anxiety? If you think about it, there might be some truth to a product of cannabis that suppresses appetite.
It’s also possible for depression and other particular mental health conditions to increase appetite and the likelihood of developing a pattern of comfort food consumption habits.
So do THC and CBD manage appetite?
It’s important for people to know that it’s not confirmed whether both compounds have a direct influence on appetite. However, there are reports (even clinical ones) that show how CBD and THC might have an indirect effect on appetite.
CBD and THC’s Role in Fortifying the Body’s Homeostasis
In an interview with Ganjapreneur, Melinda Toussaint FNP-BC, CBD might have an indirect effect on appetite by fortifying the body’s ability to balance an appetite after a sugar crash. You see, after we eat, our body’s sugar level spikes up, and when it crashes you’re left with a huge appetite then. But when a body’s well enough to balance appetite, you don’t starve that easily. Thus, your hunger’s controlled.
Also, a preliminary study found that CBD and THC might have a role in managing appetite by interacting with the endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) within the lymphoid tissues and the brain.
The Contributing Factor of the Entourage Effect Between Cannabinoids
THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are only part of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Not to mention the array and types of terpenes and flavonoids present in different amounts of different cannabis strains.
THC, CBD, CBG, and other major cannabinoids are often sold and marketed separately from each other because of the purist demand. Lately, there is a cry for product formulas blending cannabinoids and terpenes all in the faith of achieving the so-called entourage effect.
What is the entourage effect?
The entourage effect simply means cannabis compounds work best together. The interaction between each compound enhances each other’s effects.
Cannabis products labeled “full spectrum,” most likely support the entourage effect theory because the formulation blends every cannabis compound extracted from the plant materials.
How does the entourage effect relate to managing one’s appetite?
As per Toussaint’s explanation, THC supports stimulating appetite while CBD helps suppress it. This pull-and-push dynamic is good because it balances whatever is in excess. Managing appetite, after all, doesn’t mean suppressing it to the point of starvation. We still need to eat.
You see, having all these cannabis compounds (down to terpenes like myrcene) might actually be more effective in achieving one’s health goal compared to adhering to one cannabinoid only.
Mood Affects Appetite
If mood affects increasing or decreasing one’s appetite, it’s possible for terpenes to impact it as a known modulator of chemical levels in our brains. Take this as an example, the terpene limonene, which gives off the smell reminiscent of oranges and lemons, helps lift the mood. Linalool, another terpene, relaxes a person that’s maybe anxious about eating.
Note: Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds found in plants (as well as cannabis) responsible for giving a plant’s unique aroma and even color.
The Type of Cannabis Product You Consume May Change Your Appetite
Methods of consumption also influence your appetite. For example, smoking cannabis comes in faster in terms of the onset of effects while taking an edible takes a while but lasts considerably longer once the effects kick in.
Ingestibles like CBD/THC oil, gummies, and capsules may take from 30 minutes to 3 hours before users considerably experience the full effect. This sustains for about 6 to 12 hours depending on the dose and tolerance level of the individual.
Meanwhile, inhaling cannabis cannabinoids in the form of dabs, vape pens, good ol’ joints and the like takes effect as quickly as 2 minutes. The effects could linger for a good 2 to 10 hours.
Consuming any type of cannabinoid (CBD or THC) to achieve a certain physiological state such as managing appetite is a trial-and-error predicament. Because nothing’s proven yet, it’s up to you to judge whether a product works by actually trying them. Also, manage your expectations wisely.
Your body is in a different state almost every day. So what you might feel today from your favorite cannabis products might not be the same tomorrow. For example, if you feel like you’re more anxious to eat today than yesterday, you might want to amp up your THC dosage. On days you feel like chilling on your food intake, you can add more CBD to your daily cannabis consumption routine.
If you have the chance to go to your favorite dispensary, don’t be afraid to tell the budtender your concerns about trying their products and asking for recommendations. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how well they know their products and how many people have the same concerns as you.