CBD Might Help With Weight Loss—Here’s Exactly How to Use It to Help Shed those Unwanted Pounds
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Whether it’s in bath bombs, beverages, lotions or gummies, cannabidiol (CBD) has become a popular ingredient in many mainstream products. It often seems like CBD can do just about everything, from relieving pain to helping us sleep and reducing anxiety. And most recently, there’s been some buzz around the idea that CBD can help with weight loss.
But can CBD actually help us drop the pounds? Here’s what experts say.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol is the second most predominant active ingredient in marijuana. Although CBD is part of medical marijuana, it is derived from the hemp plant. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t elicit a “high” effect.
“In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO) . CBD comes in various forms, from capsules, oils, and tinctures to edibles.
CBD and weight loss: Is there a connection?
There are two types of fats found in the human body: White fat and brown fat. White fat cells are responsible for storing and providing energy whereas brown fat cells are responsible for burning calories and generating heat, Dr. Clara Lawson, MD explains. Those with healthy body weight have more brown fat cells in their bodies as compared to people who are overweight.
“When you exercise, white fat cells are converted into brown fat cells that mean you are burning calories and losing weight. CBD promotes weight loss by aiding the conversion of white fat cells into brown fats cells,” Dr. Lawson states. “Besides, CBD has the ability to interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system that are associated with metabolism and hunger. After positively influencing these receptors, CBD boosts metabolism and reduces cravings to eat more, therefore promoting weight loss.”
CBD also supports weight loss in a different way by motivating you to exercise, Dr. Lawson adds. Since CBD has promising effects on mood, it can certainly encourage you to perform better in your life including but not limited to your weight loss routine.
While there haven’t been extensive human studies on CBD , there are many indirect ways that CBD can support your weight loss goals.
“Since CBD can help with sleep and sleep quality – that will have an effect on the hormones that help to regulate hunger, both ghrelin and leptin,” Brooke Alpert , co-founder and chief business developer of Daily Habit, explains. “When our sleep is disrupted, we produce more ghrelin and less leptin. Ghrelin is a hormone that tells your body it’s hungry, while leptin is a fullness hormone. So simply by having a better quality of sleep, your hunger will be better controlled to help you make healthy choices.”
CBD can also help reduce inflammation and lower stress, two factors that are closely tied to weight.
“Since CBD is helpful for inflammation, it’s also great to help with pain and post-workout recovery, making exercising all that more doable to help you burn fat and maintain lean muscle,” says Alpert. “CBD is also so great for helping people manage their stress levels, unnecessary emotional eating, snacking or evening drinking is all less likely to happen.”
CBD products for weight loss
Dr. Lawson recommends the CBD oil products below. “They are third-party lab tested, organically made in the U.S., contain less than 0.3% THC and are full-spectrum.”
Aspen Green Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil
This product, while a bit pricey at $145, provides all the phytonutrients of hemp without the high sensation of THC. It’s toxin-free, non-GMO and certified USDA organic hemp. Buy it here.
Related: 7 Best CBD Oils
Unflavored Sunsoil CBD Oil
This oil contains a simple, yet powerful formula with only two ingredients: hemp and MCT oil—both organic. Buy it for $30 here.
USA Hemp Unflavored CBD Oil
This product is great if you’re looking to relax and relieve pain. It contains full-spectrum CBD and MCT oil. Prices range from $20-$246 based on size. Buy it here.
Other ways you can use CBD
While experts can all agree that CBD needs to be studied more extensively, there is some evidence to support that CBD can help in other areas of life besides weight loss. These include:
For sleep support
CBD may help you sleep better. And as a nice bonus, that can help you manage your weight. “Sleep support is essential when trying to maintain a healthy weight,” Dr. Stacia Woodcock, PharmD and dispensary manager at Curaleaf, explains. “Consider a CBD capsule containing 25-50mg of CBD.”
For mood support
“I would recommend a sublingual oil with 5-10mg of CBD and 0.25-0.5mg THC,” says Dr. Woodcock.
For pain relief
“A CBD muscle cream may help reduce soreness post-workout,” says Dr. Woodcock.
Is CBD legal?
Yes, hemp-derived CBD is legal, according to the 2018 Farm Bill . But it’s important to understand that this bill doesn’t legalize all CBD products.
Healthy Now Newsletter
CBD is legal if the CBD is derived from hemp, and follows the regulations in the Farm Bill. This includes:
- Contains less than 0.3% THC
- Must be grown by a licensed grower
- Must meet shared state-federal regulations
However, even if CBD is legal from a federal standpoint, it doesn’t mean it’s legal in all states. Some states have laws with additional regulations where all CBD products are banned. That’s why it’s essential to do your research before purchasing any CBD products.
CBD Oil For Weight Loss: How Does It Help? Benefits & Dosage
Roughly 2 out of every 3 people are either overweight or obese.
CBD acts on chemical messengers that indirectly control our weight.
It helps support blood sugar balance, beta-oxidation, cortisol, and mitochondrial function.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2 out of every 3 people in America are overweight.
CBD oil has recently come to the surface as a promising weight loss supplement.
Can this controversial oil really offer the weight-loss advantages promised? Our verdict: yes, but not directly — CBD works through other systems in the body to return to an optimal state of health, which includes our body weight.
Here, we explore CBD and how it can be used to boost your weight loss program along with other diet and lifestyle changes.
MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY
Updated on January 12, 2022
Table of Contents
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The Benefits of CBD For Weight Loss
The best way to lose weight, by far, is a regimented diet and exercise routine. Everything else is supplementary to this — including CBD.
With that said, adding CBD to your weight loss routine can go a long way in helping you shed extra weight more efficiently.
The benefits of CBD for weight loss include:
- Reduces appetite to curb eating habits
- Alleviates chronic inflammation associated with obesity
- Alleviates digestive disorders and inflammation
- Supports mitochondria function (where sugar and fat is burned for energy)
1. CBD Supports Mitochondria & Metabolic Health
You may remember from 8th-grade biology class that the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell.
It’s the part of the cell that’s responsible for converting sugars, fats, and even proteins into energy that the cell can use.
How Lazy Mitochondria Can Make Us Fat
When our mitochondria aren’t functioning optimally, which can happen for a variety of different reasons, it becomes harder to provide the body with the energy it needs and even harder to shed any extra weight.
What’s happening here is that the body is taking in lots of energy from our food, but our cells are having a hard time turning that energy into a currency we can actually use.
In order to prevent too much sugar and fat from building up in our bloodstream, the liver converts most of it into fat and puts it away in storage so we can use it at a later date.
The mitochondria are a key part of the metabolic system but they are far too small to fit in it on their own. This is where the endocannabinoid system comes in.
The ECS exerts its effects inside the cell, regulating the activity level of the mitochondria.
When they’re not working hard enough, the ECS whips them into shape. When they’re working too hard, producing more energy than we need, the ECS tells them to take the day off and slow down production.
This keeps us in metabolic balance, otherwise known as homeostasis.
When we take CBD, we’re essentially boosting the ability of the endocannabinoid system to keep control over the mitochondria.
For obese people, this almost always means whipping the mitochondria back into shape, converting more fats and sugars into energy that we can then burn off.
When combined with adequate exercise and nutritional support, this can significantly reduce overall fat storage by increasing the rate at which we burn through it.
Recent studies have shown that CBD plays a key modulating role in mitochondrial function [2, 3]. It does this indirectly through its role in regulating the endocannabinoid system as a whole.
2. CBD Normalizes Insulin Levels to Promote Fat Burning
Whenever we eat a meal, the nutrients from that meal are absorbed through the gut and into the bloodstream.
When these meals consist of energy-dense foods, like high-sugar and high-fat meals, the body gets a surge of energy in the bloodstream.
If we’re burning a ton of energy as well, through exercise and normal metabolism, then this isn’t a problem.
Energy in = energy out.
However, with obese people, there is a problem: they take a lot of energy in, but don’t put a lot of energy out. This allows things like sugar and fats to build up in the bloodstream, which is very dangerous.
High blood fats and sugars are closely linked with serious medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
In order to keep the body safe, the liver steps up to convert most of the excess sugar into fat, which is then stored all around the body.
By storing this excess energy as fat, it doesn’t pose as much harm to the body.
The only way to stop this problem is by taking in less energy and burning more (less energy in and more energy out).
This is where diet and lifestyle changes come in. This is still the absolute best way to shed weight and keep it off.
However, when our body gets into a routine for too long, it’s very difficult to get out of it.
A lot of people, even after changing their diet and adding more exercise into their daily routine, find that they flatline with their weight loss. They lose a bunch of weight in the beginning, but shedding those last few pounds seems nearly impossible.
The problem lies with insulin levels.
How High Insulin Prevents Weight Loss
Insulin is a hormone released from the pancreas to shuttle sugar into the cells, where it’s then converted to energy.
Over many years of eating high sugar foods, insulin levels gradually rise – we call this hyperinsulinemia.
Even when we change our diet and lifestyle, insulin levels can remain high.
The important thing to note here is that whenever insulin levels are high in the bloodstream, we can’t burn fat.
This happens because insulin increases the uptake of fatty acids, favors the synthesis of lipids, and stops the breakage of fat. Altogether, these lead to energy storage,
And here is where CBD comes in.
CBD & Insulin
In a large study involving nearly 4700 patients with metabolic disease, CBD and marijuana use were shown to offer a 17% reduction in fasting insulin .
This is significant because if we can lower insulin levels, it becomes much easier to shed those last remaining pounds.
These effects are also extremely valuable for those with obesity, as it helps to stabilize insulin levels, and starts the process of curbing weight back down to healthy levels.
This is perhaps the most beneficial activity provided by CBD oil for obesity in the long run.
It’s important to note here that, although CBD is considered the main cannabinoid for producing these effects, it works better in a full-plant extract than in CBD isolates.
We always recommend going with a high-quality full-spectrum hemp extract for supporting insulin levels and cutting weight.
3. CBD Curbs Appetite to Decrease Calorie Intake
One of the main factors leading to obesity is our appetite.
Our body’s evolved for an environment where food was hard to come by, so we needed to make sure we stored enough of it to get through periods of time where food wasn’t available.
In the modern world, this has started to work against us.
Our appetites remain high, but food is always readily available. This allows us to eat our way to obesity far too easily.
Therefore, one of the best ways to cut weight and bring ourselves closer to a healthy range is by curbing our appetite as much as we can.
CBD is an excellent tool for achieving this.
You may be thinking:
“But marijuana makes us hungry, it gives us the munchies.”
This is true, but this is due to THC, not CBD.
Using psychoactive marijuana does stimulate the appetite, however, the CBD oil that contains only minuscule amounts of this particular cannabinoid actually has the opposite effect.
THC is considered an appetite stimulant, while CBD is considered an appetite suppressant.
It works by improving the sensitivity of the hypothalamus, the region of the brain responsible for controlling most of our homeostasis, including hunger levels.
When shopping for CBD oils to promote weight loss, make sure you buy something that includes mainly CBD, and only small amounts of THC to avoid causing the opposite effect and increasing hunger levels.
What is the Endocannabinoid System? What’s It’s Role in Weight Loss or Gain?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS for short) is a set of specialized, fatty-acid-based hormones/neurotransmitters that help regulate communication between a variety of different parts of the nervous system.
It’s used to regulate many different tissues in the body, including the neurological, metabolic, and immune systems.
Only in recent years have scientists started to uncover the many roles this system plays in the body, and how the cannabinoids from the marijuana and hemp plants are able to leverage this system to our advantage.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is just one of about 80 different cannabinoids. These are a group of chemicals found almost exclusively in the cannabis family of plants (Cannabaceae).
In order to classify as a cannabinoid, the compound needs to interact in some way with our endocannabinoid system.
In the cannabis plant, there are two cannabinoids that make up the majority of the plant constituent: CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
Other cannabinoids include:
All cannabinoids have slightly different effects, but all will interact in some way with the endocannabinoid system.
When it comes to weight loss, the most important one to consider is CBD.
Cannabidiol is the predominant cannabinoid in cannabis oils made from hemp, but also makes up a large portion of marijuana oils that may or may not contain the psychoactive component, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
CBD impacts weight loss in 3 main ways:
- Supports our mitochondria & metabolic health
- Normalizes insulin levels to promote fat burning
- Lowers appetite to decrease calorie intake
We’ll get into the details of how each one of these works below.
Why Full-Spectrum CBD Is Better For Weight Loss
CBD is an excellent tool to address issues with obesity and promote weight loss in overweight people, but it can’t do it alone.
There are well over 200 different chemicals in the cannabis plant, and all of them are important.
Although CBD offers most of the benefits and is proven to provide weight loss support on its own, the other chemicals contained in the plant make it even more effective.
Some, like the terpenes in the essential oil of the plant, help CBD get absorbed by the intestinal tract, pass the blood-brain barrier, or slow the breakdown of CBD by the liver.
We call this the entourage effect because both CBD and THC are much stronger when they have their entourage of other terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids along with them.
This is why we always prefer to use a full-spectrum extract for weight loss.
You can find CBD isolates which promise higher concentrations of CBD than their full-spectrum counterparts, but these don’t work nearly as well as an extract with the entourage included.
How to Use CBD for Weight Loss
Now that we’ve gone over how CBD helps with weight loss, let’s talk about how it can be used effectively.
As mentioned, make sure to go with a full spectrum hemp extract, rather than a CBD isolate or something that contains high amounts of THC.
Once you’ve found a good CBD oil, it’s time to figure out the right dose.
We recently made a guide to dosing CBD oil to help you figure out the right dose to start with.
Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight, no matter what those late-night infomercials promise.
The trick to successful weight loss is to look at it as a long-term lifestyle change. Don’t expect to lose 20 pounds by next week, or even the week after. Take it slow, and make the changes permanent.
Changing your diet to something with less refined carbohydrates and processed foods, and more vegetables will go a long way in shedding those extra pounds.
Additionally, adding as little as 30 minutes of mild-moderate exercise each day will help you burn unused energy, and get the fat burning.
CBD oil should be taken every day to start conditioning the appetite and mitochondria back to healthy levels. Most users report about 2 weeks of regular use before they start to really see and feel the benefits of the CBD oil on their obesity.