Flexing its seemingly limitless potential as a catch-all provider of relief, CBD is now gaining some attention from the weight loss community.
But in a crowded industry filled with so many diet fads, pills, and failed solutions, it begs the question: is CBD really a possible solution for weight loss?
And the answer is: maybe. A better question might be, how can CBD help with weight loss?
We’re going to take a look at these questions and more to determine whether or not CBD for weight loss has legitimate potential or is just another fad.
Let’s dig right into the five different ways CBD might help with weight loss.
Mitochondria is the part of the cell that converts sugars, fats, and proteins into energy the cell can use. When mitochondria aren’t functioning optimally, the body has difficulty converting food into energy it can use.
Other bodily systems react to this deficiency and convert the food into fat to store it away for later use. As a result, we feel tired, fat, and gain weight.
What does this have to do with CBD and weight loss? CBD can increase the number and improve the activity of our mitochondria. As our bodies strive to achieve homeostasis, different systems work together to ensure we always have enough energy. If we have too little, we become weak, but if we have too much, we may develop other problems like fatty liver disease, diabetes, or heart disease.
The mitochondria play a crucial role in our metabolic system, as does our endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS regulates the mitochondria activity level inside the cell, helping them work harder when they aren’t keeping up and slowing things down when they are producing too much energy. In other words, the ECS helps us maintain metabolic balance (i.e., homeostasis).
CBD boosts the ECS’s ability to control the mitochondria. If we’re overweight, that means boosting mitochondria production and activity to convert more fats and sugars into energy that we can burn off. When we combine the efforts of CBD with regular exercise and a healthy diet, we can increase the rate at which we burn through our fat storage.
Studies have backed up the claim that CBD can influence weight loss through its ability to regulate the endocannabinoid system.
On a basic scientific level, here’s how we become overweight.
When we eat, we absorb the nutrients from our food through our gut and into the bloodstream. We feel a surge of energy when we consume energy-rich, high-sugar, and/or high-fat foods. This isn’t a problem as long as we burn this energy through exercise and a normally-functioning metabolism. The energy in and energy out ratio needs to balance.
If the ratio is imbalanced, that creates a problem. Overweight people take in more energy than they put out. This allows sugar and fat to build up in the bloodstream, which can lead to obesity and a myriad of associated health problems like heart disease, fatty liver disease, diabetes, and more.
The liver wants to protect our body and will convert most of the excess sugar into fat. This fat is then stored all around the body, where it won’t pose as much harm. The only way to reverse this process is to eat healthier and burn more energy, which is why diet and lifestyle changes are still king when it comes to weight loss.
However, anyone who’s tried to lose weight knows that our efforts can plateau. Shedding those last few pounds to reach our goal can seem nearly impossible. Our insulin levels are the culprit.
Insulin converts sugar into energy. After eating high-sugar foods for years, our insulin levels will gradually rise, a phenomenon called hyperinsulinemia. These insulin levels can remain high even after we make diet and lifestyle changes. And the bigger problem is — when insulin levels are high in the bloodstream, we can’t burn fat.
This is another area CBD may help.
A large study involving nearly 4,700 patients with metabolic disease found that CBD and marijuana reduced fasting insulin by 17 percent. This shows that CBD may lower insulin levels to help break through the plateau and drop those last few remaining pounds.
But this finding is not only significant for those at the end of their weight loss journey. CBD’s potential to stabilize insulin levels may help obese people bring their weight back to a healthier level. This might be the most valuable ability of CBD oil when it comes to long-term weight loss.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but a bigger appetite may lead to putting on more weight than you want. We teach ourselves to crave readily available food. If we don’t take strides to curb our appetite, our intake will far exceed our output, causing weight gain. Once we’ve begun this cycle, it’s a hard habit to break.
CBD may help us reduce our appetite and eat less.
While marijuana gives us the “munchies,” this is due to THC, not CBD. Marijuana stimulates the appetite, while CBD does the opposite and suppresses hunger. CBD helps curb our appetite by restoring our homeostasis, which controls our hunger levels.
When our energy stores are imbalanced, our brain tells us we need more food, and we feel hungry. But when we take CBD oil, homeostasis returns, and we feel content. This is how we consume fewer calories and, therefore, potentially lose weight.
Advocates of CBD for weight loss also say it can turn bad fat into good fat.
White fat, or “bad” fat, can increase the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. But brown “good” fat is fat we use to burn for energy. CBD helps us convert white fat into brown fat, which may help our body burn calories.
This is demonstrated by a 2016 study in which researchers found that CBD is highly influential in how our body interacts with fat. Not only can it convert white fat cells to brown, but CBD can also help the body break down fats more efficiently.
More studies are necessary, but the researchers say that CBD may be a promising therapy to prevent obesity.
A 2018 study notes a close link between obesity and metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Their research finds that overactivation of the cannabinoid receptors (specifically CB1) in our body’s fatty tissues may be partially responsible for the development of obesity and metabolic disorders.
CBD can potentially help as it blocks CB1 receptors. According to a Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research study, a CBD treatment reduced total cholesterol in obese rats by 25%. CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities also helped decrease blood sugar levels and increase liver health.
Human trials are needed, but this finding highlights the vast potential for CBD and weight loss.
Of course, for any weight loss treatment to work, you need to use it effectively. When it comes to CBD oil for weight loss, this means you need to use a high-quality full spectrum hemp extract CBD oil. This will work much better than a CBD isolate, and surely better than anything with a high amount of THC, which will stimulate your appetite.
Full-spectrum is best for weight loss because it takes advantage of the whole hemp plant, including terpenes that help CBD get absorbed by the intestinal tract, pass the blood-brain barrier, and/or slow the breakdown of CBD by the liver. This is a phenomenon known as the entourage effect.
Finding a reputable CBD oil is the first step, but once you do, you need to figure out the right dose. This will depend on numerous factors, including your weight, health history, and more.
You can use this guide to dosing CBD oil to help you figure out where to start and adjust as needed.
Also, keep in mind that weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. You will need to be consistent with your weight loss program, including a healthy diet and exercise. CBD should be viewed as a supplement to your program, not a cure in itself. It will generally take a couple of weeks of consistent daily CBD intake before you begin to notice any benefits with regard to weight loss. It takes time to condition your body to adjust your appetite and regulate your mitochondria levels.
Some experts do indeed recommend CBD for weight loss, and there is some scientific evidence to back up their claims. Although specific research on CBD and weight loss is evolving, CBD has also been shown to improve sleep patterns, minimize stress, reduce anxiety, and help manage chronic pain.
These are all factors that can influence weight gain, showing CBD can at the very least help indirectly.
As we mentioned above, maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise routine is the best thing you can do for weight loss. But CBD oil can be a good supplement to assist in your efforts, and help you break through that barrier to reach your goals.
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