Marijuana and Metabolism: The Surprising, Scientific Connection

marijuana and metabolism

It’s getting kinda difficult to keep up with the myriad of health benefits one can take advantage of simply by ingesting marijuana!

New research indicates that marijuana, or cannabis sativa, may actually be an important tool in the fight against obesity. With over two thirds of the American population either overweight or obese, this could be great news.

It’s estimated that obesity-related illnesses eat up over 20% of all medical spending in America, every year.

In fact, almost $200 billion annually is spent in the US on health problems that have developed as a result of obesity. 

CBD and marijuana users have lower BMIs and smaller waistlines overall than non-users. They are also much less likely than non-users to develop metabolic syndrome, which is a major risk factor for obesity, type II diabetes, and heart disease.

As long as you don’t give in too much to the munchies, you can reap the benefits!

Read on for everything you need to know about the surprising scientific connection between marijuana and metabolism.

What are Cannabinoids?

The word cannabinoid comes from cannabis sativa, the scientific name for the marijuana plant.

Scientists identified cannabinoids in marijuana well before they realized that they exist within the human body. Endo is short for endogenous: a substance that is produced naturally inside the body. 

The body has cannabinoid receptors all throughout just about every system. Cannabinoids are imperative to proper function. 

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is actually a newer discovery.  It wasn’t until 1988 that the first cannabinoid receptor was found in the brain of a rat. Later in 1992, the first endocannabinoid was discovered.

We have since learned that cannabinoid receptors are the most plentiful of all neurotransmitter receptors and that these receptors are only a small part of a molecular signaling system that exists within us. We are not alone in this.

Basically, every other biological lifeform on the planet has an endocannabinoid system.  Insects seem to be the only ones who don’t have cannabinoid receptors or produce endocannabinoids.

Cannabinoids were discovered in the marijuana plant before it was known that the body has receptors for this substance. This system keeps all of the others running efficiently and is essential for the ability of the body to repair itself.

The ECS helps keep your body in homeostasis.  Homeostasis is when everything in the body is in equilibrium and performing optimally. Kinda like when your engine has all its parts in order, and all the fluids are filled.

The ECS consists of three parts:

  • Endocannabinoids
  • Receptors that bond with cannabinoids and endocannabinoids.
  • Enzymes that break these down.

The ECS regulates many important functions throughout the body.  This includes everything from appetite and digestion, to inflammation reduction to motor control.  It also works to stabilize body temperature and increase immune function.  It is also part of regulating pain and enhancing fertility. 

If you are lacking cannabinoids, your body is going to have some pretty serious problems keeping everything running smoothly.

There is even a syndrome that affects the endocannabinoid system.  It is called CECD, or Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and chronic migraine are all symptoms of this deficiency. 

The Science on Marijuana and Metabolism

Since receptors are present in every system of the body, it makes sense that cannabinoids could have an effect on metabolism. 

Recent research is backing this idea up. People who ingest or smoke marijuana or CBD have been found to have smaller waists and higher metabolisms in general.

One 2015 survey involved 786 Inuit adults in a Canadian community.  More than half of the respondents were marijuana smokers. They found that rates of obesity and diabetes are dramatically lower among smokers.

A 2013 American Journal of Science survey of 4600 people, also showed promising results in regards to marijuana use and better health. Almost half of the respondents in this study had tried marijuana at least once in their lives and 12% were active users.

In this study, scientists found that Marijuana smokers were 30% less likely to develop Type II Diabetes. They also observed lower fasting insulin levels and less insulin resistance among smokers.

Marijuana smokers have also been found to have better carbohydrate metabolisms than non-users.  This means that cannabis users are more effective at breaking carbs into soluble sugars so they can be transported across the intestinal wall where they enter the circulatory system.

A Korean Study in 2016 found that CBD has a direct effect on metabolism.  It has the ability to initiate “fat browning” within the body in three different ways:

  1. By stimulating the proteins responsible for fat breakdown
  2. By boosting the activity of mitochondria. leading to higher caloric burn.
  3. By repressing the proteins responsible for creating new fat cells.

“Fat Browning” is when white fat that is already stored in the body, turns brown.  White fat is “unhealthy fat,” whereas brown fat is good for your body. Brown fat actually increases the body’s ability to burn calories.  This leads to a speeding up of the metabolism with more energy (and weight loss) being the result.

Marijuana and Weightloss

Because of these findings, the cannabis industry has begun to promote CBD as a weight control aid. It is not a miracle, however, and traditional methods such as proper nutrition and exercise should not be ignored. 

Taking CBD on a regular basis during your weight loss journey is not only beneficial for “fat browning” and carb processing, but it can also help increase energy.

CBD is also helpful for anxiety and mood control and can help you work through any limiting beliefs that may be keeping you from reaching your health goals.

Live a Happy, Healthy life!

Supplementing with CBD is a great way to keep your body in homeostasis. The cannabinoid receptors that are located all throughout our bodies, harness the power of this plant and make it usable within the body.

Science shows a promising relationship between marijuana and metabolism. Studies show that supplementing with CBD helps increase health overall.

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