Marijuana has been around for a long time, and human usage dates back to at-least the second or third millennium BC. Marijuana or weed is one of the most widely used psychoactive drugs in the world. Recently, marijuana use has emerged in publicity due to the numerous medical benefits it can provide. Just like intermittent fasting or time restricted eating has emerged in publicity due to the numerous health benefits it can provide. So you can see why some people would want to combine both intermittent fasting and marijuana for their various benefits.
In most cases people would assume marijuana wouldn’t be a good choice while intermittent fasting. Mainly due to the food cravings, aka munchies. However, some people claim smoking marijuana actually helps them maintain their fasting window. It all depends on personal preference. The most popular intermittent fasting schedules are 16:8 or 18:6 windows. So some prefer to use marijuana during their 16 or 18 hour fast to help avoid food cravings. In this article I will be discussing the pros and cons to using marijuana while intermittent fasting, and discuss if it will break your fast.
What Is Marijuana?
Marijuana commonly referred to as weed, bud, pot, Mary Jane, etc. is the dried components from the hemp plant Cannabis Sativa. The main psychoactive chemical in marijuana is called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC for short. The psychoactive drug THC is a chemical substance that can alter perception, mood, behavior, and cognition due to changes that occur within the brain. Within the marijuana plant there is over hundreds of other chemical compounds or cannabinoids, such as CBD.
Will Marijuana Break My Fast?
No, marijuana will not break your fast. It contains zero calories and zero macronutrients, thus not causing an insulin response within the body. You will still receive all the benefits of intermittent fasting such as increased metabolism, gut rest, autophagy, and fat loss. In fact, research shows the psychoactive component THC actually can promote autophagy within the human body. CBD, the other compound within the marijuana plant has also been shown to promote autophagic and apoptotic signaling pathways within cancerous cells. So not only will marijuana not break your fast, it may actually promote or enhance some of the benefits of intermittent fasting.
However, marijuana may break your fast if you are doing it for religious or spiritual beliefs in which any type of stimulant would break the fast. In terms of intermittent fasting or time restricted eating, marijuana use would be acceptable.
What About Edibles?
Edibles would indeed break your fast. Most edibles are in the form of baked goods such as brownies, cookies, candy, and gummies. By consuming these edibles you would be consuming calories and macronutrients. Thus causing an insulin response in the body, and breaking your fast. Inhalation would be the method of choice to ensure you are not breaking your fasting window.
Pros of Consuming Marijuana While Fasting
There are numerous medical benefits of marijuana use within the literature. However, I want to look at the medical benefits of marijuana that correlate with benefits of fasting.
- Many cannabinoids within marijuana have been shown to reduce inflammation and provide relief of chronic pain. This is also true for intermittent fasting, which has been shown to reduce cells that cause inflammation within the body. Most of the inflammation people have within the body is due to eating too much and too often.
- Another common trait among them is the ability to promote weight loss. Cannabis use has been shown to aid the body in regulating insulin. This is also true for intermittent fasting, due to the abilities it has on improving insulin sensitivity within the body.
- The cannabinoids found in marijuana has been shown to promote autophagy and apoptosis which could help fight certain types of cancer. Intermittent fasting has also been shown to promote autophagy. Time restricted eating and caloric restriction has been shown to lower tumor biomarkers and regress certain cancerous cells.
- Research shows marijuana can help prevent and regulate diabetes due to its abilities to improve blood circulation and regulate insulin. Intermittent fasting has also been used in clinical settings to treat and reverse type 2 diabetes.
Cons of Consuming Marijuana While Fasting
There are numerous reasons why marijuana use may be disadvantageous. However, I want to consider the disadvantages that correlate with intermittent fasting.
- Marijuana has often been correlated with food cravings or “munchies” due to the effects THC has on the brain. Research shows THC can trigger areas in the brain like the Hypothalamus which is responsible for appetite. So in terms of intermittent fasting this can be a major negative aspect. However, the effects vary from person to person, so some may find marijuana beneficial to avoid food cravings.
- Cannabinoids have been shown to have diuretic affects on the body. Meaning, they help your kidneys excrete water and sodium through your urine. In terms of intermittent fasting, this could be disadvantageous. You could become dehydrated more easily, or have too little sodium/potassium within the body. This increases your risk of headaches, dizziness, and muscle cramps.
Tips For Marijuana Use While Fasting
It is important to listen to your body when it comes to intermittent fasting. I recommend starting slow and figuring out what works best for you. Every person will respond differently to intermittent fasting and marijuana use, so it is best to listen to your own body. I am not advocating the use of marijuana while fasting. However, it is acceptable, and marijuana will not break your fast. Consider both the pros and cons to marijuana use while intermittent fasting, and decide for yourself. Remember to stay hydrated while intermittent fasting, and avoid any beverages that will break your fast. Stick with water or sparkling water for the best hydration. Check out my article on the best sparkling waters to consume while fasting.