Anything you consume by drinking or eating has calories; the same goes for weed. However, you do not intake those calories when smoking weed.
As a health-conscious person, keeping track of your calorie consumption is not just ideal but necessary. And when you consume cannabis regularly, you may question how the substance affects your diet. Does it make you gain weight or hinder your fat loss journey?
To get a clear answer, we have to look at research and studies that share information on weed’s effects on people’s diets. Let’s get started –
Potential Health Benefits of Cannabis
Even though there is still a lack of studies in the field of marijuana, many researches that have already been conducted have shown a multitude of health benefits from the use of cannabis. In this section, we will look into those studies and what they claim –
Relieving Symptoms of Depression, PTSD, and Anxiety
Cannabis can relieve the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, according to a Clinical Psychology Review paper that gathered scientific studies showing marijuana’s effect on mental health.
Moreover, the review found proof that cannabis can also help with anxiety. However, other studies pointed towards the opposite of this benefit due to regular marijuana consumption – another instance where we need more research done.
According to a 2018 study, the use of cannabis, specifically synthetic THC or dronabinol, has shown improved quality of sleep in people with sleep apnea. Moreover, another study pointed out that PTSD patients can enjoy better sleep from the use of marijuana as it helps reduce nightmares.
Help with Chronic Pain
A 2022 research review suggests that the combination of CBD and THC (both components of marijuana) is suitable for treating chronic pain, especially the following –
- Nociplastic pain from nerve damage
- Neuropathic pain, and
- Nociceptive pain
Besides these, there are other numerous other health benefits tied to consuming cannabis, according to research, including –
- Helping people fight alcoholism and drug addiction
- Treating patients with epilepsy
- Reducing the symptoms of nausea and migraine
- Increasing appetite
- Assisting in conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, inflammation, neuropathy, and rheumatoid arthritis
Relationship between Cannabis and Appetite
One of the most common effects of consuming cannabis products is the increased appetite to eat junk food, also known as “the munchies.” This sudden spike in hunger is caused by a chemical within marijuana – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – that tricks your brain into feeling hungry even if you have recently eaten.
However, even though using cannabis can increase your appetite, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will gain weight. An International Journal of Epidemiology research described how people who use weed stayed at a healthy weight – a surprising finding considering how marijuana makes you crave junk food and sweets.
Why don’t weed users gain more weight? Well, the answer is a mystery, even to the researchers. As said before, more investigation is necessary before coming to a conclusion.
Does Weed Have Calories?
Do you have to worry about calories when consuming weed? Well, let’s explore that.
Raw cannabis leaves have calories and many kinds of nutritional values, including nutrients like
- Omega-3 fatty acids
While most people are not eating raw hemp, if you did, you would be consuming about 203 calories per 100 grams of leaves, according to the minimal data we have from research.
Now, let’s get back to the likely methods of consuming weed and their calorie intakes –
Smoking weed means you are consuming near-zero calories as you are inhaling smoke. The only instance you would worry about calories is “the munchies” after you smoke, which is not likely to cause weight gain, according to the research we previously mentioned.
Edibles do have calories, but they are not from the weed content but instead from the carbs and sugar used to make the edibles. For example, weed brownies, of course, would have calories, and the amount of calories depends on how much sugar and other ingredients have been used to make the brownies, not the amount of weed.
Sugar-free edible options are available if you are concerned about them harming your diet.
In short, smoking weed means you are consuming next to no calories, while edibles can have several nutrients.
How Cannabis Use Compares to Other Drugs
In terms of calories, there are some differences between cannabis and other substances, such as alcohol and over-the-counter drugs. Smokable marijuana contains no calories, while edibles have nutritional values depending on what they are made of.
Most drugs have little to no nutritional value, although some over-the-counter medicines can have traces of calories.
Lastly, alcohol has the highest calories among all the other consumables we mentioned. For example, 12 oz regular beer has around 153 calories.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does weed make you gain weight?
Although many would expect the “munchies effect” after taking weed will lead to weight gain, studies have shown that people who use marijuana actually experience lower weight gain compared to others. Not only that – marijuana products like CBD can actually promote weight loss, according to preliminary research.
Is there any nutritional value in weed?
Smoking weed does not provide any nutritional value. However, raw cannabis leaves include many nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, omega-3 fatty acids, sodium, potassium, and calcium.
Does weed help with hair growth?
University of Debrecen’s 2007 study suggests that consuming weed can cause hair loss. On the other hand, a few sources present the opposite opinion, claiming weed can actually promote hair growth. In short, there isn’t much research that can connect cannabis to hair growth or loss.
As we have explored, using cannabis products may result in several health benefits, and while taking advantage of that fact, you do not have to worry about either the calories or the increase in appetite you feel after consuming weed. Nonetheless, it’s essential to consult with your dietician if you are following a strict diet regimen for your health.