EducationCan CBD help you lose weight?

Can CBD help you lose weight?

7 min read

Sam North

Can CBD help you lose weight?

In this article, we will dive deep into what the current science has to say about the potential of CBD as an aid for those looking to drop the pounds, and any possible side effects that should be taken into account when considering CBD for weight loss.

Contents

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of over one hundred cannabinoids isolated from medical cannabis so far. It is found in the second-highest concentrations in many strains (after THC), and in the previous decade or so it has been gaining attention for its potential therapeutic benefits.

Unlike THC, CBD is totally non-psychotropic – meaning it does not cause the 'high' associated with cannabis usage – but it does interact with the same system within the human body, known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

This vast regulatory system is responsible for many physiological processes, including regulating metabolism, hunger levels, mood stabilisation, and energy balance. Researchers believe that the ECS plays a large role in maintaining homeostasis, or balance, within the body.

Thanks to these interactions, CBD has been extensively studied in relation to its potential positive impact on a certain health conditions, from chronic pain to insomnia and anxiety. One of the newer areas of study has been exploring the potential for CBD to aid in weight loss.

Does CBD make you lose weight?

We briefly mentioned the endocannabinoid system (ECS) above, but let's break it down and have a closer look into the role it plays in weight management.

The ECS is composed of three components:

  • Endocannabinoids, neurotransmitters produced naturally by the body
  • Cannabinoid receptors, which are embedded in cell membranes throughout the brain and body and activate when cannabinoids interact with them
  • Enzymes, responsible for synthesising and then breaking down endocannabinoids after they have been used

Now, you may have noticed the first point there – endocannabinoids. These are endogenous cannabinoids produced by the body, but they are not the only cannabinoids that the ECS can react to. Phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced by cannabis, hemp, and other plants) also have the ability to interact with our ECS in much the same way, and with other regulatory systems within the human body.

So, it stands to reason that if CBD is known to interact with the ECS, it may be able to influence the processes that regulate metabolism and energy balance.

CBD is an interesting cannabinoid. While THC has been shown to bind strongly to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, researchers are still uncovering the full processes behind how CBD interacts with the body. So far, it has been shown to reduce the enzymatic breakdown of our own endocannabinoids, resulting in a higher concentration and of these neurotransmitters staying in circulation for longer. This results in stronger interactions between the endocannabinoids and the ECS receptors, which may offer a range of therapeutic benefits. 

It also engages with the serotonin receptor 5-HT1A, which has been tied to regulating appetite and mental health. CBD may also increase the production of certain proteins in the body that affect the metabolism of fatty acids and glucose, potentially leading to an increased rate of fat breakdown.

In a nutshell, CBD may influence the processes that control metabolism, energy balance, and hunger levels – all of which can influence weight loss.

Research studies on the influence CBD may have on weight loss

CBD and fat browning

The first study that stands out was published in 2016 and looks into the ability of CBD to turn white fat cells into brown fat cells.

White fat is the type of fat associated with health issues (such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes) when present in large amounts. Brown fat, on the other hand, is much more metabolically active and helps to increase energy expenditure within the body when it breaks down.

The study concludes, “CBD plays dual modulatory roles in the form of inducing the brown-like phenotype as well as promoting lipid metabolism. Thus, CBD may be explored as a potentially promising therapeutic agent for the prevention of obesity.”

CBD and appetite suppression

While most people link cannabis administration to an increase in hunger (the 'munchies'), the opposite may be true when CBD is present in higher percentages than THC.

A 2012 study looked at the effect of a range of cannabinoids on rat feeding patterns, with the results showing that CBD may reduce the desire for food and overall food intake. The study does also state that more “mechanistic and behavioural work examining possible anti-obesity effects of cannabidiol.” must be undertaken before any conclusive claims can be made.

CBD and the role it plays in reducing inflammation and increasing sleep

While both inflammation and sleep are not directly tied to metabolism and fat breakdown, they can both have an indirect influence on weight loss.

Chronic inflammation is known to increase the risk of metabolic issues such as obesity and diabetes, while poor sleep has also been associated with an increase in body fat percentages. CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation, with some studies showing it to be as, or potentially more effective than, pharmaceutical medications.

CBD may also help to regulate sleep patterns, as both the effects of CBD on the endocannabinoid system and its ability to reduce anxiety can help to improve overall sleep quality.

Potential side effects of CBD 

Like all therapeutic agents, CBD should be used with care. The most commonly reported side effects of CBD are:

  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • low blood pressure
  • dizziness
  • diarrhoea
  • dry mouth

It can also have a negative impact on some conventional pharmaceuticals, so the need to always consult with a doctor that is registered to prescribe medicinal cannabis or CBD products is vital before beginning CBD therapy.

Choosing the right CBD product

CBD comes in a vast array of different forms, from oils, tinctures, creams, balms, high CBD flowers, and vapes. When it comes to weight loss, CBD oil is more likely to be the most effective form, although there isn’t much research to back this up yet.

It is also important to select a CBD product that has been tested to ensure its safety, potency levels, and purity. Quality CBD products should have detailed lab reports that can be easily accessed, so consumers know exactly what they are putting into their bodies, and this is not always the case in the current market.

Here at Releaf, we are committed to providing our customers with the highest quality CBD products available, all of which have been third-party tested and certified. We also provide a comprehensive analysis of all the products offered through our subscription service, and have qualified experts on hand to help guide you through the process of choosing the right CBD product for your individual needs.

Conclusion

Although the need for more research into whether CBD is an effective weight loss tool is, now more than ever, needed – the preliminary results certainly look to be extremely promising. “Will I lose weight with CBD oil?” is a question that more and more people are asking, and the answer may well be yes.

However, as with any dietary changes or lifestyle modifications, it is imperative to always consult with a healthcare professional before embarking on any new regimen.

At Releaf, we believe that access to medical cannabis is important. That's why we offer tailored monthly packages based on your cannabis prescription, specialist consultations for medical cannabis, and a unique medical cannabis card for protection. 

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It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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Authors

Sam North, a seasoned writer with over five years' experience and expertise in medicinal cannabis, brings clarity to complex concepts, focusing on education and informed use.

Our articles are written by experts and reviewed by medical professionals or compliance specialists. Adhering to stringent sourcing guidelines, we reference peer-reviewed studies and scholarly research. View our editorial policy.

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