Cannabis is infamous for its ability to induce a serious case of the munchies.
There’s a grain of truth to this—some of the compounds found in cannabis really can stimulate your appetite. But the idea that cannabis transforms all level-headed consumers into binge-eating gluttons is simply false.
In fact, you may be surprised to learn that some strains of cannabis actually have the opposite effect and can suppress appetite.
Can cannabis be used as a weight loss tool? We’ll look at the fascinating relationship between cannabinoids and hunger. And find out which strains are best for those who want to feel the effects of cannabis without binge eating.
The Relationship Between Cannabis & Appetite
If you’ve ever taken cannabis, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced a sense of hunger shortly after consuming it. What’s responsible for this phenomenon? It all comes down to your endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is a series of cannabinoid receptors found in the human body that play a key role in your metabolism, nutrient transport and appetite. When a cannabinoid receptor is stimulated—either by endocannabinoids produced naturally in the body or the cannabinoids found in cannabis—it affects various physiological functions, including appetite.
This can clearly be seen with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most widely known and well-studied cannabinoid. Prized for its psychoactive and hunger-inducing properties, high-THC strains are commonly used by patients to treat the nausea and weight loss caused by chronic illnesses such as HIV and gastrointestinal disorders.
Studies on mice indicate that THC may stimulate appetite by increasing sensory perception and making us more sensitive to the scent of food. Other studies show that THC triggers the release of ghrelin, a hormone that’s known to stimulate hunger.
Of course, THC isn’t the only cannabinoid that can affect your appetite. Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a fairly rare cannabinoid that offers a range of therapeutic benefits, including suppressing appetite. It may be very useful for those who are concerned about the munchie-inducing effects of cannabis.
THCV: A Marijuana Cannabinoid That Reduces Appetite
Found in very small quantities in some strains of cannabis, THCV is a compound that offers value to recreational and medicinal marijuana consumers alike. It delivers a clear-headed high at just 25% of the potency of THC, as noted in a review published in the British Journal of Pharmacology.
Researchers are just beginning to scratch the surface of THCV’s medical potential. But initial studies on mice suggest that it could be used to facilitate weight loss. THCV is an antagonist of the cannabinoid receptors, which means it blocks some of the effects of THC, including increased appetite.
Animal studies indicate that THCV may also be of benefit to patients with epilepsy and Parkinson's disease. A phase 2 clinical trial shows that THCV may have a role to play in treating type 2 diabetes, too.
Cannabis strains that are high in THCV could be a good option for folks who wish to lose weight. But these strains should probably be avoided by patients treating cachexia, anorexia and appetite loss due to their hunger-suppressing properties.
High-THCV Cannabis Strains
Some cannabis breeders are starting to explore the possibility of creating high-THCV strains as more information comes to light about this exciting cannabinoid. Unfortunately, at the moment the vast majority of strains contain very small amounts of THCV.
Still, a few marijuana strains, which contain relatively high levels of THCV, could very well help you avoid the munchies:
Durban Poison Gives a Clear-Headed High Without Making You Hungry
An original landrace strain from South Africa, Durban Poison boasts one of the highest levels of THCV you can find. As one of the very few pure sativas available on the market, it delivers a euphoric, energetic high with minimal physical effects—perfect for socializing and fueling your creative spirit, but not so much if you’re looking for something to while away a lazy evening.
From a medical perspective, the mental boost Durban Poison provides makes it a popular choice among people with ADD and chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as anyone seeking an uplifting high while staying in control of their food portion sizes.
Dutch Treat Imparts a Relaxing Body High & Keeps Your Appetite Under Control
As the name suggests, Dutch Treat is exceptionally popular in Amsterdam. An indica-dominant strain, Dutch Treat features a sweet, fruity smell. It provides a moderately strong head high and a very relaxing body high that usually stops just short of full-on couch lock.
These effects make it a good strain for people dealing with anxiety, insomnia and inflammatory pain. But because of its sedative effects, it may not be suitable if you have a busy day ahead of you. Little is known about the lineage of Dutch Treat, but what we do know is that it contains relatively high amounts of THCV, which can help keep your appetite under control.
Red Congolese Enhances Focus While Reducing Hunger
A pure sativa with African, Afghani and Mexican roots, Red Congolese provides an energizing, cerebral high that won’t get in your way if you have things to do. Red Congolese doesn’t offer much in the way of aroma or flavour, but its high THCV content may help reduce feelings of hunger.
This cannabis strain delivers a high that boosts mental clarity and enhances focus, making it a good option for athletes, people with ADD, folks suffering from depression and anyone who has a long to-do list to complete.
Doug's Varin Is a Rare Marijuana Strain That Suppresses Your Appetite
Doug’s Varin is another sativa strain that contains a large quantity of THCV. It features an earthy scent with citrusy undertones.
A rare strain frequently used to promote bone growth and treat tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease, Doug’s Varin also gives its consumers a relatively short burst of energy and provides a clear-headed high.
While it may be hard to track down this exotic strain of cannabis, if you’re looking to avoid the munchies and suppress your appetite, Doug’s Varin may be the perfect strain for you.