If you’ve got a pipe in your pocket or a vape pen in your purse, chances aren’t real good you’re also hiding six-pack abs under your shirt.
Regular 2 a.m. trips to Taco Bell prompted by a raging case of the munchies can make it hard to even fit in your pants sometimes. But that’s doesn’t have to be the case: there are some strains of marijuana that actually can suppress appetite rather than encourage it.
“Sativas don’t tend to bring on appetite for anyone,” said Justin Fulton, manager and budtender at Lucky Leaf. “Sativa is going to maybe have more of the characteristics of ‘go, go, go - what can I do next?’”
Sativas are a species of the marijuana plant commonly known for giving a “body high” and are considered “daytime” strains because of the energy many people get from them. In comparison, indica strains are known for being physically sedating, helping with relaxation, providing a “head high” and often stimulating hunger.
“(Indicas) trick the brain into thinking it’s ready to eat,” said Fulton.
While marijuana is known for its physcoactive effects, mostly caused by the compound Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), some sativa strains also have Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv), a compound that has recently been shown to regulate blood sugar levels, reduce anxiety attacks, decrease Alzheimer’s symptoms and suppress appetite.
While valid data on the effects of THCv is limited, experts believe it works by interfering with receptors in the brain that are responsible for regulating memory and appetite. Because marijuana is classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule I drug, federal funding cannot be used to conduct further tests or research at this time.
As a result, the general public is mostly unaware of strains containing THCv, which claim to have weight loss properties. Many local pot shop employees haven’t heard of it either.
Only one of six local budtenders contacted throughout the Spokane area had heard of THCv, although all immediately suggested sativas for those looking to avoid the munchies or weight gain as side effects.
Danny Woodruff, a budtender at the Treehouse Club in Spokane Valley, said his customers haven’t asked for THCv strains yet so his store hasn’t made an effort to stock them. However, cannabis buyers are becoming more knowledgeable about what certain strains contain that can dictate what kind of high they are seeking to experience.
“What’s going to cause those effects are the terpenes,” he said. Effects can range from lethargy to high energy.
Terpenes are organic compounds, produced by plants, including marijuana. Different strains contain different terpenes. For instance, Woodruff says pine terpenes make you relaxed, causing you to eat more. Citrusy terpenes cause you to be more energetic.
“People are asking if it says what kinds of terpenes are on the packaging now,” he said. “A lot will look at what’s in it based on how they want to feel.”
Woodruff said strains like Green Crack and Powder Hound are more energy strains.
“I know people who smoke those before going to the gym to work out,” he said.
Fulton from Lucky Leaf recommends Golden Pineapple for athletes.
“Runners are huge sativa fans. You’d be surprised how many people are in here looking for sativas before Bloomsday,” he said.
Besides providing extra energy, some athletes say that smoking or ingesting pot before exercising makes them less inhibited and more aggressive, gives them stamina to exercise longer and harder and helps get them “in the zone” to focus on form and performance. Others say they aren’t as sore after working out when they use marijuana.
“It’s a motivator,” said Fulton. “Definitely a motivator.”
If you do partake before hitting the gym, be warned that experts say the effects are still unclear and there is the chance that the burst of energy sativas can provide could cause athletes to overdo it and hurt themselves.