In recent times, CBD has become widely used as a food supplement because many believe it to host a wide variety of health and wellness benefits. Amongst other potential uses, many believe that we could use CBD to support weight loss. So, could CBD weight loss products be the way forward? If so, how would they work?
How Does CBD Help With Weight Loss?
There are a couple of different theories about how CBD weight loss works, many of them are related to how CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system.
Biologists discovered the endocannabinoid system in the early 1990s, and they believe that it is a cell-signalling system. Although more research is needed to fully understand the system, it is believed to play a vital role in maintaining homeostasis.
The term homeostasis simply refers to the way that our bodies self-regulate. This means maintaining metabolism, temperature, hormone levels, breathing rate, blood sugar levels, and the storage and transportation of nutrients. In turn, biologists believe that our endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating moods, sleep, appetite and stimulating areas of the body involved with metabolism.
But how does this relate to CBD oil weight loss theories? Well, it is believed that CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, activating or deactivating them. One can find these receptors, in the brain, central nervous system, and within the fatty tissues around the body.
CBD does not activate the CB receptors directly, but it does stimulate the bodies natural cannabinoids to either active or deactivate the receptors. Therefore, they have the potential to influence metabolic processes, according to CBD weight loss theories.
CBD And Metabolism
Many of us will recall from childhood science classes that the mitochondria are the part of the cell that produces energy, commonly referred to as the powerhouse of the cell. They convert sugars, proteins, and fats into energy, thus giving our cells the fuel to function correctly.
When nutrients aren’t burned to produce energy, it is stored in our body as fats. Mitochondrial defects or imbalances impact the way that we burn energy, and can therefore affect our ability to lose weight.
Research shows, that CBD can help to regulate mitochondrial activity in the cells. By doing this, one ensures a healthy metabolism.
A good or high metabolism simply means that the mitochondria burn nutrients quickly and efficiently to produce energy, rather than storing them as fat in the body. Therefore, by supporting a good metabolism, you should be able to lose weight more easily.
It is well-known that tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, the other active compound in hemp, works as an appetite stimulant. CBD, unlike its cousin, works as a potential appetite suppressant.
In 2012, a two-week study was conducted to investigate this CBD weight-loss claim. During the test, researchers administered doses of 1.1 mg and 2.3 mg per pound of bodyweight to test rats. Both groups of rats showed significant reductions in body weight, the group that received the higher dose has the most significant loss.
The study showed that the rats that had received doses of CBD consumed less food and therefore put on less weight. It is worth noting that the rats were injected with CBD, rather than taking it orally, and this may affect the results.
To investigate this CBD weight-loss theory further, another study was conducted to compare the effects of CBD on weight loss, in comparison to other cannabinoids. Researchers found that CBD led to a more significant reduction in food consumption when compared with groups that ingested cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabinol (CBN).
Although these findings support CBD weight-loss theories, more research is needed. Neither of the abovementioned studies involved human participants.
Fat is a macronutrient that has many uses in the body. There are two different types of fats, and they’re not all bad, contrary to popular belief.
White fat stores and supplies our bodies with energy, and it is more common in the body. We store white fat throughout our bodies but particularly around our vital organs, as a way of protecting them. Storing large amounts of white fat was a mechanism that we developed in the early days of our evolution. We used it to keep us from starving when food was scarce.
Some levels of white fat are needed to keep us safe and warm, but in excess, it can be harmful to our health. White fat is associated with chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease when accumulated in excess.
The body stores brown fat and burns it to generate heat and energy. The body easily burns brown fat. Thus, it is the first fat to be burned to produce energy when exercising. Because of this, it is harder to shed weight that has been stored as white fat, rather than brown fat.
But how does this relate to CBD weight-loss theories? According to a study published in 2016, CBD can actually help to convert white fat to brown fat. Meaning that the body can burn it more easily, thus helping to shed more stubborn weight.
It is worth noting that this particular study was a test-tube study, meaning there were no animal or human participants. Although the findings of this study technically support this particular CBD weight loss theory, experts need more information before human trials can begin.
Adequate amounts of sleep, exercising, and exposure to cold temperatures also promote the conversion of white fat to brown fat.
The liver plays a vital role in the human body; not only does it remove toxins from our bodies, but it stores excess glucose as glycogen. When the body needs energy again, the liver breaks down the glycogen to glucose. The body then transports it to the cells via the bloodstream.
Insulin has many functions, but the main function is to get the sugar from the bloodstream to our cells. Therefore, when the sugar levels in our blood rise, the pancreas produces more insulin and thus, insulin levels rise too.
Insulin has another function though. It also works to promote the storage of fat and to block the release of fat from storage. High insulin levels mean it is very difficult to burn fat and thus lose weight.
According to some CBD weight-loss theories, we could potentially use CBD to stabilise insulin levels. In a 2006 study, CBD was proven to lower instances of diabetes in non-diabetic mice.
Although the results are promising, it is worth noting that this study was a preclinical trial. Therefore, it only involved rodent participants. We will need more human trials and concrete evidence before we can use CBD to manage insulin levels in the human body.
Can CBD Cause Weight Gain?
During a 2015 study to investigate the effects of CBD on children with epilepsy, 117 parents were asked if they noticed any changes in their children’s appetites. Interestingly, 20% of parents reported that CBD oil significantly increased their children's appetites.
However, you should note that this study examined the efficacy of CBD as a treatment for epilepsy symptoms. It was not to assess the effects of CBD on appetite.
It seems that studies show mixed results on the effects of CBD on appetite. In a recent survey, 6.35% of regular CBD users reported an increase in appetite, as a result of taking CBD. Experts need to conduct more research to understand the full effects of CBD on appetite, as genetics and the type of product used may impact the results.
Conclusion: Is CBD Good for Weight Loss?
It is early days when it comes to researching the potential benefits of hemp oil for weight loss. We need more research before we have concrete evidence to back up our CBD weight loss theories. But it certainly looks promising.
As of yet, studies investigating the potential use of CBD for weight loss only involved animals. Researchers need to conduct clinical trials, involving human participants before we see CBD weight loss products hitting our shelves.
It is worth mentioning that adding CBD products to your weight loss plan, without also adjusting diet and exercise, is unlikely to yield significant results. Integrating CBD supplements into a balanced diet, alongside regular exercise, is far more likely to help you manage your weight.
If you liked reading this, be sure to check our other blog on: The ultimate CBD Guide