Marijuana… An Industrial Grade Fat Burner?

Say what?!

First off, I’m gonna start by saying I am not endorsing the use of marijuana as a fat burner. I am also not telling you NOT to use marijuana as a fat burner. I’m not your momma, so if you are of age, you can make your own decisions.

With that said, I am simply here to present some very interesting science behind the fascinating world of CANNABINOIDS and how these chemicals (which are found in abundance in cannabis, aka marijuana) are displaying some very interesting properties in regards to fat loss.

My interest in marijuana as a fat burner all started when I read an article online by Time Magazine titled “Marijuana Slims: Why Pot Smokers are Less Obese.” In the article they quote a few large populations studies which, when other factors are teased out, demonstrate that marijuana users are, on average, a full ONE THIRD less at risk from being obese vs non marijuana users. You read correct…MARIJUANA USERS WERE FOUND TO SUFFER FROM OBESITY ONE THIRD LESS than non users. This is INSANE especially when you consider marijuana’s number one side effect…the munchies! Increased appetite is a well established side effect of marijuana use and it’s one of the reasons why people who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment benefit from marijuana…it gives them an appetite. So what gives? Marijuana is causing people to eat more yet they are leaner! The reason likely has to do with how cannabinoids affect sugar and carbohydrate metabolism…

A study published in the American Journal of Medicine shows that cannabinoids have a very positive effect on fasting blood sugar and carbohydrate metabolism. “The most important finding is that current users of marijuana appeared to have better carbohydrate metabolism than nonusers,” says Murray Mittleman, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the lead author of the study. “Their fasting insulin levels were lower, and they appeared to be less resistant to the insulin produced by their body to maintain a normal blood-sugar level.”

Keep in mind glucose intolerance is a strong contributor to body fat gain and is also a precursor to full blown diabetes. Many scientists have concluded that the secret to fighting the obesity epidemic is figuring out ways to keep the body as far away from glucose intolerance as possible and many bodybuilders and dieters can attest that cutting sugar and carbohydrates from the diet is a sure fire way to lose body fat.

Could a cannabinoid be the next big thing for fat loss? Well big pharma is already paying attention…in fact, the British pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) is already studying the effects of cannabinoids on diabetes and glucose intolerance and the preliminary results are positive.

It is important to note that cannabinoids attach to g-protein coupled receptors in the human body (as do most pharmaceutical drugs) and the type of receptors cannabinoids attach to are known as cannabinoid receptors. G-protein coupled receptors are a large protein family of receptors that sense molecules outside the cell and activate inside cellular responses, which is why pharmaceutical companies love to target them. Create a drug that attaches to a g-coupled protein receptor and you can change how cells behave ON THE INSIDE.

Now here is the kicker…cannabinoid receptors are one of THE MOST ABUNDANT g-protein coupled receptors in the body! This means the potential applications could be massive.

At present cannabinoids are relatively unstudied due to marijuana being classified as a schedule 1 illegal drug, meaning it “had no medical use” (according to the US government) and places marijuana in the same category as heroin. This has historically made studying marijuana very difficult…but times are changing. We haven’t heard about a chemical having this type of positive impact on glucose metabolism in a long time…so exciting times are ahead.