Dear Nurse Susan: How Can Cannabis Give Me the Munchies and... Help Me Lose Weight Too?!

Dear Nurse Susan,
Every year I have the same New Year’s Resolution…Lose weight! I’m great for a month at most, then I eventually gain whatever weight I lost, plus some. My friend told me she was losing weight by using marijuana. Pleeeaaasssee!!! Can you imagine, claiming to lose weight by using something that is notorious for causing the munchies! Clearly she has smoked too much…but can it really help me lose weight???
Chubby, but not Gullible


Dear Chubby,

The good news about cannabis and weight management is you can gain weight or lose weight depending on how you use it! To start let’s talk about how our Endocannabinoid System modulates appetite. If you are unfamiliar with the ECS, you can learn about it in this short video:

Studies have shown that frequent cannabis consumers are less likely to be obese and have a lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes as compared to abstainers. Researchers at Oregon's Health and Science University assessed the relationship between cannabis use and a variety of health outcomes in a nationally representative sample of 4,743 participants between the ages of 20 and 59.

They concluded, "Heavy users of cannabis had a lower mean Body Mass Index (BMI) compared to that of never users, with a mean BMI being 26.7 kg/m in heavy users and 28.4 kg/m in never users." The finding is consistent with those of prior reviews, such as those here, here and here.
So, you are probably wondering, “How is this possible?”

Over activation of the CB1 receptor (commonly via THC) leads to greater food seeking behavior and appetite (“the munchies”). So, if you are trying to counter body-wasting due to cancer or HIV, this is good news indeed. If you want to gain weight using THC can play a role in increasing your appetite.

If your goal is to lose weight, minimize your THC intake and focus on your CBD and THCV intake. CBD is an appetite suppressant because it blocks the CB1 receptors and leads to decreased appetite. It also induces “fat browning” a process that turns white fat cells into beige or brown fat cells. White fat cells store energy and brown fat cells burn energy. By increasing the brown fat cells, your body reduces fat stores, improves glucose tolerance and blood lipid (cholesterol) abnormalities. (More at
THCV is a cannabinoid found in cannabis that is an appetite suppressant. It is difficult to find cannabis strains or products with lots of THCV, but lab results show it is more common in sativa and African landrace strains such as Durban Poison and Doug’s Varin.
CBD is readily available, so let’s talk about how CBD causes weight loss. Research cited in the articles included here shows that cannabinoids can decrease appetite, increase metabolism, and reduce insulin resistance, thereby reducing the risk of weight gain, Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. The way to get started with CBD weight loss is:

  • Find products or strains high in CBD. Only buy high quality CBD products (sprays, oils, etc.) with lab results readily available. Use high “CBD cannabis –based products” which contain a full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, rather than “industrial hemp” products which are a different and less complete form of CBD.
  • Start with 5-10mg about an hour before your two largest meals daily. Every three days increase you dosage by 5-10 mgs per meal until you feel a result. You can’t overdose on CBD and there is no psychoactivity related to CBD. 50mgs. – 75 mgs. per meal is not too much, if needed.
  • If you live in a legal state, supplementing CBD with a small amount of THC will amplify the effect of the CBD. This is known as the “entourage” effect. Use a few sprays of 18:1 or 8:1 spray before bed and you should feel no “high” and get a good night’s sleep.

Finally, realize that plant medicines are not fast acting like synthetics - patience is required! Prescription drugs have a quick result, although often they have a build-up period as well. It may take a month for you to feel the effects of a high CBD, low THC regimen. And like any medication, cannabis does not work the same for everyone.

Work it! This approach is not magic and it doesn’t mean you can eat anything you want. The appetite suppressing and metabolism boosting effects of CBD and THCV will be helped by making some lifestyle changes. Eat healthy food and in moderation, get exercise and movement, and adequate sleep is crucial for any weight loss approach.
Chubby, Give CBDs a try and see what happens. Happy New Year to you and best wishes to all with whatever your resolutions may be!


To your health!
Nurse Susan


p.s. Just for fun, I’ve included some options available to improve health. I am not recommending any of these strategies for weight and health management, but if you resonate to any of these strategies, give them a try and see how you respond. Combining the benefits of cannabinoids with positive lifestyle changes is a recipe for success!

Intermittent Fasting:
10 Tips for better sleep:
Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What You Want, and Free Yourself from Food Drama Forever

Dear Nurse Susan: Does the US Government Really Have a Patent on Medical Cannabis?

Dear Nurse Susan,
Is it true that the US government has a patent on marijuana for medical uses, yet classifies it and as a Schedule 1 drug and continues to throw people in jail for possessing it, or is this more “fake news”? Thank you for any facts you can provide on this illogical situation.
Sincerely Confused


Dear Sincerely Confused,
I will get straight to the point….Yes, on April 21, 1999 the United States of America as represented by The Department of Health and Human Services filed a patent application, “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants” and was awarded Patent #6630507 B1.

Cannabinoids are the 100+ compounds in the cannabis (marijuana) plant; the most commonly recognized cannabinoids are THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, THCA etc. The patent application states:

“Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention.”

I know, it sounds like gobbley goop. Let me restate it in layman’s terms. Cannabinoids (from the cannabis plant) are useful in the treatment and prevention of a wide variety of diseases including:
Inflammatory diseases: asthma, allergy, hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, transplant rejection, chronic peptic ulcer, tuberculosis, chronic periodontitis, ulcerative colitis, chronic sinusitis, etc. (there are many more).

Autoimmune diseases: Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, diabetes type 1, autism, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, thyroiditis, psoriasis, eczema, leukemia, peripheral neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy etc. (there are more than 100 autoimmune diseases).
Ischemic diseases: coronary artery disease, stroke, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, dementia, brain trauma, chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Age-related diseases: atherosclerosis, heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, cataracts, glaucoma, essential tremor, etc.
Neurodegenerative diseases: Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, HIV dementia, epilepsy, etc.

I hope you understand how incredible this is:
• Not only can cannabis potentially treat diseases that have no current effective treatments, but it can also prevent them.
• Hundreds of diseases and symptoms can be treated by one plant, not a separate drug for every problem.
• Cannabis is non-toxic and has an excellent safety profile, no documented fatal overdose deaths in 5000 years.
• You can grow it yourself, no need to pay the pharmaceutical companies!

Below is a link to a video of a retired Chief of Police with Parkinson’s disease, trying cannabis for the first time:

This video illustrates one of the most researched and effective uses for medical cannabis – autism in children. It is heartbreaking that a treatment approach with a significant success rate is illegal and unavailable when it has been documented in many cases as a more effective and less harmful treatment method than prescription medication.

Now, back to your question, Sincerely Confused, here are some facts about marijuana arrests: According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Human Rights Watch, “Marijuana arrests now account for over half of all drug arrests in the United States. Of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88% were for simply having marijuana. Nationwide, the arrest data revealed one consistent trend: significant racial bias. Despite roughly equal usage rates, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana. In 2010, cops made a pot bust every 37 seconds. States waste $3,613,969,972 enforcing marijuana laws every year. Over 50% of Americans support cannabis legalization.”

So, given the US patent stating the value of cannabis and then these crime statistics provided by various US government agencies, why do we have this huge contradictory situation and significant political issue regarding cannabis? In a world of “fake news” and revisionist history it’s harder and harder to know what to believe. Take a look at this video and decide what you think about cannabis prohibition.

I and thousands of others whom have benefitted from using cannabis to treat serious medical conditions continue to be baffled and tormented by this ongoing situation. As a patriotic citizen who loves my country, and spends every day working with the medical needs of suffering people, it is tremendously challenging to reconcile these two facts: Our government holds a patent on the incredible medical applications of cannabis, and on the other hand, greatly restricts medical research in our country and incarcerates citizens for possessing cannabis. I will conclude with two quotes from Thomas Jefferson:

<blockquote>"If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls who live under tyranny.”</blockquote>

<blockquote>“Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.”</blockquote>

So Sincerely, I hope this clarifies some of your confusion….I continue to find it baffling!
With all due respect to the powers that be,
Nurse Susan

CANNAHealthcare Magazine Volume 3, 4th Quarter, 2017

CANNAHealthcare Magazine Article

Scan to Page 38 for the article re: Nurse Susan!

Nurse Susan featured in Marijuana Retail Report

Healthy Cannabis Smoothie Recipe

Here’s my favorite cannabis smoothie recipe. I use more vegetable and less fruit so it’s great for keeping balanced blood sugar… and of course it keeps it “green”!

· 1 Serving Vanilla Protein Powder
· Large handful of Spinach
· 1/4 Avocado
· 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
· 2 tbsp. flax or chia seed
· Lemon juice (1/2 small lemon)
· 1 persian cucumber
· 2 cups unsweetened soy or nutmilk
· ½ cup blue berries or strawberries (or your favorite fruit for a little sweetness!)
· MCT or coconut oil
· A generous pinch of powdered turmeric
· 15-20 raw cannabis leaves and 1-2 raw buds

Dear Nurse Susan: Raw Cannabis

Dear Nurse Susan,
In one of your earlier posts you mentioned raw cannabis as “the superfood of superfoods.”
What does that mean, and would it be good to include raw cannabis in my diet?
Health Seeker


Dear Health Seeker,
I’m so glad you are interested in the benefits of raw cannabis! But first, let’s tackle a common concern about medical cannabis: Will it make me “high?” The answer is: It depends.

When cannabis is in its raw form, meaning fresh plant material or cold-pressed plant material, it is NOT psychoactive because there is little or no THC (the cannabinoid that can make you high). In the raw form of cannabis, the cannabinoids are in their acidic state, i.e. THCA, CBDA, which are not psychoactive. When you apply heat, such as drying it, smoking, vaping, cooking, or sunlight, the acid molecule flies off, (called decarboxylation) and THCA converts to THC, which IS psychoactive, and CBDA converts to CBD, which is not psychoactive. So as long as cannabis is in its raw form, there is no psychoactivity.

It’s important to mention that some juicers generate enough heat to convert THCA to THC, so you get the most value out of using the plant material in a blender with chilled liquids like fullfat, grass-fed dairy, soy, almond or coconut milk. As is the case with other “superfoods”, taking it with higher fat content foods increases the bioavailability. Add about 15 leaves and one or two buds (approx. 20 grams) to your favorite smoothie recipe. Also, you can simply add washed leaves to a salad or pesto!

Now that we know that raw cannabis is not psychoactive, let’s talk about the nutritional value of the plant. Raw cannabis is extremely nutrient rich, an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids (Omega 3&6), and protein. Raw cannabis is a potent antioxidant, antiinflammatory, analgesic, and neuroprotectant.
THCA protects against neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It’s effective for auto-immune disease, epilepsy, insomnia, pain, tremors and muscle spasms. CBDA is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and it relieves nausea and vomiting.

The raw plant is also chock-full of terpenes (essential oils), which give the plant its aroma and which have therapeutic effects as well. For example, linalool (aka lavender) exerts a sedative, relaxing effect.
Eating raw cannabis allows a person to consume a much higher dose of cannabinoids and terpenes, without psychoactivity. Since dried cannabis is psychoactive, most people can comfortably consume about 5-20 grams, depending on what they are used to. Since raw cannabis is like a vegetable, you can consume as much as you want without any psychoactivity and plenty of cannabinoids. Research shows that 15-20 large fan leaves and a couple of buds per day, which is equal to 500-1000 mg of THC-A is the recommended daily amount. It’s a great way to treat and prevent chronic diseases. It can be consumed in the form of smoothies, salads, juice, etc. You can get more details about the science related to raw cannabis at these links:


Obviously, when you decide to eat raw cannabis, you can’t just go to the market and pick some up for breakfast! I’m not going to get into growing cannabis today, but for those of you with a green thumb, in legal states you can grow a specified number of plants for personal use. This is no different than for many who are already growing your own fresh herbs like basil, thyme, etc.

If you want some starter plants to grow, or to purchase plants for your raw cannabis use, do some research regarding local dispensaries or growers. Not all dispensaries carry plants so you may have to make a few calls. Find someone who knows the difference between use for raw consumption rather than growing for recreational use to get the strains best suited for your purpose. Make sure that any plants you buy are ideally organic and have been grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

I hope this inspires all of you “Health Seekers” out there, to learn more about the wonderful benefits of raw cannabis, and how you can add it to your diet!

Nurse Susan

Dear Nurse Susan: So Many Products... How to Choose the Best!

Dear Nurse Susan,
I went to a dispensary for the first time to get something to help me sleep, and was overwhelmed by the number of products to choose from! Can you narrow it down for me?


Dear Overwhelmed,

The first visit to a dispensary is often overwhelming, and can create a little uncertainty when you’re not sure what you are buying. You’ll typically turn to the dispensary staff for assistance and some are definitely better informed than others, which can making things even more confusing. Whenever you are buying cannabis products, there are 4 things to consider:

  1. Safety: Ask to see the lab results to confirm the product is safe, without pesticides, mold or bacteria. Reputable companies will lab test their products and will post the Lab Report on their website. If the company does not lab test their products, does not make them readily available, or they post expired lab reports, do not use that product! There are companies that see cannabis as a “get-rich-quick” opportunity and quickly bring low-quality products to market, especially over-the-counter CBD/hemp products. Buyer beware!
  2. Cannabinoid Profile: There are hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes (therapeutic compounds) in cannabis, the most popular being THC, CBD, THCV, CBN etc. Each cannabinoid has its own therapeutic effects, although their effects often overlap. For example, THC and CBD both alleviate pain, but if your pain is severe, you will want to use more THC than CBD because THC is more effective than CBD for severe pain. It is a good idea to consult a cannabis nurse for education and consultation on cannabinoid and terpene profiles that best relieve your symptoms.
  3. Method of Administration: The method of administration is not just a personal preference. Each method has its own time to onset, duration of action, and bioavailability. Many times, a patient will use more than one method. For example, for immediate relief of nausea, pain, etc., vaping is the best method, because the time to onset is within 15 seconds, but lasts for only a couple of hours. For sleep, you may want to use an edible because, although they have a slower onset (up to 2-3 hours) they last the longest, up to 6-8 hours. So, if you take a low dose edible a couple of hours before bed, the sedation will last throughout the night, and help you stay asleep. And, if it’s dosed appropriately, you will not have a hangover, or be groggy when you wake up. Make sure you use an Indica at night, and Sativa during the day.
  4. Cost: Medical cannabis can be very costly, and insurance doesn’t reimburse. So, how do you know if a product is overpriced? Figure out how much you are paying per milligram of cannabis. For example, if a 30ml tincture has 500mg of cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc.) and costs $50, you divide the cost by the number of milligrams, which in this scenario comes to $0.10/mg. The average cost per milligram for tinctures/sprays is between $0.10 - $0.20/mg. For full extract cannabis oil, the average cost is between $0.03 - $0.06/mg. Expect to pay more for CBD-rich products than for THC-rich products.

If you follow these steps, you will considerably narrow down your choices. Cannabis works differently for different people. You may want to go to sites like,, or my site to get more information on the specific condition you are dealing with. It takes some experimenting with different products, doses and methods of administration, plus a little patience, to discover the best product, dose and method of administration that works for you. In my opinion, it’s worth the effort!

I hope this simplifies your cannabis journey of discovery!

Nurse Susan