Over the past several years CBD has become a popular solution for a variety of health claims such as anxiety, sleep, mood, and to reduce pain. But can you use CBD for weight loss? Here’s what the science says.
What is CBD
CBD, or cannabidiol, is an oil extracted from cannabis and plants. The claim to fame for CBD is that it has the potential to improve a variety of health conditions and symptoms with minimal side effects and no psychoactive high.
CBD is not a new product by any means. It was discovered as a useful part of the cannabis plant back in 1940, but intensive research has only just begun. Cannabis products have become more mainstream and popular as they’ve become legal in several states. This popularity has resulted in more research dollars to confirm or debunk its health claims.
Can CBD Help You Lose weight?
Within each of our bodies is an extensive and robust endocannabinoid system. This system consists of endocannabinoids and their receptors in every organ and system in our body. Given how much cannabis and its compounds can influence our health, it’s no surprise weight loss is a potential health claim. Let’s dig in.
CBD may increase fat burning
The way CBD interacts with our adipocytes (fat cells) in our bodies could potentially lead to fat loss, and therefore weight loss. In a 2011 study, rats were fed a high fat diet and given various doses of CBD. At higher doses, the CBD treatment was found to significantly reduce weight gain in the rats.
Other animal studies have shown conflicting results in the ability of CBD to decrease overall weight and food intake. With different methods and doses being used in the animal studies, more research is needed.
Animal studies can help us to identify exact mechanisms that CBD could help with weight loss, but they don’t tell the whole story. As humans, a lot more than biologic sequences impact our food choices and therefore our weight.
Indirectly, CBD could help with weight loss by improving other symptoms that can lead to weight gain.
CBD, Sleep, and Weight loss
While the research is still new, studies have found evidence that CBD and cannabis can improve sleep patterns in people who suffer from insomnia. Inadequate sleep can lead to increased hunger and trouble feeling and honoring fullness.
There is also evidence that lack of sleep is related to an increase in body weight. An analysis of studies with over 600,000 adults found an increased risk of obesity in adults who sleep less than 5 hours per night. This could be related to disruption in hormones, an altered circadian rhythm, or even an increased opportunity to eat.
If CBD can help you get a better night’s sleep then it may, in turn, lead to weight loss.
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CBD, Chronic Stress, and Weight Loss
Depression and anxiety can lead to weight gain in multiple ways. Biologically, chronic stress induces an excess amount of the hormone cortisol to be released in your body. While cortisol is necessary for several body functions, too much can lead to weight gain. This occurs by promoting fat accumulation. Cortisol also acts as a very effective appetite stimulant, leading to increased hunger and overeating.
Depression and increased stress has also been found to lower your body’s metabolism. This means you’re burning less energy and storing more as body fat. By finding ways to decrease stress, anxiety and depression, you’ll increase your body’s ability to burn energy to lose or maintain weight.
One of the frequently studied health benefits of CBD is its ability to improve anxiety and its antidepressant effect. CBD could have an indirect effect on helping to lose weight through modulating anxiety and depression and its effects on the body.
So, Should You Take CBD for Weight Loss?
There is still so much unknown about the exact way CBD affects body weight. Luckily, research is continuously being done on the health benefits and mechanisms of CBD and cannabis. If you are trying to lose weight and are struggling with sleep, anxiety, depression, or excess stress, then CBD could indirectly help you to lose weight.
Kelsey is a Registered Dietitian, freelance writer, and plant focused food blogger. She’s passionate about making plant focused eating accessible, fun, and delicious. In addition to geeking out over nutrition science, Kelsey is an herbal enthusiast and loves to experiment with homemade and natural alternatives in the home and spending time with her two small kiddos and husband.