Lifestyle, Treatment

The Top Cannabis Strains That Encourage Weight Loss

March 9, 2021 09:37 am ET
The Top Cannabis Strains That Encourage Weight Loss

Note: Veriheal does not intend to give this as professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose, or prescribe treatment based on the information provided on this page. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.


I know what you’re thinking… how can a plant that is notorious for giving people the munchies also promote weight loss? Typical “stoner” stereotypes suggest that smoking marijuana will lead to binge eating and weight gain. Well it’s a little complicated, but yes, it’s possible to lose weight while using marijuana. In fact, medical marijuana is known to help ailments such as anorexia and help increase appetite in cancer patients, but now research shows it can be used to help lose weight. Below, we’ll go over the strains that promote weight loss and introduce the cannabinoid responsible for appetite suppression—THCV. 

  1. Cannabis Strains that Promote Appetite Suppression 
  2. THCV is an Appetite Suppressant Compound in Marijuana
  3. What Does Science Say About Marijuana and Obesity?  
  4. Tips For Munchies and Weight Loss
  5. Can CBD Oil Reduce Food Cravings? 
  6. The Final Verdict

You can use cannabis while losing weight through the appetite suppressant cannabinoid THCV or through using the infamous munchies wisely to your advantage. Research shows that cannabis consumers are generally a slimmer population with lower fasting insulin levels compared to those who do not consume cannabis. Before we get into how marijuana can be used for weight loss and which strains are best, let’s have a look at the cannabinoids involved.

Cannabis strains that promote weight loss

Cannabis Strains that Promote Appetite Suppression

  • Tangie (Skunk lineage) 
  • Girl Scout Cookies (Durban Poison lineage) 
  • Durban Poison
  • Jack the Ripper
  • Dutch Treat
  • Skunk #1
  • Doug’s Varin (bred for THCV content)
  • Willie Nelson (bred for THCV content)

It is believed that consumers who use strains that share a lineage with the above strains will also benefit from THCV. If you have chosen to consume THCV strains simply for weight loss, try microdosing. For general information on cannabis strains for beginners check out our article here

THCV is an Appetite Suppressant Compound in Marijuana

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) are two cannabinoids that play significant roles in our appetite and metabolism while under the influence of cannabis. THC stimulates your appetite and is responsible for the munchies, while THCV acts as an appetite suppressant. While THC is an intoxicating compound in marijuana, THCV can be consumed without the intoxicating effects commonly associated with psychoactive compounds (5). THCV antagonizes, or decreases, the activity of the CB1 receptor in relatively small doses while activating it at higher doses. Evidence suggests that cannabis users are less likely to be overweight or obese. Researchers hypothesize that decreasing CB1 receptor activation leads to healthier weight (2). 

If you are looking to eat less and suppress your appetite, then THCV is cannabinoid you’re looking for. A study published in the Journal of Cannabis Research examined THCV on appetite in rodents and found that the cannabinoid decreased appetite, increased satiety and up-regulated energy metabolism (5). THCV has gained fame for its rarity and suggested health benefits.

Another study published in Diabetes Care found that “compared with placebo, THCV significantly decreased fasting plasma glucose” (4). Decreasing fasting plasma glucose is significant for controlling type 2 diabetes in patients. The same study found that the cannabinoid was well tolerated; in order words, there were no significant adverse effects of consuming THCV. 

Researchers tested over 157 plants around the world for their THCV content for a study in the American Journal of Botany. They found that the highest THCV content is found in cannabis plants that originate from South Africa, India, Nepal, and parts of eastern Asia (6). The highest testing flower for THCV at the 2014 High Time Times Seattle U.S Cannabis Cup was Durban Poison. It is important to remember that not all strains of marijuana contain THCV, so choosing the right one is important, especially if you only start consuming cannabis for weight loss and for appetite suppression. 

What Does Science Say About Marijuana and Obesity?  

A 2013 study with over 4,000 participants showed that marijuana use was associated with smaller waist circumferences, and current marijuana users showed lower levels of fasting insulin. Elizabeth Penner, Hannah Beuttner and team conducted the study, titled “The Impact of Marijunana Use on Glucose, Insulin and Insulin Resistance Among US Adults.” They explained that “epidemiologic studies have found lower prevalence rates of obesity and diabetes mellitus in marijuana users when compared with people who have never used marijuana” (1). The team found that marijuana use was associated with smaller waists and lower levels of fasting insulin. Studies have also shown that marijuana users can have a lower BMI than non-users. This suggests that there is a connection between cannabinoids (THC, THCV, CBD, etc) and the peripheral metabolic process. 

In a separate study, Thomas Clark, Jessica Jones and team found that cannabis can “reverse the impact of modern American diet,” which is done by “reducing effects of an elevated ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids on endocannabinoid (eCB) tone.” The authors go on to explain that dysregulation of eCB leads to the development of obesity and metabolic disorders. Modern American diets often lead to an overstimulation of the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid receptor, causing imbalance in the body. Fortunately, the CB1 receptor is one of two receptors that cannabinoids bind to, which then encourages homeostasis and weight loss through the appetite suppression effects of THCV. The same study concluded by stating that cannabis consumers were associated with reduced obesity rates (2). 

Authors of The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids (published by the National Academy of Sciences) reviewed past studies and reported that research has shown that cannabis use “was associated with a lower BMI or a lower prevalence of obesity, or both” or was shown “to have no association with BMI or obesity” (3). Obesity has almost tripled in the last decade and that it is a dominant risk factor for developing diabetes (3). Since the cannabinoid called THC stimulates appetite and promotes adipogenesis (the production of body fat), it could promote weight gain, thus increasing the risks of developing diabetes. However, it is important to note that there is not enough research to say so for certain. Fortunately, THCV negates some of the effects of any present THC in the cannabis product(s) you are consuming. In other words, while THC may increase risk, though not significantly, THCV decreases risks associated with weight gain, such as diabetes, by suppressing appetite. 

While there are multiple other studies on cannabis and obesity, such as Marijuana and Body Weight (7) and Obesity and Cannabis Use: Results from 2 Representative National Surveys (8), The results of these studies yield similar results, which can be generally summarized as:

  • Cannabis use is associated with lower BMI.
  • Cannabis users as a population generally have smaller waistlines. 
  • THC stimulates appetite while THCV suppresses appetite. 
  • Those at risk of obesity would benefit most from appetite suppression, while patients that are in need of weight gain would benefit best from appetite stimulation, such as cancer patients. 
  • More research is necessary to better understand its interactions. 
  • Cannabis consumers have lower fasting insulin levels and are at significantly reduced risk of diabetes. 
  • Cannabis consumers, especially chronic users, are notorious for increasing their food intake while gaining little weight in comparison to what they eat. 

Tips For Munchies and Weight Loss:

Does everyone get the munchies? The answer depends on the cannabinoids consumed, so technically everyone can get munchies, but not all the time. For example, should you consume a strain such as Willie Nelson, which is specifically bred for its THCV content, you will not get the munchies; however, the same cannot be said for consuming a strain such as Pineapple Kush, which is notorious for inducing the munchies. 

Tamas Horvath, lead author of a study conducted by a team of researchers at Yale School of Medicine, explained that they “were surprised to find that the neurons we thought were responsible for shutting down eating, were suddenly being activated and promoting hunger, even when you are full. It [cannabis] fools the brain’s central feeding system” (9). 

For those who are unable to find and consume strains high in THCV for appetite suppression, here are some tips for how to use appetite-stimulating strains to your advantage for weight loss:

  • Trade sugary treats such as chocolate for healthier, more fibrous alternatives such as fruit and celery. 
  • Instead of bread, opt for whole-grain cereal or whole-grain snacks.
  • Exchange chips/crisps for popcorn, nuts or seeds (without the salt and butter). 
  • Drink lots of water, but not more than one gallon daily.
  • Trade sodas/cold drinks for homemade unsweetened iced teas. 
  • Don’t buy junk food, so you won’t have any junk to eat when you have the munchies. 
  • Do not rush your snacking. Take your time and really enjoy what you’re tasting. This will help avoid over-eating. 
  • Educate yourself on healthier and yummy recipes. Eating healthy does not have to be boring or bland. 
  • Most importantly: PREPARE. Make healthy snacks and food before you consume cannabis. This gives you control over what you put in your body. 

If you are a frequent cannabis consumer and are looking to lose weight, then try to make a few changes to your choice of snacks and meals. Conventional advice suggests that one should eat less to lose weight while many believe that the key to losing fat is to eat more of the right types of food and burn more. 

If you do not exercise and eat well for your body, smoking weed or consuming edibles that do not contain THCV will likely not lead to weight loss. Manipulating the munchies for your benefit may be more work, but it is worth it. When you eat more nutritious, fibrous, and quality foods, you’re more physically and emotionally satisfied than when you spend your energy on restricting yourself.

Can CBD Oil Reduce Food Cravings? 

We all know that cannabidiol (CBD) is widely used and researched for its medicinal properties. It makes sense to assume that this cannabinoid would also be involved in the process of weight loss. Actually, CBD does not appear to suppress or stimulate appetite and metabolism at all. Thankfully, cannabis plants have many cannabinoids, just like the human body. 

The Final Verdict 

Like all weight loss strategies, frequent exercise is key to weight loss, although your eating habits will determine whether you succeed or fail in your quest. To benefit from THCV’s appetite suppressant or THC’s munchies, you can consume them as usual (inhalation, edibles, or whatever your personal preference is).  Besides weight loss, cannabinoids may have many benefits to your health, which comes as a package when consuming it. Take charge of your health and weight, stay lifted and happy strain hunting.

References 

  1. Penner, E. A., Buettner, H., & Mittleman, M. A. (2013). The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults. The American Journal of Medicine, 126(7), 583-589. https://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343%2813%2900200-3/abstract.
  2. Clark, T. M., Jones, J. M., Hall, A. G., Tabne, S. A., & Kmiet, R. L. (2018, December 27). Reduced Body Mass Index and Obesity Rates in Cannabis Users. Retrieved February 23, 2021, from https://www.genengnews.com/insights/reduced-body-mass-index-and-obesity-rates-in-cannabis-users/.
  3. (2017, January 12). The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. The National Academies of Sciences. https://www.nap.edu/catalog/24625/the-health-effects-of-cannabis-and-cannabinoids-the-current-state.
  4. Jadoon, K. A., Ratcliffe, S. H., Barrett, D. A., Thomas, E., Stott, C., Bell, J. D., Tan, G. D. (2016). Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabivarin on Glycemic and Lipid Parameters in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Pilot Study. Diabetes Cares, 39(10), 1777-1786. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/39/10/1777.
  5. Abioye, A., Ayodele, O., Marinkovic, A., Patidar, R., Akinwekomi, A., & Sanyaolu, A. (2020). Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV): A commentary on potential therapeutic benefit for the management of obesity and diabetes. Journal of Cannabis Research. https://jcannabisresearch.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42238-020-0016-7.
  6. Hillig, K. W., & Mahlberg, P. G. (2004). A chemotaxonomic analysis of cannabinoid variation in Cannabis (Cannabaceae). American Journal of Botany, 966-975. https://bsapubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.3732/ajb.91.6.966
  7. Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2014). Marijuana and Body Weight. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, 11(7-8), 50-54. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4204468/.
  8. Strat, Y. L., & Foll, B. L. (2011). Obesity and Cannabis Use: Results From 2 Representative National Surveys. American Journal of Epidemiology, 174(8), 929-933. https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/174/8/929/155851.
  9. Peart, K. N. (2015, February 18). Mulling the marijuana munchies: How the brain flips the hunger switch. Retrieved February 23, 2021, from https://news.yale.edu/2015/02/18/mulling-marijuana-munchies-how-brain-flips-hunger-switch.
  10. Gannon, M., Nuttall, F., Lane, J., Fang, S., Gupta, V., & Sandhofer, C. (1996). Effect of 24 hours of starvation on plasma glucose and insulin concentrations in subjects with untreated non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Metabolism, 45(4), 492-497. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8609837/

Post Your Comments

Jenn says:

October 22, 2019 at 3:08 pm

GREAT article!! Very interesting.

Reply
Christine says:

February 6, 2021 at 3:23 pm

Are there any edibles that contain THCV ? I have COPD and thought maybe an edible or oil would be better ?

Reply
Chane Leigh says:

March 15, 2021 at 4:55 am

Good day Christine,

Strans with THCV include: Durban Poison, Doug’s Varin, Girl Scout Cookies. You can find out more by reading this article. https://www.veriheal.com/blog/exploring-thcv-the-energizing-and-appetite-suppressing-cannabinoid/

I think that edibles and oils wil both be beneficial for you COPD. Just remember to start small with the edibles to avoid comsuming a potency which is too high, which will result in undesired effects.

Reply
Brad says:

October 22, 2019 at 10:25 pm

Is the cannabis that promotes weight loss available in edibles?

Reply
Lauren says:

October 23, 2019 at 3:55 pm

Great question! There are THCV enriched edible products available in regulated markets. But they usually come in the form of sublingual tablets.

Reply
Casey says:

January 2, 2020 at 10:06 pm

Does the type that helps with weight loss also help with PTSD/anxiety?

Reply
Chane Leigh says:

November 3, 2020 at 2:45 am

Hi Casey 🙂

People with PTSD sometimes experience a lack of appetite, so a strain suppressing appetite may not be the best. Please feel free to check out our article on cannabis for PTSD.

https://www.veriheal.com/blog/using-cannabis-to-help-treat-the-symptoms-of-ptsd/

Reply
Heather says:

February 7, 2021 at 6:41 am

Yeasss unless it’s making you want to eat your feelings….

Reply
Tera says:

February 28, 2020 at 6:04 pm

Is there a weight loss strain THCV available in a vape?

Reply
Lauren says:

March 3, 2020 at 4:28 pm

You would need to consult with a dispensary as far as vape product availability. But ‘Durban Poison’ and ‘Jack the Ripper’ are popular strains that have high THCV content.

Reply
Joe says:

April 27, 2020 at 11:09 am

I never knew of this study for weight loss. 2011 I was fit at 6’6″ 285lbs. I had a surgical procedure that put me in a bed for 5 months even learned to walk again but also the got me very heavy at about 400+lbs. After healed up I wanted to loose my gained weight. I tried all the gizmos and gadgets to loose weight and seriously nothing was working. I then got a MMC Oregon for treating my addiction to prescribed painkillers (opioids). A great thing about most of the weed I consumed was Girl Scout Cookies GSC. I got the best munchies every and thought if I’m getting hungry from just smoking then how about just not eating anything or at least something small for the time I have (The Munchies). I wasn’t starving myself I just didn’t eat while that affect munchies taking over. 2020 6’6″ 280lbs did the weed help loose weight I think so. PS… I’ve been about 275-300lbs. since 2014

Reply
Monique says:

April 30, 2020 at 12:08 am

I really liked this, thank you . ✌🏼💕

Reply
Jessica James says:

May 13, 2020 at 2:13 pm

I never studied the strains in detail. I think my weight is not reducing even with cannabis. And now, reading this article, I came to know I had been using irrelevant strains. I think my weight is stubborn and constant. Moreover, I have fear. Many articles are saying THC is causing lung injury. That THC contains vitamin E acetate, which is injurious to health. What do you suggest? And one more question, are these weightloss cannabis available in edible form? I have never used anything in combination with cannabis except chocolates. I feel like edible cannabis is not that soothing as smoking cannabis. I really need some good edible cannabis recipes to lose weight or some blends or shakes, which could help in weight reduction. Though it’s very tough to leave my sugary treats and jump to a diet plan, all of a sudden, I’m going to try these tips seriously. Thanks.

Reply
Chane Leigh says:

November 3, 2020 at 2:50 am

Hi Jessica,

Thank you for reaching out. The debate on whether cannabis is causing damage to lungs has been ongoing for some time now. Some suggest that it is harmful, while other suggest that cannabis actually improves air up-take in the lungs. Again, we can’t give a definite response because of the lack of research. But I may suggest that some of the studies suggesting cannabis is harmful have been conducted using synthetic cannabinoids, which do not accurately represent the botanical ones. Most strains can be either found or put into edibls. We have some recipes for you to make your own cannabis coconut oil, which is easy to add to food. I hope this helps.

Reply
Corina says:

May 20, 2020 at 3:33 am

Can you fine the cannabis that promotes weight loss in capsule form for purchase at local dispensary shop.

Reply
DOLORES Forbes says:

October 8, 2020 at 9:22 am

Me too… I have asthma so I also need edibles… unfortunately…. everyone I have tried give me incredible munchies… and I had weight loss surgery… lost over 100 pounds… and now with the pain I have everywhere… I have gained 20 back…

Reply
Chane Leigh says:

November 3, 2020 at 2:51 am

Hi Corina and Dolores,

Most cannabis strains can be either be found or made into a form better for ingestion. Have a look at our recipe for coconut cannabis oil, which can easily be added to food and drink.

Reply
Ashley says:

July 4, 2020 at 2:28 am

I was discussing this very subject with a friend the other day. Thanks for the information!
I will say one thing about alternative snack choices you posted.
Popcorn is what is considered a slider food. It slides through your stomach fast and doesn’t sustain energy, or surpress hunger. It will not fill the need. You’ll keep eating.

Reply
DOLORES Forbes says:

October 8, 2020 at 9:17 am

Thank you so much I have been looking for something that can help me lose weight and also help with my extreme pain. This post gives me a lot of wonderful information that I have had so much trouble finding.
Also is there a place I can buy these plants to grow myself in Canada.
Thank you Again

Reply
Lauren says:

October 8, 2020 at 9:19 am

Hi Dolores, we are so happy you found this to be so helpful! A local dispensary should be able to point you in the right direction for locating seeds and plants.

Reply
DOLORES Forbes says:

October 8, 2020 at 9:23 am

Thank you so much

Reply
Jeffery Chandler says:

October 9, 2020 at 10:10 am

Where can I get deals

Reply
Linda Babashoff says:

December 30, 2020 at 11:42 am

Look in weed maps for daily deals in your area. Once u visit a dispensary they usually get ur info along with ph# and u will also get texts from any & all visited dispensaries

Reply
Jane says:

January 12, 2021 at 7:34 am

What cbd seeds should I buy to plant for private use for weight lost and anxiety?

Reply
Laura says:

February 10, 2021 at 12:29 am

Hello. What strain would help me with muscle weakness. I have MS, Fibromyalgia, anxiety & depression. Thank you, I appreciate your help.

Reply
Laurie Walski says:

May 13, 2021 at 9:57 am

How can you purchase THCV if you do not have a medical card. I live in ND.

Reply
Angela jackson says:

July 8, 2021 at 10:17 am

What are some sativa brands that are appetite suppressants

Reply
Content Medically Reviewed By:<br> Dr. Abraham Benavides, MD
Content Medically Reviewed By:
Dr. Abraham Benavides, MD


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