In order to have optimal health and avoid complications like heart stroke and diabetes, it is important to maintain a healthy weight. Achieving such can be difficult, however, especially in a world that moves so fast, forcing us to resort to fried, greasy foods to save time and energy. With busy schedules and the pressures of modern day living, sticking to an effective exercise routine is also difficult. For these reasons, more and more people are starting to look for natural remedies to help them achieve their optimal weight, one being CBD.
Countless of studies have been carried out to understand the connection between CBD and weight. In one such study, conducted by University Laval in Canada, 786 members of the Innuit community were studied. The group was chosen for their high incidence of cannabis use. Published in the journal “Obesity”, the study showed that the cannabis users had a lower body fat percentage and BMI than non-users.
Judging from numerous studies revealing CBD to decrease BMI and weight, these results are likely caused by the CBD in the cannabis. This is achieved via cannabidiol interaction with the endocannabinoid system. CBD aids in the regulation of energy and calorie balance, as well as carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
CBD Effect on Fat
Any treatment targeted at fighting obesity must increase energy expenditure, reduce energy consumption, or have a balance of both. Physical exercise and low-calorie diets are the methods most often used. However, in terms of the entire population, the results are not as successful as they need to be. Because of this, health practitioners and researchers are looking for alternatives. One such avenue that is being investigated involves enhancing the expenditure of fat tissues through ‘browning’.
This refers to the conversion of white-colored adipose tissue (WAT) that stores energy, into brown or beige adipose tissue (BAT) that burns energy. When brites (cells that generate heat) develop in the WAT, they essentially convert it into the BAT. BAT has a brownish color because it is packed with mitochondria (energy cells), that are rich in iron. Since this information was gathered, researchers have been trying to find drugs that can develop brites inside WAT, and also activate BAT. A recent study, published in the Scientific Journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, presents evidence that CBD could be a viable candidate.
The authors of the study focused on the effects of CBD on adipose tissue. Different amounts of CBD were given to in vitro mouse WAT cells still developing. Unlike the controls, CBD stimulated the conversion of WAT to BAT, and also activating BAT proteins and genes. What’s more, the highest CBD dose administered did not cause any noticeable damage to the cells. The researchers then looked for signs that CBD could further improve the metabolism of WAT. Remarkably, CBD promoted fat breakdown, while also slowing its formation. The direct measurements of fat content showed fat to be the lowest where CBD had been used.
CBD Effect on Appetite
The hypothalamus region of the brain controls appetite and regulates the release of the hormones, leptin, and ghrelin. Leptin inhibits hunger by creating the sensation of being full. Studies show that CBD increases leptin levels. By suppressing appetite CBD will aid in weight loss. Ghrelin, on the other hand, triggers appetite and hunger.
Ghrelin is stimulated by CB1 receptors. Owing to CBD being an effective CB1 blocker, it will decrease ghrelin production, and thus appetite. Animal studies have shown that rats given CBD ate significantly less food compared to those that had not been given CBD.
Another study, published by Farrimond et al. in 2012, examined the impact of different phytocannabinoids, like cannabinol (CBN) and CBD, on the feeding patterns of rats. The study demonstrated that while CBN increased food consumption and weight gain, CBD decreased food intake and weight gain. This result occurred due to the “fat browning” process of WAT to BAT, promoted by CBD.
CBD Effect on weight gain caused by Type 2 Diabetes
For individuals with obesity or type 2 diabetes, an imbalance in their endocannabinoid system may a reason why some may struggle to lose weight. The endocannabinoid system aids in energy regulation in the adipose tissue of the abdominal area. When the system is overly regulated, it may cause excessive fat buildup in the stomach. It may further reduce adiponectin release, a protein that controls glucose levels and the breakdown of fatty acids. This chain reaction leads to increased appetite and additional fat gain. But, CBD can help to re-balance the system by promoting fat breakdown, metabolism, and mitochondria activity.
One study conducted by the University of Miami, involved the surveying of thousands of people. It found that cannabinoid users had lower blood sugar levels, and less chance of developing diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Insulin aids in keeping your blood glucose level from getting too low or too high.
Consuming a meal can make blood sugar levels shoot up, which then overly increases insulin secretion to compensate. The excess insulin is then stored as fat. Too much unused glucose in the cells will eventually lead to weight gain.
We’ve already learned that by promoting ‘browning’, CBD promotes energy making and therefore fat burning. However, BAT has also been shown to increase glucose tolerance by reducing insulin resistance in the liver and muscle. By stimulating the development of BAT cells, CBD can thus aid in controlling weight gain caused by excess insulin.
Consuming CBD for weight loss
CBD oil has two active ingredients – THC and CBD. CBD oil that is high in THC will act as an appetite stimulant. This is because THC attaches to the receptors in the brain, triggering hunger hormones, or what is known as the “munchies”. Instead, CBD oil that is high in CBD is what should be used for weight loss. Low doses should be used initially. High amounts may cause the endocannabinoid system to become overactive resulting in weight gain, or metabolic dysfunction.