Can CBD Help With Weight Loss?

Losing weight is hard. It is also a personal journey. For some, it may involve limiting alcohol intake. For others, it’s about resisting strong sugar cravings.

Many of us have increasingly busy lives, and it’s often easier to reach for unhealthy foods. Food can provide comfort, and after a long day of work or caring for children, finding a way to unwind can be important. For some, that involves smoking a joint, which inevitably leads to the munchies!

Recently, a new fat-burning ingredient has been causing a stir in the world of health supplements – CBD. Can CBD help you to lose weight?

The research is incredibly promising, although studies are still in their infancy.

The Endocannabinoid System and Metabolism
The reason why CBD can have such far-reaching health impacts is because of the endocannabinoid system. Named after the plant that led to its discovery, the ECS is a natural part of our physiologies, and it is what helps cannabinoids such as CBD or THC interact with our bodies.

We now know that the ECS is directly connected to energy storage and the transportation of nutrients. As a result, it helps to regulate everything from temperature and inflammation to mood and sleep. The endocannabinoid system has even been shown to stimulate parts of the body involved with our metabolisms, such as the pancreas and gastrointestinal tract. (1)

The endocannabinoid system comprises metabolic enzymes that stimulate different parts of the body, including the brain and nervous system, and major organs such as the skin and lungs. It does this primarily via two compounds—anandamide and 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol), which interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the body. (2) Cannabinoids like CBD and THC, which are found in the cannabis plant, also interact with these receptors, enabling them to boost metabolism and help weight loss.

CBD For Weight Loss: What’s the Connection?
Despite the fact that marijuana causes people to snack, no connection has been found between marijuana use and obesity. In fact, studies have shown the opposite; it appears that regular cannabis users are less likely to experience weight gain or be obese.

The terms cannabis and marijuana are used interchangeably; however, they are not the same thing. Cannabis is the name of the plant, and marijuana is the name for the psychoactive buds it produces. The cannabis plant is made up of hundreds of cannabinoid compounds, but the key psychoactive compound in marijuana is THC. THC is generally what drug tests look for and is associated with the munchies and feeling ‘high.’

But when it comes to weight loss, the important player is CBD.

Effects of CBD on Metabolism

So how exactly does CBD aid weight loss? Here are the four key ways CBD can affect our metabolisms:

Mitochondrial Function
Mitochondria is the source of energy within a cell, its powerhouse.

Mitochondria convert fats, sugars, and proteins into the energy that sustains our bodies. Imbalances can negatively affect how we burn energy and make it harder to reduce our body weight. Fixing those imbalances can dramatically improve metabolic health and kick things back into action.

CBD has the incredible ability to regulate the mitochondrial activity, helping us to secure metabolic balance or homeostasis. (3) When our cells are functioning optimally, losing fat becomes easier.

Fat Browning
Some of us automatically think of fat as a bad thing, but that isn’t the case. There are two forms of fat cells in the body, white fat cells, which are often referred to as ‘bad fat,’ and brown fat cells, or ‘good fat.’

White fat is predominant. We developed it to keep us from starving when we had to hunt for food. White fat supplies our body with backup energy when food supply is low and cushions our organs for extreme scenarios that we are unlikely to face in our modern lives. Having evolved from a different time, too much can mess with our metabolism and can cause a wide range of health ailments. On the other hand, brown fat actually generates heat and is, therefore, more efficient at burning calories.

A study published in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry found that CBD can convert white fat into brown fat. (4) Brown fat cells have high levels of mitochondria and are easier to burn away.

Insulin Regulation
The liver helps to keep your body safe by removing toxins and converting excess sugars into insulin. These sugars come from what we put into our bodies, which are then sent to the pancreas, which passes it to the cells.

When your insulin levels are irregular, which can happen when you eat sugary food such as chocolate or even fruit, it can overload the liver and pancreas. This throws the body out of whack, and when there is too much insulin in the bloodstream, our bodies are then unable to burn fat, which makes it much harder to drop the pounds.

CBD may help to stabilize insulin levels, helping to kickstart the body into burning fat.

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers incorporated data from 4,657 patients. They found that regular marijuana users had 16% lower fasting insulin levels, 17% lower levels of insulin resistance, and a smaller waist circumference. (5)

Appetite Suppression
Marijuana is actually an appetite stimulant, which is why stoners experience munchies. Doctors even prescribe marijuana to chemotherapy patients whose appetites have been affected. However, the chemical responsible for this is THC.

THC makes you hungry, but what about CBD? CBD is actually an appetite suppressant, and when it is isolated, you will not experience increased hunger and may be able to reduce food intake with ease. Studies have shown that CBD reduces food intake and works by regulating and blocking CB1 receptors. (6)

Sleep and Mood
CBD may indirectly aid weight loss by reducing cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and inflammation and improving sleep and daytime energy levels. (7) (8)

When you sleep better and experience less stress, you are more likely to maintain good habits.

Does CBD Help You Lose Weight?
There is no one sizer-fits-all approach to fat loss, and research into CBD is still relatively new. The best way to find out if CBD can help you to lose fat is to find a high-quality and potent supplement, such as ShredCBD, and pay attention to changes in your energy levels, sleep, appetite, and any fat loss.

Neither is CBD a stand-alone solution. In order to see the weight loss, you must eat fewer calories than you burn, and there is no magic pill to negate that fact. But when paired with a good diet, CBD could help you shift that stubborn fat.

Does Smoking Weed Promote Weight Loss?
It is rare that the simple act of smoking weed will help you lose weight. However, it can help with some underlying factors related to obesity, such as improving sleep and lowering stress. CBD products can also bring these benefits without the increased appetite.

Why Does Cannabis Make You Hungry?
The feeling of craving bad food when your high is because of THC. Research is still in its infancy. However, it may be because THC increases the pleasure we get from certain things. If there is chocolate in the cupboard, it will taste even better if you’re high than it will normally. One way to resolve this is to keep healthier snacks to hand for when the munchies hit.

The Controversy Behind CBD and Weight Loss
While there are many potential advantages to using CBD for weight loss, there is also some controversy.

The most prevalent issue is that research is still in its infancy and most studies around CBD and weight loss are animal studies. We need more clinical trials in humans before we can be 100% confident about the effects of CBD products such as CBD oils and pills.

Cannabis and Weight Loss: The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that there is little evidence that smoking weed can help weight loss. Moreover, taking a CBD supplement without any additional weight loss plan such as a healthy diet and exercise won’t do much good either.

However, adding a high-quality CBD supplement to a healthy eating plan and regular exercise could be very effective, thanks to its support of the ECS. At the very least, there is no reason that CBD will make you gain weight. As it’s natural and very safe to use, there is no reason not to incorporate it, especially considering its numerous other benefits.



References:
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Lu HC, Mackie K. An Introduction to the Endogenous Cannabinoid System. Biol Psychiatry. 2016;79(7):516-525. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.07.028
Ryan D, Drysdale AJ, Lafourcade C, Pertwee RG, Platt B. Cannabidiol targets mitochondria to regulate intracellular Ca2+ levels. J Neurosci. 2009;29(7):2053-2063. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4212-08.2009
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Penner EA, Buettner H, Mittleman MA. The impact of marijuana use on glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance among US adults. Am J Med. 2013;126(7):583-589. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.03.002
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Murillo-Rodr*guez E, Millán-Aldaco D, Palomero-Rivero M, Mechoulam R, Drucker-Col*n R. Cannabidiol, a constituent of Cannabis sativa, modulates sleep in rats. FEBS Lett. 2006;580(18):4337-4345. doi:10.1016/j.febslet.2006.04.102