Is CBD the next big thing in weight loss? Even with very limited research, CBD has already been showing great potential as a therapeutic alternative for a number of conditions. Preliminary research has found that this cannabis compound may also have some effect on appetite and metabolism.
Read on to find out what science has to say.
How does CBD affect the body?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a type of phytocannabinoid found in Cannabis sativa; it is the second most active compound in marijuana and the primary compound in hemp.
CBD has been found to directly interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) — an extensive signalling system that helps regulate certain processes and maintain homeostasis. Appetite, mood, sleep, memory, pain, inflammation, immune function, hormone function, and neurologic function are just some of the processes that ECS is directly involved in.
There are a number of theories as to how CBD interacts with the ECS to produce a wide variety of health effects. CBD appears to affect the binding action between neurotransmitters and receptors, which may prolong the specific response triggered by the binding. CBD may also interact with other receptors and proteins outside the ECS.
The interactions between CBD and the ECS may explain CBD’s potential ability to relieve anxiety, pain, and inflammation; ease insomnia; reduce epileptic seizures; and promote calm and relaxation, among many others. While scientists, themselves, are still trying to understand the exact mechanism by which CBD affects different body processes, they do acknowledge that the compound may offer beneficial health effects.
CBD and Weight Loss
Preliminary research suggests that CBD may help promote weight loss by either reducing food intake and boosting metabolism or turning white fat to brown for energy.
A number of studies involving animals has found that CBD interacts with specific receptors, found in the lymphoid tissue and the brain, which are believed to be involved in appetite and metabolism.
A test tube study has also revealed that CBD may promote the production of brown fat by enhancing the expression of specific genes and proteins and by initiating the conversion of white fat into brown fat. White fat is the type of fat responsible for being overweight or obese; brown fat is existing fat responsible for heating up the body by burning calories. Browning of white fat may occur under certain conditions, and the aforementioned study suggests that CBD may promote this process which, in turn, can lead to weight loss.
There may be other ways that CBD can promote weight loss. It is well-known that weight gain can be caused by chronic anxiety, especially when it affects the appetite; insomnia or poor sleep, which can slow down metabolism; and even chronic pain, which can lead to reduced physical activity.
As CBD may help address these risk factors for weight gain, some affected individuals may also experience weight loss when their CBD intake does ease said conditions. For example, relief from anxiety can help curb stress-eating; getting regular, quality sleep can normalize metabolism; and relief from arthritic pain can lead to an improved ability to exercise.
Keep in mind that scientific evidence that backs the potential health effects of CBD is still severely lacking; study findings that suggest how CBD can help promote weight loss are too limited to be conclusive and relevant. But however limited the evidence is, it’s still showing great promise.
CBD is generally well-tolerated by most individuals, so it’s safe enough to try for weight-loss purposes. But it should also be noted that high concentrations of CBD have been shown to cause some side effects, including appetite and weight changes. Different people react differently to CBD — which means some may actually experience increased appetite and weight gain as side effects.
Choosing CBD Products
Based on available evidence, CBD may not be the best option for weight loss. But if you still want to give it a go, choosing the right CBD product is important.
The best option would be CBD oil, tincture, or capsule. These forms of CBD often offer the highest potencies and better bioavailability of CBD. Just stay away from flavored CBD products, as these usually contain sweeteners and other ingredients which might cancel out the potential weight-loss effect of CBD.
CBD edibles should also be avoided, particularly sugary ones such as gummies, hard candies, and chocolate.
Lastly, make sure the CBD product contains no more than 0.3% THC. THC in marijuana is known to produce the “munchies” in many individuals. Hemp-derived CBD may still contain trace amounts of THC, but not enough to cause its characteristic effects; or you can completely avoid THC by choosing either broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate.
Weight-loss strategies come in a wide variety of forms; some are well-established and promote long-term health, while others are too good to be true and probably are. CBD lies somewhere in between, but on the safer side. If you’re taking weight-loss supplements, it might be best to discontinue them before beginning your CBD intake.
You will have to “experiment” with different dosages and products until you find ones that produce desired results. This involves observing how your body responds to CBD, and other supplements may interact with CBD and affect the results in unknown ways.
There is limited evidence that shows CBD can be an effective weight-loss aid. At the same time, it’s safe enough to try for the purpose of losing weight; it might work better when combined with other weight-loss strategies, such as regular exercise and a low-calorie diet. CBD also offers other potential benefits, some of which have better scientific support — so there are definitely more pros than cons when it comes to CBD use.
Make sure you’re buying a good-quality CBD product; as much as possible, stick to products that do not contain additional ingredients, aside from CBD and its carrier oil. Verify that the product has zero or no more than 0.3% THC. If you’re also concerned about sustainability and living an organic lifestyle, there are plenty of organic and non-GMO CBD products in the market. Make sure you choose products sourced from locally-farmed hemp.