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How coffee counteracts effects of cannabis, induces weight loss



Supermodels have been said to swear by a diet of black coffee and cigarettes.

Now a study delving into the truth behind the long-held theory that a cup of coffee can aid weight loss suggests it really can.

Scientists discovered the hot drink can act in the opposite way to illegal cannabis after they analysed its effects on 47 people.


People who smoke cannabis are known to get the ‘munchies’, being drawn to snacks like crisps and chocolate, as the drug hits part of the brain linked to appetite.

Coffee, the researchers have now found, has the reverse effect, which may make people less hungry, using the same system in the body.

The findings, from Northwestern University, support previous evidence that people drinking two cups of daily coffee after a diet are better able to keep the weight off.

It suggests that coffee may help people to slim, not just by speeding up their metabolism, but by making them less hungry.

The study measured the biological effects of coffee-drinking in 47 people asked to abstain from the hot drink for a month, then consume four cups a day for a second month and eight cups a day for a third.

The three-month study measured hundreds of biological signs in the blood of the coffee-drinkers.

Researchers found compounds produced by the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for the ‘high’ people get from smoking cannabis.

The levels of these compounds fell when people drank more coffee, particularly when they had eight cups a day.

It suggests coffee works in the opposite way to cannabis, reducing rather than increasing someone’s appetite.

Cornelis said: “The endocannabinoid pathways might impact eating behaviours – the classic case being the link between cannabis use and the munchies.”

Coffee is often thought to help people lose weight because caffeine boosts the metabolism, burning fat more quickly.

But Cornelis added: “Our new findings linking coffee to endocannabinoids offer alternative explanations worthy of further study.”

A study of almost 500 people by Hannover Medical School in Germany found in 2015 that slimmers with a regular coffee habit of two to four cups a day were far more likely to keep the weight they had lost off. The latest research also suggests that coffee eliminates steroids in the body, which could ward off cancer.

Cornelis said: “Cannabinoids act on cannabinoid receptors which gives rise to the effects we commonly equate with cannabis use (munchies is one example).

“In our study, coffee consumption decreased metabolites of the endocannabinoid system (the body’s ‘natural’ cannabinoid system) which also interacts with the same receptors.

In the case of coffee, less interaction with these receptors would occur and so any effects resulting from this interaction would lessen or reverse.”

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CannabisCoffeeWeight loss
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