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Does Weed Have Calories?

Health-conscious individuals may check the caloric content of their food and drink, but might not think to check their smoke; so does weed have calories? The simple answer is that it depends on how you consume it.


Dieting or health-aware medical marijuana patients may be concerned that consuming weed might be adding to their daily calorie intake. Luckily, weed is a natural product with very few calories, so cannabis consumers who follow a balanced cannabis routine alongside a healthy diet and exercise can achieve or maintain a healthy lifestyle.


Does Weed Have Calories (and How Many)?

Diet is the main cause of premature death and disability in the United States. It's only natural therefore that people are becoming more conscious of what they eat and how unhealthy, high-calorie diets affect their overall health. 


Raw cannabis plants contain calories, albeit in extremely small amounts. Cannabis flower or raw weed is mostly fibrous material which will provide minimal calories just like other plants like spinach or lettuce. 


However, THC triggers the hunger hormone ghrelin which causes some people to eat more while "high." This is often referred to as "the munchies." Though smoking weed may not add calories to your diet by itself, overeating caused by the munchies may cause unwelcome weight gain.


Calories by Consumption Method

How many calories weed containsand if it causes weight increasesmay depend on how you consume the cannabis plant and also your habits after consumption. MMJ patients treating an AZ qualifying condition are advised to consult their primary health provider about how their weed and calorie consumption could affect their condition and general health. 


Smoking and Vaping

Vaping and smoking cannabis are two popular consumption methods for MMJ patients. The good news is that smoking or vaping weed doesn't add any calories to your diet because the smoke or vapor passes through your respiratory system rather than your digestive system.


Eating and Drinking

Eating weed as part of cannabis-infused edibles may be the prime culprit for weight gain after marijuana consumption. This is because cannabis edibles are often calorie-rich products like baked goods. If you're concerned about your calorie intake, consider products like gummies over more indulgent treats like cookies or brownies.


The same principle applies to beverages. Infused fruit juice, soda, and other high-sugar beverages typically contain a high number of calories and should be consumed in moderation. Choose any of the low-calorie cannabis-infused beverages on the market to keep your calories to a minimum.


Sublingual

Though some sublingual products may have a handful of calories, the number is negligible and shouldn’t affect your diet. Sublingual products can be a great option for health-conscious MMJ patients for various reasons:


  • They don't require inhalation or exposure to potentially harmful smoke or fumes.

  • It's easier to follow a consistent dosage routine as patients know exactly how much they're consuming.

  • They're a more discreet way of consuming marijuana than smoking or vaping.


Transdermal

There are a range of transdermal products including patches, creams, and oils that are applied to the skin. CBD and/or THC are then absorbed into the skin and into the bloodstream. Transdermal products won't add calories to your diet.


Can Weed Help You Lose Weight?

Despite the widely reported "munchies" that cause some weed consumers to up their calorie consumption after smoking marijuana, some studies suggest that cannabis users tend to have lower body weight than non-consumers. The endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in the regulation of appetite and metabolism, so it is logical that marijuana use has an impact on both weight loss and weight gain (when it’s needed). 


More thorough research is needed to establish categorical links between weight and cannabis use. That said, there are various theories as to why cannabis use may be linked to a healthier body mass index (BMI) and a reduced chance of obesity:


Pain Relief Could Lead to Increased Mobility 

Chronic pain is one of the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Arizona and several other states. Consuming marijuana and/or cannabidiol (CBD) could improve pain or stiffness by reducing inflammation, allowing patients to enjoy a more active lifestyle and a greater ability to burn calories.


Cannabis Consumption Is Linked with Lower Alcohol Use

Some experts suspect that younger people who consume cannabis may consume less alcohol than those who don’t. This means that they’re not taking in calories from alcoholic drinks, which could contribute to lower BMIs.


40% of medical marijuana patients surveyed reported using cannabis to lower their alcohol consumption. Patients for whom this is true may notice the impact of a lowered calorie intake on their waistlines.


It May Lower Stress

Studies have shown that people are more likely to overeat and turn to comfort foods when they're stressed. Weed is often taken to ease anxiety and help people feel calm; there's some evidence that low dosages may help reduce anxiety and stress. This may help weed consumers avoid excessive calories from overeating due to stress.


It Could Improve Sleep

Poor sleep quality may be a factor in weight gain. Some studies suggest that cannabis can improve insomnia and other sleep disorders like restless legs syndrome. In addition, weed smokers may experience reduced stress and pain, two potential culprits for poor sleep.


It Might Boost Metabolism

Some evidence suggests that THC interacts with cannabinoid 1 receptors, which mediate metabolism and food intake. There's evidence to suggest that THC intake could boost metabolism, leading to less energy storage.


Monitor Your Caloric Intake and Stay Active to Avoid Weight Gain

The caloric content of everything you eat and drink will affect whether you lose or gain weight, or if your weight remains stable. Though cannabis consumption could affect your weight either directly or indirectly, regular cannabis consumers should be aware that everything they consume affects their health.


Whether you consume cannabis as an MMJ patient or recreationally, be mindful of the other ingredients in each product and how they could affect your weight-loss or weight-gain efforts. As a rule, though, excessive weight gain can be kept at bay by eating and drinking wholesome ingredients, keeping serving sizes moderate, and maintaining an active lifestyle.


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