Cannabidiol or CBD – one of the cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant – is gaining immense popularity amongst natural health enthusiasts.
CBD has been found to have numerous health benefits like relieving pain, reducing anxiety, enhancing brain and heart health, and improving sleep (source).
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved CBD as an effective treatment compound for rare seizure cases and specific forms of epilepsy (source).
Despite the many health benefits, little is still understood about how CBD and weight loss.
This article explores current evidence on CBD and how it affects your weight.
Does CBD Really Promote Weight Loss?
Preliminary research shows that CBD improves many health aspects, including weight loss. Some of the potential effects that make it effective in weight loss are outlined below.
Reduces Appetite and Boosts Metabolism
Research indicates CBD affects weight through the interaction of CB1 and CBD2 receptors found in the brain and lymphoid tissue. The receptors play a vital role in food intake and body metabolism.
Results from a fortnight study on rats – injected with 1 and 2 mg of CBD – showed significant body weight reductions with the higher doses displaying the most distinct effects (source).
However, it is crucial to note that during the study, CBD was inoculated, not administered orally. Though such results seem promising, human studies remain inadequate and more research needs to be done.
Inhibits Food Intake
Cannabis is mostly associated with stimulated appetite and many users tend to feel hungry or get ‘the munchies’ after using it.
Research shows that cannabis compounds like THC cause hunger but CBD is not associated with the same. When THC stimulates CB1 receptors, Ghrelin – the hormone that induces appetite and hunger – is produced.
However, a 2018 study noted that CB1 ablation or inhibition can be beneficial in reducing food intake and body weight. The study also showed that stimulating CB2 receptors helps to limit inflammation and enhance anti-obesity effects.
Results from a 2012 animal study indicated that although cannabis extracts like cannabinol and cannabigerol induced appetitive behaviors, cannabidiol notably reduced overall food consumption in rats over the test period.
However, direct studies on the effect of the same on humans do not exist and more research should be done.
Promotes Production of Brown Fat Cells
The human body comprises two types of fat – white and brown fat cells. White fat cells – the most dominant, are used to supply & store energy, and to cushion & insulate internal body organs (source).
However, if your body accumulates excessive white fat cells, you become prone to chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes (source).
Brown fat cells help the body in generating heat and burning calories, which mitigates weight gain. Typically, you convert white fat to brown fat if you exercise, get enough sleep, and expose yourself to cold temperatures.
Interestingly, research finds that CBD can also help this process. A 2016 test-tube study showed that CBD aids in the browning of white cells and enhances the production of proteins and genes that induce brown fat production.
However, no human-related research exists to confirm these effects.
Mitigates the Risk of Metabolic Disorders
Increased induction and overactivation of CB receptors within fatty tissues significantly contribute to obesity and metabolic risks.
An animal study showed that increased CBD intake helps to reduce total cholesterol in rats by 25%. Moreover, CBDs’ antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties aid in decreasing blood sugar levels and promoting liver health, which can be beneficial in maintaining a healthy body weight (source).
Possible Risks and Considerations
Although preliminary study results on CBD and weight loss raise exciting possible connections, there are a few crucial things you should consider.
CBD or other cannabis compounds are neither effective treatments for obesity nor replacements for more effective solutions like a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
If you only add CBD to your weight loss plan – without maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly – you might not see the intended results.
Concisely, when using CBD for weight loss, consider working with a doctor and perform adequate research to prevent possible adverse effects.
CBD is increasingly becoming a popular cannabis derivative often associated with and marketed as a weight loss product.
Reliable studies show CBD boosts metabolism, suppresses appetite, and aids in weight loss, others indicate it increases appetite and food intake.
However, current research remains inconclusive and does not indicate clearly, the effects of CBD on weight loss. Comprehensive studies linking CBD to weight loss are animal-based and more human-based research should be done.
If you choose to include CBD in your weight loss program, consider supplementing it with more effective methods like exercise, dietary, and lifestyle changes.
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