CBD: Weight Loss or Munchies?

by | Jun 24, 2019 | CBD, Health, Learn, Lifestyle | Culture

Summer is finally here. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the beach awaits. But what about that winter weight we’ve all certainly been carrying around for the last few months?

At one time or another, you’ve probably found yourself reading through one of the many “Beach Body in 10 Days” articles that are plastered all over the internet and in our favourite magazines. You’ve probably also heard plenty about your co-worker’s juice cleanse, or how your friend swears by her detoxifying tea. Navigating through the endless stream of tips and tricks on how to begin a weight loss journey can be daunting. If these options leave you feeling doubtful, perhaps another player can be the answer for you.

Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound derived from the cannabis plant, might be exactly what you need to help you turn over a new leaf. CBD has been touted as a cure-all for any and all ailments we may find ourselves experiencing.

Can science back up the hype regarding CBD for weight loss or will the munchies get you every time?

There are countless indirect effects related to CBD use. For example, a reduction in anxiety can lead to a more restful sleep, which can in turn improve brain function and productivity. Using CBD to treat one symptom (such as anxiety or pain), could actually lead to better overall health. The results, however, will vary from person to person. CBD may be incorporated alongside your dietary and lifestyle changes but should not take center stage to your weight loss journey.

While it is clear that CBD improves health in many ways, and has little or no side effects, evidence-based studies linking CBD directly with weight loss are currently inconclusive. Here’s a snapshot of what the most recent research has been revealing about CBD’s potential application to weight loss. In each case, human studies are further needed to confirm these findings.

  • CBD May Boost Metabolism
    A 2011 animal study injected rats with various daily doses of CBD over a two week period and observed that those administered with CBD experienced an overall reduction in body weight over the study period. Additionally, those with higher doses of CBD saw a more significant reduction in weight. This study proposes that CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors, which play a role in food intake.
  • CBD May Encourage Brown Fat Production
    A 2016 lab study proposes that CBD could play a role in promoting the conversion of white fat (important for the human body but causes chronic illness when present in excess) to brown fat (the ‘good’ fat associated with burning calories).
  • Cannabis Helps Sustain a “Balanced” Weight
    The statistics of a large scale 2014 study, using data from 50,000 individuals, revealed that generally, those who use cannabis products regularly tend to weigh less than individuals who do not consume cannabis. This study broadly looked at several cannabis compounds, not only CBD. Researchers here propose that cannabis can regulate metabolism, stimulating (if underweight) or suppressing appetite (if overweight) as well as maintaining balance for normal-weight individuals.

Though CBD has been praised for its range of health benefits, many think using CBD products will cause overeating. Also known as the “munchies,” this condition refers to the overwhelming hunger one experiences after smoking marijuana. While it may be exaggerated in mainstream media, it’s true that consuming marijuana products can cause a significant increase in appetite for many people.

But can the same be said for CBD?

As it turns out, the increased appetite that many people experience from consuming marijuana are not an effect of CBD. This confusion stems from CBD’s association with cannabis, its source. However, cannabis contains another cannabinoid known as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the real culprit behind those dreaded munchies. THC binds directly to the CB1 endocannabinoid receptor that occurs naturally within each of our endocannabinoid systems. When THC binds with this CB1 receptor, it produces that feeling of increased appetite that we all associate with marijuana consumption.

When using CBD products, results will vary from person to person based on genetics, environment, stress, trauma, health conditions, or the fact that people react differently to various CBD products. This doesn’t mean you should shy away, but rather play with building CBD into your lifestyle and see whether it can blend into your routine – or quite literally, into your morning smoothie!? Although widely studied, more research – especially with humans – is needed to understand the direct effects of CBD on weight maintenance. Today’s findings, although exciting, are inconsistent. Rather than putting all your faith in CBD, incorporate it as an ‘aid’ towards your healthy lifestyle. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised!

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