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Do Edibles Make You Gain Weight?

Do edibles make you gain weight?

THC-infused edibles often get a bad rap for causing weight gain.

But is this common belief true? Let’s dive into the science behind edibles and their impact on your waistline.

Understanding Edibles

Edibles are cannabis-infused products. They are available in various forms, including gummies, chocolates, baked goods, and beverages.

They contain cannabinoids, particularly tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system upon consumption.

Marijuana Edibles - gummy bears
Marijuana Edibles

Edibles and Appetite

One of the primary concerns surrounding edibles and weight gain is the infamous “munchies.”

THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, is known to stimulate appetite, leading to increased cravings and potentially overeating.

However, research suggests that the munchies are more of a subjective experience than a guaranteed outcome.

Studies have shown that not everyone experiences munchies and those who do often report an increased desire for specific types of food, like high-fat and sugary snacks.

Woman eating a donut; do edibles make you gain weight?
Edible users sometimes crave sugary foods.

Edibles and Weight

Edibles themselves don’t inherently contain extra calories or fat that would directly contribute to weight gain.

The calorie content of an edible depends on the ingredients used, just like any other food.

However, the way edibles are consumed can indirectly influence weight.

The slow onset of edibles can lead to consuming more than intended before the full impact is felt.

Additionally, the munchies can lead to poor food choices, contributing to increased calorie intake.

Woman's feet stepping on a scale

Does the Type of Edible Matter?

Emerging research suggests that specific cannabinoids beyond THC may play a role in appetite regulation.

THCV, for example, appears to have appetite-suppressing effects, potentially offsetting the munchies caused by THC.

As research evolves, edibles with more balanced cannabinoid profiles may emerge, further impacting their potential influence on weight.

Lower Weights Observed in Regular Marijuana Users

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.

BMI Categories
BMI Categories

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”.

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 necessary to achieve a better understanding of how marijuana affects weight.

Other Theories

Additional theories about why regular marijuana users may be slimmer than their counterparts include:

  1. Treatment of chronic pain allows for increased activity.
  2. Reduced intake of high-calorie alcoholic drinks.
  3. Decreased incidence of binge drinking leads to an overall decrease in caloric intake.
  4. Improved sleep and stress management promote weight management.
Man sleeping in bed
THC’s impact on sleep may contribute to a healthier weight.

How to Enjoy Edibles without Gaining Weight

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:

  1. Enjoy edibles in moderation.
  2. Choose low-sugar edibles over high-sugar edibles like cookies and brownies.
  3. Plan to have healthy options available for the “munchies”.
  4. Keep “high-risk” foods out of the house.
  5. Try different edible products and monitor how they impact your appetite.
  6. Monitor your weight 1-2 times per week.
  7. Maintain a regular exercise routine; aim for at least 30 minutes 3-5 times a week.
  8. Practice the 80/20 rule with eating. Aim for a healthy diet 80% of the time, and allow for “fun foods” ~20% of the time.
Woman exercising on a yoga ball to prevent weight gain from edibles
Exercise regularly to prevent weight gain from edibles.

Need some healthy snack ideas to have on hand when enjoying edibles? Check out these 50 Balanced Snacks To Satisfy & Energize You.

Takeaways: Do Edibles Make You Gain Weight?

Edibles, themselves, don’t directly cause weight gain.

However, the munchies and potential for overconsumption can indirectly contribute to it.

By making informed choices, practicing mindful eating, and choosing edibles with balanced cannabinoid profiles, you can lower the risk of weight gain.

Ultimately, weight management is a complex issue influenced by various factors.

Edibles are just one piece of the puzzle, and their impact depends on individual factors and consumption habits.

Consult your healthcare provider before consuming edibles, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

Chocolate THC edibles in the shape of a marijuana leaves.
Edibles are just one piece of weight management.

Hungry for More?

Interested in more information on nutrition for healthy aging?

Check out the Age-Defying Dietitian’s Blog for more healthy aging content!

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