The active ingredient cannabidiol (CBD) is becoming increasingly popular, especially when it comes to natural health. There are several applications for CBD, from fighting acne to reducing anxiety.
But could CBD also help you lose weight?
Researchers have already looked into this question and are investigating the possibility that CBD could help people lose weight and reduce the risk of weight problems, diabetes and metabolic disorders.
We have taken a closer look at this topic.
CBD and weight reduction
The body has a built-in endocannabinoid system. This system responds to various compounds in the body via two cannabinoid (CB) receptors, known as CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Normally CB1 receptors exist mainly in the brain and central nervous system and are almost non-existent in the rest of the body. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, exist throughout the body.
However, CB1 receptors are more common in people with obesity, especially in fatty tissue. For this reason, researchers believe that there is a link between CB1 receptor activation and obesity.
CBD does not directly activate CB receptors, but affects the body's natural cannabinoids to either block or activate the receptors. This can play an important role in weight loss or other critical metabolic functions. In this way, CBD could support weight loss in the body and possibly prevent metabolic disorders.
Allegations and research
Some people claim that CBD can reduce appetite. Most people tend to associate cannabis with increased appetite, because people who smoke cannabis tend to feel hungrier than usual. Although tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of cannabis, can cause hunger, CBD does not.
THC activates the CB1 receptors in the body and causes many effects, including stimulation of appetite. However, authors of a 2018 study article found that CB1 receptor antagonists help reduce appetite and control obesity. This is because CB1 receptor agonists block or "deactivate" the receptor.
CBD does not deactivate CB1 receptors, but can influence other molecules to block them. Turning off these receptors can help reduce appetite and prevent excessive eating in some people.
An older animal study from 2012 showed that CBD reduces appetite in rats. While there is ample evidence that CBD is helpful in suppressing appetite, there are no direct studies showing that CBD actually reduces appetite in humans.
Turns bad fat into good fat
Proponents of CBD for weight loss also claim that it is able to convert white or "bad" fat into brown (good) fat, which in turn can help the body burn calories. White fat can also increase the risk of many chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. A 2016 study supports this claim. Researchers found that CBD plays several roles in the body's interaction with fat.
CBD not only helped to convert white fat cells into brown fat cells, but also stimulated the body to break down fats more efficiently. The research results showed that CBD may be a promising therapy for the prevention of obesity.
Another claim is that CBD melts away fat in the body by breaking down the fat and helping to transport it out of the body as waste.
Research from 2018 helps to explain this phenomenon. The process of converting white fat cells into brown fat cells actually changes the way these cells act in the body.
Brown fat cells can be a more active form of fat. They burn energy as heat, which means they actually burn calories.
Since calorie loss is critical to weight loss, CBD can indeed help burn fat by converting white fat to brown fat in the body.
Reduces the risk of metabolic disorders
How further research reports from the Year 2018 show that there is a close connection between obesity and various metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. The overactivation of CB receptors in the body may be partly responsible for this. Overactivation of CB1 receptors in adipose tissue throughout the body could lead to obesity and metabolic risks.
CBD helps to block CB1 receptors, which means that it can reduce the risk of obesity.
A review of cannabis and cannabinoid research in previous studies showed an exciting relationship between CBD and various metabolic factors, mainly in animal models.
For example, treatment with CBD reduced total cholesterol in obese rats by 25 percent. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of CBD also appeared to lower blood sugar levels and increase markers of liver health.
What to consider
While initial results from studies on CBD and weight loss show some promising results, important factors should be considered.
CBD as well as other drugs, dietary supplements or medicines are not a treatment for obesity. These supplements and additions are not a substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise. CBD should be considered as a complementary therapy. It should also be noted that not every body reacts to CBD in the same way and the dose required for each person can vary greatly. Someone with a higher body weight or someone who uses cannabis regularly may need a higher dose, while someone who is very sensitive to cannabis or CBD may only need to take a very small amount to achieve the desired effect.
The initial results of studies on CBD and weight loss are extremely promising.
CBD can be helpful for people who want to lose weight, burn calories or suppress their appetite. A healthy diet and regular exercise cannot replace CBD either.