CBD and Weight Loss: Does it Really Work?
With the rise in popularity of CBD oil, many different ways to use it are being discovered by pioneers who have taken to exploring the multi-faceted benefits of this natural remedy. For far too long, cannabis was demonized and thought to only be fit for the couch-ridden stoner surrounded by snacks and failed dreams.
High on the list of things cannabis wasn’t “good” for was certainly weight loss. The munchie attacks and inability to stop eating were some of the most common issues with people who liked the effects of cannabis, but not those side effects. Surprisingly, now that there has been more and more research done on CBD alone, scientists have found that it can help with lower body weight and reduced BMI.
If this has spiked your interest in CBD you’re not alone! But what is CBD and how does it benefit the body?
CBD (cannabidiol) is an active chemical compound found in the marijuana plant and industrial hemp plant called a cannabinoid. It is one of the most dominant of over 100 cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are a diverse class of chemical compounds that occur naturally in the body (endocannabinoids) and in several plants including cannabis.
All cannabinoids behave differently, but CBD is quite unique in that it doesn’t bond directly with the cannabinoid receptors. This is when the body is encouraged to produce endocannabinoids. This natural production of endocannabinoids is much better for the body as the production is native.
CBD Oil and Weight Loss
It is the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in particular that was identified as having a direct link to obesity and weight loss. The endocannabinoid system is a biological network located throughout the body that regulates various physiological functions, including sleep, appetite, mood, and inflammation. The prefix “endo-” is short for “endogenous,” meaning that the endocannabinoid system is comprised of endogenous, or naturally occurring, cannabinoid receptor cells throughout the body.
Hence, when you consume hemp, the plant’s chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, activate the receptors throughout your endocannabinoid system. These receptors can engage with both phytocannabinoids, compounds that occur in the hemp plant, and endocannabinoids, compounds that occur naturally in the human body. Anandamide, for instance, is an endocannabinoid that the body produces. Also known as the “bliss molecule,” anandamide plays a vital role in functions such as pleasure, motivation, and appetite.
Because the ECS is focused on restoring and maintaining homeostasis, it is believed that CBD oil will assist the ECS in normal functionality. There is a range of “normal” activity in all body systems. When the balance is compromised, towards over-activity or under-activity, the body works to compensate for the imbalance and that is when dysfunction can set in.
Many studies report that in the cases of obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, there is clear evidence of endocannabinoid system hyperactivity.
When paired with a healthy diet and regular exercise, CBD oil helps to restore balance to the ECS, further supporting a healthy weight, which can also include weight loss as well as keeping the weight off. When the body doesn’t have to work as hard to restore balance to a system like the ECS, then there is more energy to operate smoothly and efficiently.
An article in Medical News Today stated: “Usually, CB1 receptors exist mainly in the brain and central nervous system and are almost nonexistent in the rest of the body. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, exist throughout the body. In people with obesity, however, CB1 receptors become more widespread, especially in fatty tissue. Because of this, researchers believe that there may be a link between the activation of the CB1 receptors and obesity.”
Through multiple recent and past studies, CBD oil is being claimed to work in the following ways that may help to reduce weight gain and promote weight loss. Please note that these are claims based on multiple research studies, mostly in animal subjects. Until more research is done in human studies, it is difficult to say exactly how CBD works in the body.
- Reduce Appetite:
A study from 2012 found that CBD oil exposure in the body of rats helped to reduce appetite. Cannabis has long been associated with an increased appetite and the munchies, but CBD oil on its own affects the body differently. While this study was only done in rats, it’s the CB1 and CB2 receptors that scientists were looking at.
- Turn Bad Fat into Good Fat:
A 2016 study helps back up this claim of CBD turning bad fat into good fat. CBD stimulated the body to break down brown fat more easily while also converting white fat to brown fat cells. White fat cells are seen as the “bad” fat and when they can be either broken down or converted, that is a step in the right direction to assist with weight loss and helping in cases of obesity.
- Burn Fat:
It is thought that once the white fat is converted to brown fat, that those “brown” cells will work harder to burn off and turn into heat. Brown fat cells are seen as a more active form of fat, making the conversion from white to brown in a direction that would be more capable of burning fat.
- Reduce Appetite:
- Reduce the Risk of Metabolic Disorders:
Because CBD works to bring homeostasis to body systems through the endocannabinoid system, it is thought that this can also work to reduce the risk of metabolic disorders. When the body is in balance, it is much harder for it to fall out of balance with the assistance of CBD. Overactive CB receptors are the culprit for these disorders, and CBD works to block the CB1 receptors meaning it might also work to reduce the risk of metabolic disorders and there for diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.
- Reduce the Risk of Metabolic Disorders:
The Bottom Line
While these studies are still very much in their early stages, and much of these are still seems as claims until more research is able to be done on humans, there’s a lot we can glean from the research that has been done. Overall, this research shows great promise in developing new therapies.
A healthy diet with plenty of exercise paired with CBD consumption just might be the way to help many change their lives and their health for the better. The claims made are still in review in many laboratories around the world and in the coming years, we will surely know more.