Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, has gained enormous popularity over the past several years due to the wide variety of health benefits and uses it brings to one’s self-care regimen. Primarily, CBD is used for chronic pain and inflammation relief and has been proven helpful in managing stress and anxiety symptoms. Subsequently, CBD contributes to a better quality of sleep, positively affecting one’s overall well-being.
One of the less obvious connections is the one between CBD and weight management. At first sight, taking CBD oil for weight loss might seem pointless – after all, we all know that the only way to lose weight effectively is by letting out more calories than getting with food intake.
However, it’s important to realize that there are multiple factors affecting our bodies’ ability to burn fat, ranging from inflammation status to hormonal imbalances to metabolic factors. As such, establishing a balance between the digestive, immune, and nervous systems is crucial for effective weight management.
Considering the fact that cannabidiol interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for maintaining homeostasis, i.e., balance in the body, it can be helpful in terms of weight loss. Join us as we dive into exploring the potential of using CBD for weight loss and see if it can help you achieve your fitness goals.
What Is CBD?
CBD is one of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Unlike its more famous sibling, THC, cannabidiol is non-intoxicating and won’t produce any euphoric effect, meaning it won’t get you high.
CBD is extracted from the plant in the form of oil and is widely available on the market today in various concentrations and forms, ranging from CBD oils and tinctures to edibles and topicals to even vape juices.
CBD oil remains one of the most popular forms of CBD because of how convenient and versatile they are in use. You can consume CBD oils sublingually (by placing a few drops under the tongue), orally (when added to food or drinks), or apply them topically.
When shopping for CBD-based products, you’ll come across three types of CBD oil products, based on the way they are manufactured:
- Full-spectrum CBD oil. This type of oil contains all the plant’s cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other active compounds that are believed to contribute to the entourage effect.
- Broad-spectrum CBD oil. Broad-spectrum products are similar to full-spectrum oils, but they go through an additional process that removes all traces of THC.
- CBD isolate. As the name suggests, this is the purest form of CBD, with all other plant compounds removed.
The 2018 Farm Bill made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal in the US; however, local regulations may still apply, varying from one state to another.
Health Benefits of CBD
CBD has a wide range of potential health benefits, all of which are interconnected. Here are some of the most well-established effects of CBD:
- Pain and inflammation relief. CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory agent and can be helpful in managing various types of pain, including arthritis pain, muscle soreness, and chronic pain.
- Anxiety and stress management. CBD has been shown to be effective in alleviating anxiety and stress symptoms by interacting with the body’s serotonin receptors.
- Better quality of sleep. CBD can be helpful in treating insomnia and other sleep disorders by reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality.
- Immune system support. CBD has been shown to interact with the body’s immune system and help reduce inflammation.
- Help with cancer treatment symptoms. CBD has been shown to help relieve cancer treatment-related symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and pain.
How Does CBD Work?
To understand how cannabidiol can be helpful for weight management, we need to take a look at how it works in our bodies first.
You see, our bodies produce their own cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids. These molecules interact with cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body and play an important role in maintaining homeostasis.
The two most studied endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-AG. Anandamide is often referred to as the “bliss molecule” because it’s associated with feelings of happiness and well-being. On the other hand, 2-AG is linked to regulating immunity, pain perception, and appetite.
CBD works by influencing the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) in a similar way endocannabinoids do. By interacting with cannabinoid receptors, it can help regulate various processes in the body, including appetite, metabolism, and inflammation and helps restore balance in the body, which is crucial for overall health and wellness.
There are two types of cannabinoid receptors in our bodies: CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and are responsible for mood, pain, memory, and appetite. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are mostly found in the immune system and are linked to inflammation and pain relief.
So, How CBD Can Help Lose Weight?
The short answer would be: indirectly. Neither CBD nor any other substance on earth won’t do all the job for you – you still need to stick to a healthy diet and maintain physical activity to maintain a healthy calorie deficit in order to lose weight.
However, CBD can contribute to your weight loss by affecting some of the accompanying factors that play a significant role in this journey as a whole. Here is how CBD may affect your body weight:
The first way CBD may help with weight loss is by reducing your appetite. When you feel hungry, you are more likely to snack on unhealthy junk food which usually results in consuming more calories than you actually need.
While many connect cannabis to an increased appetite, it’s crucial to distinguish its main components – THC and cannabidiol exert opposing effects when it comes to appetite. For instance, a 2012 study in rat feeding patterns shows that CBD administration to rats reduces their appetite.
There is also a recent study on the role of cannabinoids in obesity that suggests that CB1 receptor antagonists might help decrease appetite and control obesity by blocking off or “deactivating” the receptor. While CBD doesn’t deactivate CB1 receptors directly, it may still influence other molecules prompting them to block them off. As a result, shutting off these receptors may help curb the appetite and prevent overeating in some people.
However, it’s important to note that there is a lack of human trials on this subject and remember that this effect isn’t universal, meaning that not everyone who takes CBD experiences appetite suppression.
Boost Metabolism and Reduce Food Intake
CBD may also contribute to weight management by affecting metabolism. Our metabolism is responsible for converting the food we eat into energy, which is then used by our cells to perform various functions. A slow metabolism can lead to weight gain because the food we eat is not being converted into energy efficiently and is instead stored as fat.
For instance, animal studies suggest that CBD impacts weight by interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors in lymphoid tissue and the brain – receptors that play important roles in metabolism and food intake.
Promote the Browning of White Fat Cells in the Body
White fat cells are the type of fat cells that are responsible for storing energy in the form of lipids. When we consume more calories than we burn, these cells grow larger, which leads to weight gain.
On the other hand, brown fat cells are known as more active fat cells because they are responsible for burning calories and generating heat which, in turn, stimulates thermogenesis, thus helping the body burn even more calories. Brown fat cells are more abundant in newborns and animals than in adults.
However, new research suggests that it’s possible to promote the browning of white fat cells with the help of CBD, which can lead to increased calorie burning and, subsequently, weight loss.
The study found that apart from fat conversion, CBD influences the way the body interacts with fat on many other levels – for instance, it also causes a more efficient breakdown of fats within the body.
Excess inflammation in the body can lead to weight gain and make it harder to lose weight because it increases insulin resistance. When our bodies become resistant to insulin, it becomes harder for us to process glucose, which leads to increased fat storage.
Additionally, chronic inflammation and the body’s inability to produce sufficient levels of insulin are also linked to a higher risk of developing obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that can help reduce the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the body. Cytokines are small proteins that play an important role in cell signaling and are involved in a wide variety of biological processes, including inflammation.
Therefore, by reducing inflammation, CBD can indirectly promote weight loss and even reduce the risk of metabolic diseases.
Concerns About CBD and Weight Gain
While using CBD for weight loss shows promising results, it’s also important to mention that CBD might also cause weight gain in some people. This is usually the case with CBD-infused products that contain higher amounts of THC, as this substance can increase appetite.
To be on the safe side, you can opt for broad-spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolate instead of purchasing full-spectrum CBD oil and its deveriative products.
Furthermore, studies show mixed results when it comes to the way CBD affects appetite in general. For instance, in a recent review of 2,409 people who use CBD, 6.35% reported that they experienced increased hunger as a side effect.
Still, while the results CBD has on appetite vary, it’s important to note that there are other factors that there are many other factors that may influence hunger when taking CBD, such as genetics or the type of CBD product used.
How to Use CBD in Your Weight Loss Journey?
Now that we’ve established how CBD can participate in weight management, let’s take a closer look at the different ways you can use it.
As you already know, CBD oils can be consumed in various ways. The most common way to use CBD oil is sublingual. You just need to place a few drops under the tongue and hold them there for about 60 seconds before swallowing. This method allows CBD to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, making it one of the most effective ways to use cannabidiol.
Another popular way to use CBD oil is by adding it to food or drinks. Oral consumption is a great option for those who don’t like the original taste of CBD oil or want to increase their daily intake gradually – simply add a few drops of CBD oil to your favorite smoothie or salad dressing and enjoy.
CBD oil can also be applied topically, in the form of lotions, creams, or salves. This is a great option for those who are looking for targeted relief from pain or inflammation. All you need to do is apply a small amount of CBD-infused lotion to the affected area and massage it in until it’s fully absorbed.
If you’re not a fan of oils, tinctures, or topicals, you can also opt for CBD edibles. CBD edibles are a great way to enjoy the benefits of cannabidiol while satisfying your sweet tooth. There’s a wide variety of CBD edibles on the market today, ranging from softgels and gummies to candies and baked goods or even savory snacks. Simply choose your favorite and enjoy.
Other than that, vaping is one of the most effective ways to use CBD as it allows the compound to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the lungs and provides almost immediate effects.
As you can see, there are multiple ways you can use to make the most out of CBD for weight loss. Simply choose the method that best suits your needs and preferences and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol.
Safety and Side Effects of Using CBD
CBD is a generally safe and well-tolerated compound, meaning it won’t produce any non-intoxicating effects or get you high. However, some people report feeling fatigued after taking CBD, and, as you already know, some noticeable changes in their appetite.
Other than that, CBD can also cause dry mouth, diarrhea, and reduced blood pressure, so you’ll need to make sure you drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated when using CBD products.
Additionally, CBD can interact with some medications, so if you’re taking any prescription medications, make sure to talk to your doctor before using CBD products.
Lastly, some CBD-based products on the market today might be of low quality and might contain traces of THC, which can result in weight gain. Therefore, when shopping for CBD products, make sure to choose only those that are third-party tested and come from a reputable source.
While CBD is booming in the health and wellness industry, it’s important to realize that it’s only one of many factors supporting you on your weight loss journey.
CBD oil can indeed help you lose weight by reducing inflammation, promoting the browning of white fat cells, relieving stress, and affecting appetite. However, you cannot rely solely on the substance.
CBD is not a magic pill that will make you lose weight without making any other changes to your lifestyle. In order to lose weight effectively, you need to create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you burn. Good luck!