Most of us are aware of the decades old stigma that cannabis gives you the munchies, with images of couchlocked stoners eating giant bags of Cheetos. How times, how perceptions and how cannabis has changed. Those of you who were not alive nor were users in the 1970s or 80s cannot appreciate how much the cannabis industry has evolved since those Cheech and Chong movies…and for the better.
Here are some surprising findings about the effects that cannabis has on your weight and blood sugar levels:
Cannabis Users Weigh Less, Have Smaller Waistlines and Have Less Incidence of Diabetes
Two studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology determined that people who use cannabis at least 3 times a week reduce their chances of being obese by 33%. The first study found that the obesity rate of cannabis users vs non-users was 16.1% to 22%. The results in the second study were 17.2% to 25.3%.
For those who do consume more calories a day than non-users, this extra caloric intake has no bearing on your BMI (Body Mass Index). Cannabis users are less likely to be obese than their non-using counterparts. This was the finding of a research study from the University of Nebraska, Harvard School of Public Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. 4,657 adult men and women were tested for fasting blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, BMI, and waist circumference. 579 were current users, 1,975 had used it in the past and 2,103 had never used it.
Researchers took age, gender, tobacco and alcohol use into account. The results indicated that the test subjects who were current cannabis users had much smaller waist circumferences, lower levels of insulin resistance, lower levels of insulin when fasting and the highest levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) than non-users. The test subjects who were past users had similar outcomes, although they were not quite as dramatic as were those of current users. Researchers concluded that cannabis controls the effect of sugar in blood. They believe that cannabis improves the activity of adiponectin, a hormone which modulates the regulation of glucose, amongst other metabolic processes.
Please note that the cited studies used smoking as the delivery method. Smoking has been proven to have the lowest percentage of cannabinoid bioavailabilty. Here is the link to an article I previously wrote about bioavailabilty, if you are unfamiliar with that term.
Scientists already have substantive research proving that cannabis has powerful anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antioxidant and neuroprotective effects, to name just a few. They are just beginning to understand how it aids in a better metabolization of carbohydrates. More than that is the effect that cannabinoids have on our Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in maintaining homeostasis.
Homeostasis is defined as the tendency of the body to seek and maintain a condition of balance or equilibrium within its internal environment, even when faced with external changes.
I have written extensively on how endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout our bodies in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, spinal cord and immune cells. The goal is always the same which is the maintenance of homeostasis. That is why cannabis is so beneficial for so many different conditions; it returns the body systems to a state of homeostasis.