CBD, a chemical derived from plants, can actually play a helpful role in weight loss. Many people don’t know that CBD can be a valuable addition to the diets of people struggling to lose weight. In this guide, we will cover how CBD helps with weight loss and the scientific evidence that supports its potential for weight management.
How does CBD work for weight management
Cutting extra weight is not easy. The temptation of overeating while trying to shed a few pounds is a common dilemma that people face. This has led to many different products and supplements that claim to help with weight loss or appetite suppression. Sadly, many of these other supplements don’t work¹ and are not supported by any science or testing.
The evidence on CBD for weight loss
Fortunately, there is early scientific evidence that using CBD is different, it can actually help with the weight loss process. CBD interacts with the body’s natural endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is considered one of the most important regulatory systems in the body. Scientific research is beginning to suggest that the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in weight management.
Researchers have recently become interested in CBD for many reasons, among them is its potential role in weight loss. Specifically, CBD indirectly activates the endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 & CB2) to inhibit other chemicals from binding to the receptors. Research² shows that this effect of CBD may help people lose weight through three important methods: suppressing appetite, increasing metabolism, and moderating how the body stores fat.
Transforming How The body Stores Fat
The first method that CBD helps with weight loss is by transforming how the body stores fat. Fat is generally stored in the body as three types of adipose tissue: white, beige and brown. White adipocytes are involved in fat storage, brown adipocytes are involved in using calories for energy and thermogenesis, and beige adipocytes are in a transitional state that can become either white or brown depending on the body’s needs for energy expenditure. A 2018 study² concluded that cannabinoid receptors signal that the body needs to transform white adipose tissue into healthier beige or brown adipose tissue. Another study states³ that the endocannabinoid system participates in the control of accumulation of energy as fat. This means that when you consume CBD it has the potential to act on the endocannabinoid receptors and signal to the body to transition bad white fat tissues to become beige or brown fatty tissue that is easier to burn.
The second manner in which CBD provides a potential effect on weight management is through increasing metabolism. Metabolism is a natural process that converts food into the energy needed by the body. The human body has many mechanisms to help regulate the rate at energy is converted. One of those regulatory mechanisms is through the CB1 receptor. Research has identified⁴ that the endocannabinoid CB1 receptor can be influenced to improve the metabolic profile to produce weight loss. A 2016 study⁵ on CBD also concluded, “data suggests that CBD plays a role in promoting lipid metabolism”. Additional evidence from studies⁶ on human and animal models shows that the endocannabinoid system helps maintain healthy energy levels through glucose and lipoprotein metabolism. Therefore, CBD helps to improve metabolism so that you are able to lose weight because your body is using the calories from your diet for energy rather than storing it as fat.
In addition to CBD’s role in transforming how the body stores fat and metabolism rate, CBD also plays a role in reducing appetite. The endocannabinoid system receptors help transmit signals to the brain on hunger and fullness. While additional isolated research is needed to understand how CBD helps moderate appetite, its potential has been demonstrated as an effect in clinical studies. A 2018 study² demonstrated “Cannabinoid receptors (CB) regulate thermogenesis, food intake, and inflammation. CB1 ablation or inhibition helps reducing body weight and food intake. Stimulation of CB2 limits inflammation and promotes anti-obesity effects by reducing food intake and weight gain.”
Additional clinical studies⁷ on CBD for various forms of epilepsy have shown that 16-19% of patients in large scale trials have reported reduced appetite. While this was not the direct intention of these studies, this noticeable effect has spurred additional research on appetite suppression. Studies⁸ using animal models have provided further evidence for this potential effect.
Final thoughts on CBD for Weight Management
CBD isn’t a miracle new pill that helps you lose 50 pounds overnight but, it can be an effective addition to your weight loss routine along with consistent exercise/sports and eating healthy.
More research is still needed to understand the full effects of CBD on weight loss. There is promising evidence for CBD impacting how the body stores fat, increases metabolism and reduces appetite. While the majority of CBD’s current weight management research focused on obese individuals and other conditions, given the manners in which CBD influences and regulates weight the effects would likely translate to other individuals. CBD is certainly worth considering if you are struggling to lose weight.