The stereotypical perception of recreational-cannabis enthusiasts is that they are irresponsible, lazy couch-cabbages. And while there are indeed sloth-like tokers, they own no monopoly on that quality. Plenty of people are fusing with their sofa right now who have never had a whiff of the herb. And plenty of cannabis consumers are highly active, outdoorsy folks. You just may not know who they are because the herb may, unfortunately, be illegal in your state.
But perceptions of cannabis consumers are changing as the herb becomes decriminalized and legalized across the country, and even in various countries around the world. For example, studies are demonstrating that cannabis is not only a great medicine for all kinds of chronic conditions like chronic pain, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel disease, Crohn’s, and anxiety, but that it is also effective for diabetes and even weight loss.
That’s right: weight loss. How in the world can a plant that is widely known for inducing junk-food munchies help with weight loss?
First, let’s talk about smoking it, since that’s still the most prevalent way to consume the herb. In a study published in 2015, researchers found a correlation between cannabis use and lower obesity rates. In older individuals, the pain relief they experienced allowed older consumers to be more mobile and active. And younger subjects who preferred the upbeat and energizing effects of the herb over the dulling, depressant effects of alcohol benefitted by consuming fewer calories.
In another study, released in 2013, epidemiologists found that cannabis helped to moderate blood sugars, waist size, and body mass index (BMI). The results were surprising: Regular cannabis consumers had 16% lower fasting insulin levels, 17% lower levels of insulin resistance, and higher levels of the “good cholesterol”, HDL, as well as a smaller average waist circumference. Interestingly, even though cannabis consumers also consume more calories, they tend to be leaner. Scientists still don’t know exactly how it works, but the two most abundant and important cannabinoids in the plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), appear to be major players.
Eat to treat
Edibles are the fastest-growing method of cannabis intake, and with good reason. Ingesting cannabis amplifies the effects of THC, converting it into a more potent version of itself (11-hydroxy-THC), and allowing the effects to be felt much longer. It also helps fill the belly, potentially cutting down the cravings for junk food.
Imagine sitting down to a healthy salad full of leafy greens, fresh veggies, and a cannabis-infused salad dressing. Pair it with pan-seared tofu or a lean filet of tuna prepared with a lemon cannabutter sauce, and you’ve got all the benefits of bud with a healthy meal. You can easily infuse oils, butters, and tinctures with a MagicalButter machine. Insert the ingredients, and push two buttons. In a few hours you have the special ingredient to make almost any meal into medicine, and more.
Are juice sitting down?
Here’s a little-known secret: You can even add the leaves of the plant to your salad, though it’s a bit of an acquired taste. Juicing the plant is also great for those who don’t desire the psychoactive effects of THC. This is because it is instead THC acid (THCA) and CBD acid (CBDA) that are present in raw, fresh cannabis; and they lack the mood-altering potential of their famous “acid-free” cousins. These molecules impart terrific health benefits without the euphoria commonly associated with the plant.
THCA and CBDA in raw cannabis juice are known to help the body fight food cravings. Combine fresh cannabis, kale, spinach, apples, bananas, and blueberries, and you’ve got a super delicious super-salad that can help ward off hunger and infections. Toss in some parsley to further aid digestion. (To avoid the possibility of an unexpected and potent buzz, don’t include citrus or mango.)
If you want to lose some weight or need some help managing or preventing diabetes, go green and get lean. Your body and mind will thank you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amber Boone considers writing the cornerstone of communication. She interviews MMA (mixed martial arts) athletes for CombatPress.com and opines on MMA at FightItOut.com. She’s passionate about helping folks tell their stories and making the world a better place, which includes working to win the freedom of Americans to partake of the herb. When not writing or playing beach volleyball, she can be found at her day job—for now. Follow Amber on Twitter @thruthetrees11.