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How Does CBD Affect Your Weight?

Cannabidiol — better known as CBD — is a widely popular compound derived from the cannabis plant.

Although typically available as an oil-based extract, CBD also comes in lozenges, sprays, topical creams, and other forms.

CBD may have a number of benefits, including reduced anxiety, natural pain relief, and improved heart and brain health ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ).

However, little is known about the effects of CBD on weight loss.

This article explores the current research on CBD and how it affects your weight.

CBD is one of over 100 compounds, known as cannabinoids, found in cannabis ( 5 ).

It’s the second most abundant cannabinoid — after tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — and composes up to 40% of the plant’s extract ( 6 ).

Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive effects, meaning that it does not cause a high ( 7 ).

However, CBD affects your body in other ways. It’s thought to stimulate certain receptors to reduce pain, anxiety, and inflammation ( 8 ).

It stops the breakdown of anandamide — a chemical often referred to as the “bliss molecule” — in your brain. This allows anandamide to stay in your system longer, helping relieve pain and boost brain function ( 8 , 9 ).

CBD also regulates the production of inflammatory molecules called cytokines, thereby reducing inflammation and pain ( 8 ).

What’s more, CBD may also help treat symptoms of depression.

However, because human research is currently limited, the full effects of CBD on health are still unknown ( 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 ).

CBD is a cannabis compound shown to have beneficial effects on health, including pain relief and reduced inflammation. Still, research is ongoing, and CBD’s full effects are undetermined.

CBD has been purported to improve other aspects of health, including weight loss. A few of its potential effects are outlined below.

May boost metabolism and reduce food intake

Preliminary research suggests that CBD may reduce food intake and boost metabolism, which could promote weight loss.

For example, animal studies indicate that CBD affects weight by interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors in lymphoid tissue and the brain. These receptors are thought to play important roles in metabolism and food intake ( 15 , 16 ).

In a two-week study, rats were injected with CBD daily at doses of 1.1 and 2.3 mg per pound of body weight (2.5 and 5 mg per kg). Both doses produced significant reductions in body weight, with the higher dose having the most pronounced effect ( 17 ).

It’s important to note that CBD was injected, not given orally.

In another rat study, CBD led to a significant reduction in food intake compared to other cannabinoids, including cannabigerol and cannabinol ( 18 ).

While such results are promising, not enough human studies support these findings, and more research is needed.

May promote ‘browning’ of fat cells

Two types of fat — white and brown — exist in your body.

White fat is the predominant form, responsible for storing and supplying energy while insulating and cushioning your organs ( 19 ).

It’s also the type of fat most associated with chronic illnesses — such as diabetes and heart disease — when accumulated in excess ( 20 , 21 ).

On the other hand, brown fat is responsible for generating heat by burning calories. Individuals with a healthy weight tend to have more brown fat than overweight people ( 19 ).

You can convert white fat to brown by exercising, getting adequate sleep, and exposing yourself to cold temperatures ( 22 , 23 ).

Interestingly, research shows that CBD may aid this process.

A test-tube study found that CBD led to “browning” in white fat cells and enhanced the expression of specific genes and proteins that promote brown fat ( 24 ).

However, human research is needed to confirm these effects.

Marijuana use is associated with lower body weight

Although marijuana use is commonly associated with increased food intake, those who use marijuana products tend to weigh less than those who don’t.

For example, a review in over 50,000 people noted an obesity rate of 14–17% among those who used cannabis at least 3 days per week, compared to 22–25% for those reporting no marijuana use in the past 12 months ( 25 ).

As CBD is prevalent in marijuana, it’s likely involved in this relationship — although it’s unclear how.

That said, researchers believe that cannabinoids as a whole — including CBD — affect appetite, metabolism, and other weight-related body functions ( 26 ).

CBD may promote weight loss by reducing appetite, boosting metabolism, and encouraging the “browning” of fat cells. However, research is currently limited, and more human studies are needed.

CBD is a widely popular compound derived from marijuana and often promoted for weight loss. This article explores the current research on CBD and how it affects your weight.

Cannabis and Metabolism: Can CBD Help With Weight Loss?

New research is slowly transforming the way we look at the cannabis plant. A new trend is suggesting that cannabis can help with weight loss. But is this fact or fiction? We take a look at the research to give you the lowdown.

Understanding the connection between cannabis, CBD, and metabolism.

Contents:

As any dieter will tell you, losing weight is hard. It’s also a very personal journey to take. For some, it amounts to limiting alcohol; for others, it’s a symptom of modern-day tension.

Whether you work too much or have children, there’s never enough hours in the day. Then, for those of us who like to relax with a joint at the end of it, you inevitably wind up with the munchies.

Recently, the internet has been abuzz with reports that CBD oil is a promising alternative weight loss supplement. But how true are these claims, exactly? Is CBD good for weight loss?

Potentially, but not directly.

The Endocannabinoid System and Metabolism

What the science all boils down to is our old friend, the endocannabinoid system. Named after the plant that led to its discovery, the ECS is what helps cannabinoids—such as CBD or THC—interact with our body.

Concerning the ECS and weight loss/metabolism, we know it’s directly connected to energy storage and transporting nutrients. As a result, it helps regulate everything from mood and sleep to temperature and inflammation. One study even found the endocannabinoid system to stimulate areas of the body [1] involved in metabolism, such as the gastrointestinal tract and pancreas.

As far as the science goes, the endocannabinoid system is made up of metabolic enzymes that stimulate various parts of the body. It does this primarily via two endogenous compounds—anandamide and 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) [2] —that target CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body. Given that cannabinoids like THC and CBD interact with these receptors too, it stands to reason that cannabis might be able to aid metabolism and/or weight loss in some respect.

While research on the endocannabinoid system and metabolism is still mounting, we’re learning more about it every year.

Marijuana and Weight Loss: What’s the Connection?

Although we all reach for the nearest snack after a good high, marijuana use doesn’t equate to obesity. In fact, in one study, scientists found that regular cannabis users are less likely to be obese. What it boils down to are two factors: terminology and individuality.

When it comes to weed, most use “cannabis” and “marijuana” interchangeably. However, they’re not the same in this context. Cannabis is the name for the plant, while marijuana is the name for the psychoactive buds it produces—its crop, so to speak. And while cannabis is made up of hundreds of cannabinoid compounds, the main one in marijuana is THC.

But when it comes to weight loss, it all boils down to CBD.

CBD and Metabolism

All cannabinoids have different effects, but they tend to have similar or complementary interactions with the ECS. There are four main ways in which CBD may be able to affect or alter our metabolism.

CBD Oil 15%
CBD Oil 15%
THC: 0.2%
CBD: 15%
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Mitochondrial Function

If you remember only one thing from science class, it’s got to be: mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. You might even say it’s the spice of life.

Mitochondria convert sugars, fats, and proteins into the energy that sustains our bodies. Thus, mitochondrial imbalances can affect the way we burn energy, making it harder to lose weight. As a result, fixing those imbalances can greatly increase metabolic health and kick things back into gear.

CBD appears to regulate mitochondrial activity [3] , whipping our ECS into shape, which then helps us achieve metabolic balance, or homeostasis. With that in mind, could CBD combined with diet and exercise possibly increase the rate at which we burn fat? Let’s examine that a bit closer.

Fat Browning

Fat is a complicated macronutrient. We automatically think of it as a bad thing. Scientifically speaking, however, that isn’t the case. On the contrary, there are actually two types of fat in our body: the good fat (brown), and the bad (white).

White fat is predominant: It’s the fat we developed to keep us from starving when we were but cave-dwelling creatures. White fat stores and supplies our body with energy, cushioning our organs for extreme scenarios we won’t face in our lifetimes. As a result, white fat can really mess with the metabolism. Brown fat, on the other hand, generates heat and burns calories.

In a study published in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, researchers found that CBD can convert white fat to brown [4] . While further human studies are needed, this poses great potential for using CBD oil alongside a weight loss or management programme.

Insulin Regulation

In order to keep the body safe, the liver removes toxins and converts excess sugars into insulin. These sugars come from basically everything we put into our bodies, be it fruit or beer. From there, it’s passed on to the pancreas, which sends it to the cells.

Irregular insulin levels can overload the liver and pancreas, throwing the body out of whack. Furthermore, too much insulin in the bloodstream means we can’t burn fat. Consequently, you’re going to have a much harder time dropping the pounds.

CBD has some potential to stabilise insulin levels, henceforth kickstarting the process of curbing weight. This is demonstrated by a preclinical study [5] that found CBD to lower instances of diabetes in non-diabetic mice.

Appetite Suppression

Marijuana (led by THC) is an appetite stimulant. As a result, some doctors prescribe medical marijuana to chemotherapy patients whose appetites have been affected. Of course, anyone who’s gotten the munchies will probably cosign that in a heartbeat.

While it’s true that THC makes you hungry, this is not the case with CBD. Believed to be more of an appetite suppressant, isolated CBD will not have you shoving sweets into your face. Instead, as a 2012 study on rats shows, it is more likely to reduce food intake [6] .

Does CBD Help You Lose Weight?

CBD is not a one-size-fits-all weight loss solution. In fact, some people might actually gain weight when using it. With research still being so new, it’s going to take some time until we know more about CBD’s effects on our metabolism.

For now, the best way to see if it works for you, individually, is to pay attention to how—or if—your appetite changes while using high-CBD strains or oils.

Does Smoking Weed Promote Weight Loss?

No. It’s very rare that smoking weed will help you lose weight.

However, experts believe it can help with some of the underlying factors related to obesity, such as promoting healthy sleep and lowering tension.

Why Does Cannabis Make You Hungry?

That familiar craving you get when you’re high comes down to THC; the same compound that gets you high. Although research is still in its infancy, one study published in Nature Neuroscience [7] gets us a bit closer to figuring out why.

THC increases the pleasure we get from certain things; therefore, if there’s chocolate in the fridge, it’ll taste even better when you’re high than it does normally. One way to fix this “issue” is to have healthier alternatives at hand for when the munchies hit. Let’s face it, you’ll gain less weight with carrot sticks than you would a slice of cake.

Controversy of Using CBD or Marijuana for Weight Loss

While there are potential benefits to using CBD for weight loss, there are plenty of controversies to even the playing field.

The biggest issue is that there haven’t been any studies into using CBD to lose weight directly, at least not in humans. Although animal studies exist, we won’t have real answers until we know its effects on us. For now, everything is just conjecture.

In a study in the American Journal of Medicine, researchers found that marijuana use offered a 17% reduction in fasting insulin [8] . That being said, a different study in Translational Psychiatry found that increased ECS activity [9] may lead to insulin resistance and obesity.

Similarly, in the case of a study that indicated lower rates of obesity in cannabis smokers, its authors go on to say weed shouldn’t be relied upon [10] as a dietary aid. Their study simply didn’t indicate a clear relationship between marijuana and weight loss.

Cannabis, Metabolism, and Weight Loss: The Bottom Line

The bottom line is, there’s no evidence that smoking weed can help you lose weight. Moreover, adding CBD into a weight loss plan without exercising or maintaining a healthy diet likely won’t do much either.

On the other hand, adding CBD to a healthy exercise and eating plan could be an excellent complement, thanks to its versatility and overall support of the ECS. At the very least, there is nothing to indicate that taking CBD will make you gain weight. And, since it’s well tolerated and offers numerous other benefits, there’s really nothing standing in the way of you incorporating CBD into your weight loss or weight management regimen.

When it comes to weed, we've all heard about—or experienced first-hand—the munchies. But could cannabis actually help you lose weight? What about CBD?