Most people associate cannabis with the munchies. And everyone knows what the munchies can lead to: eating a lot of foods that aren’t so great for you, like a whole bag of chips or half a pizza.
However, this may turn out to be another myth about cannabis with no relation to the truth. While the munchies are something every cannabis user experiences at some point, new studies have found that a chemical ingredient in cannabis might actually help people lose weight.
It all revolves around tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), which occurs naturally in cannabis. Researchers have reported it shows signs of effectively controlling appetite. A study published in the Journal of Cannabis Research found that THCV provides appetite control, glycemic control, neuroprotection and reduced side effects.
The study reports that in research with rodents, “THCV decreases appetite, increases satiety, and up-regulates energy metabolism, making it a clinically useful remedy for weight loss and management of obesity and type 2 diabetic patients.”
Companies Creates Edible Using THCV
Consumers and the cannabis curious should know about THCV because it already is leading to creation of new products.
Wana Brands, the Colorado-based company that specializes in gummies, created a new gummy in 2021 that makes use of the appetite control properties of THCV. Called Wana Optimals Fit, the company markets the gummy as a cannabinoid-powered tool to help people get their food cravings under control.
Wana Brands calls THCV “a rare cannabinoid that can boost focus, help disrupt unhelpful eating habits, and put you back in control of your diet.” They also point out that THCV does not make people feel high, allowing consumers to use the edible whenever they want during the day.
Currently, Wana Optimals Fit is available only in Colorado.
Researchers Say THCV Shows Promise For Weight Loss
Wana Brands may be the first of many companies to use THCV in products designed to help control appetite. It’s especially attractive to consumers because it’s a plant-based, all-natural product.
In a study involving humans published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers found that unlike drugs manufactured for suppress appetite, the naturally occurring THVC left neural reward responses to food intact in the brain but augmented aversive responses. Manufactured anti-obesity drugs increase aversive responses to food in the brain, too, but they also lower reward responses.
For THCV users in the study still had a reward response to chocolate in the midbrain, anterior cingulate cortex, caudate, and putamen. However, they recorded strong aversive responses in the amygdala, insula, mid orbitofrontal cortex, caudate, and putamen.
The researchers summed up their findings in lay terms, writing that THCV’s “effect profile suggests therapeutic activity in obesity, perhaps with a lowered risk of depressive side effects.”