Do edibles make you gain weight? It’s an interesting question as States continue to legalize recreational marijuana use.
More and more individuals are considering marijuana as a healthier alternative to alcohol.
Reducing or eliminating alcohol is one of the best things you can do for Healthy Aging.
Many argue that marijuana is better than alcohol. However, before jumping on the edible bandwagon, it is worth considering how this alternative may impact your weight.
Weed & Weight – It’s Complicated!
Even if you have never tried weed, you are likely familiar with the “munchies”.
These intense cravings to eat high-calorie, salty, sweet and fatty foods are a surefire way to pack on extra pounds, right?
Surprisingly, weed’s impact on metabolism and weight is more complex than initially thought.
Regular Marijuana Users have Lower BMI’s
A 2014 review of literature from Innovations in Neuroscience found that marijuana use appears to be associated with a lower body mass index in the general population.
BMI stands for Body Mass Index and is a screening tool used to assess body fatness.
A high BMI is associated with health conditions like Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and Heart Disease.
What contributes to a lower BMI in Marijuana users?
The researchers explain that the lower BMI “may be partially explained by differences in short-term versus long-term use, polydrug use, and/or the intriguing theory that food and drugs may compete for the same reward sites in the brain”.
Findings also indicate appetite stimulation as well as weight gain may occur in patients with physical debilitation due to HIV/AIDS and/or cancer.
They go on to explain that marijuana “may genuinely be a regulatory compound, increasing weight in those with low weight, but not in those who are normal or overweight.”
Additional research is needed to get a clearer picture of Marijuana’s impact on weight. Studies are limited due to the drug’s relatively recent legalization.
Additional theories about why regular marijuana users may be slimmer than their counterparts include:
- Treatment of chronic pain allows for increased activity.
- Reduced intake of high calorie alcoholic drinks.
- Decreased incidence of binge drinking leading to an overall decrease in caloric intake.
- Improved sleep and stress management promote weight management.
How to Avoid Weight Gain with Edibles
It’s important to pay attention to how marijuana impacts you individually.
Everyone reacts differently to Marijuana. If you find yourself gaining weight with edibles, they may not be right for you. Below are some tips on avoiding weight gain when enjoying edibles.
- Enjoy edibles in moderation.
- Choose low sugar edibles in place of high sugar edibles like cookies and brownies.
- Plan ahead and have healthy options available for the “munchies”.
- Keep “high risk” foods out of the house.
- Try different edible products and monitor how they impact your appetite.
- Monitor your weight 1-2 times per week.
- Maintain a regular exercise routine; aim for at least 30 minutes 3-5 times per week.
- Eat a healthy diet. The Mediterranean Diet is one I highly recommend.
Takeaways: Do edibles make you gain weight?
Maybe. There is evidence to support that marijuana users are at healthier weights than their counterparts.
However, there is also evidence to support Marijuana’s ability to stimulate appetite. More research is needed to determine the impact of edibles on weight.
When choosing to enjoy edibles, it is important to monitor your individual response to the drug.
Kathryn is a Registered Dietitian and a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She is also Certified through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Weight Management.