Obesity is a significant issue in the United States and throughout the world, with the global percentage of overweight adults nearly tripling from 1975 to 2016, a period of just three decades. Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight is therefore a top priority for many, which explains the overwhelming financial success of the weight loss industry. Does CBD have a place in the weight loss industry?
CBD and Weight Loss
CBD, the non-intoxicating constituent of cannabis, is already known to have several therapeutic properties, and increasing evidence suggests that it could possibly play a key role in promoting weight loss. In fact, many people have reported that they use CBD for this very reason, and some CBD products claim to be effective weight loss supplements, but is this really the case?
While CBD has potential to assist in a weight loss regimen, there are still some reservations to be had in this regard. It’s safe to say that CBD is not a miracle cure for weight loss, but it could certainly be a useful supplement for those looking to shed pounds and stay healthy. Keep reading to find out how CBD can affect weight loss.
The Endocannabinoid System’s Role in Weight Loss
The endocannabinoid system has a central role in regulating body weight, energy consumption, and appetite, all of which constitute a process known as “energy homeostasis”. Inhibiting CB1 and CB2 receptors has shown to decrease body weight by suppressing the appetite and lowering body fat mass, while activating them has the opposite effect.
Since CBD is a potential antagonist (inhibitor) of CB1 and CB2 receptors, its use could possibly sway the brain into a state of energy expenditure instead of intake. According to one study, CBD significantly reduced the amount of food consumed by rats, which consequently reduced body mass. The ECS is a viable therapeutic target because it influences both food intake and energy expenditure, both of which must be altered in order for weight loss to occur.
In addition, although it is not totally clear why, habitual marijuana users tend to have a lower average BMI (body mass index) compared to nonusers, and are less likely to be obese or overweight. This is somewhat surprising given that marijuana is known to stimulate appetite. While these results are not conclusive, they do suggest that something about marijuana and its constituents (particularly the cannabinoids) could contribute to maintaining a healthy weight.
CBD’s Influence on Fat Cells
When discussing weight loss, there is an important distinction to be made between white fat cells and brown fat cells. White fat cells store excess calories, and commonly accumulates on the hips, stomach, and thighs. Having a lot of white fat cells on the body is generally considered to be unhealthy. On the other hand, brown fat cells actually burn energy instead of storing it, and play a vital role in weight loss. Brown fat cells have a very high concentration of mitochondria, which allows them to turn energy directly into heat.
Evidence suggests that white fat is converted to brown fat (“fat browning”) through exercise, healthy sleep habits, and cold temperatures. CBD also comes into play by encouraging the conversion of “unhealthy” white fat cells into healthy brown fat cells. One study found that CBD elevates the number of genes and proteins responsible for producing brown fat, which in turn increases overall energy expenditure.
CBD Won’t Fix Unhealthy Eating Habits
Just like any other dieting supplement, using CBD alone does not guarantee weight loss. As mentioned before, weight loss only occurs when one’s energy intake is lower than their energy expenditure. CBD use might increase energy expenditure by encouraging fat cell browning, and decrease energy intake by suppressing appetite, but this means nothing if one’s lifestyle is not adjusted accordingly.
Continuing to eat unhealthy foods and maintaining an unbalanced diet will ruin any potential weight loss effects that CBD may provide. However, when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and a good amount of exercise, CBD shows promise in influencing weight loss.
What to Look For in a Good CBD Oil
If you are considering using CBD to help with weight loss, it is extremely important to select a high quality product first. Some CBD oil products are downright scams, and these will typically contain paltry amounts of low-quality CBD, as well as many other harmful additives. Not only will this not provide enough CBD to produce a noticeable effect, it could also be potentially damaging to your health.
To ensure you get a good CBD product, carefully check that the labeling and/or product information is clearly outlined, confirm that the product has been tested and verified by a third party lab, and make sure the supplier of the hemp is listed and is a trustworthy and reputable source.