Does CBD Affect My Weight?
Read Time: 5 minutes
THC, CBD’s most famous sister cannabinoid, is well known for its orexigenic, or appetite-stimulating, effects. In short, cannabis can give you the munchies. While this characteristic of THC tends to be a funny sidenote for recreational users, THC’s appetite-stimulating effects have been used as an immensely powerful benefit for medical patients. Researchers and clinicians have reported THC’s usefulness as a primary treatment or complementary treatment for individuals who struggle to eat, such as folks struggling with cancer or anorexia nervosa.
But for those on a specific diet or who are watching their weight, it makes sense to ask whether CBD could similarly cause a bout of the munchies or lead to weight gain, or on the other may hand, help you lose weight. In this article, we’ll cover all you need to know about CBD and weight management.
What is the relationship between CBD and weight?
CBD is one of several primary cannabinoids that comprise the cannabis plant. It directly affects your mood and energy which may influence your activity levels and appetite, but does CBD have any direct influence on weight loss or weight gain? The research is still in its early stages, but so far it seems that the recommended serving sizes of CBD aren’t directly associated with weight gain or weight loss.
The endocannabinoid system is an integral part of the body’s everyday functions. Appetite, energy, and metabolism are three critical processes regulated by that system.¹ (Remember that the body naturally produces endocannabinoids as a naturally occurring part of its regulatory workings.)
A multitude of factors determines changes in weight. While genetics and an individual’s baseline metabolism play an important role in determining where on the spectrum their body weight will tend to lie, fluctuations primarily depend on what you are eating and how much you are moving. Anything that influences those latter behaviors will have a subsequent effect on an individual’s weight management.
Cannabinoids play a prominent role in the activation of the endocannabinoid system, but the specific ways they produce changes in appetite, energy, and metabolism are less well understood.
One study on CBD’s potential effect on body weight compared the body weights of three groups of rats that were put on different diets—a standard diet, a high fat diet, and a high sugar diet—and were all given a dose of a CBD product.² The study only looked at three days’ worth of CBD administration, so it’s hard to say how reliable or translatable the results are without additional studies.
Rats on a high-fat diet and given CBD experienced an increase in body weight but a significant reduction in the amount of food they chose to eat. On the other hand, rats who had been on the high sugar diet (typically the group that scientists would expect to experience the most weight gain) had no changes in body weight. These results don’t necessarily mean that CBD use has an anti-weight gain benefit, but they do suggest that CBD may be primarily involved in the metabolism of sugar and other carbohydrates.
The research on CBD’s potential effect on weight gain is still in its early stages, though, and results are generally mixed across the board. While one study in animals showed that CBD doses of 2.5-5 mg/kg (the 5 mg/kg dose would be over 300 mg of CBD for a 150 lb. person) led to decreases in weight gain in rats that had been overfed to induce obesity.³ Other studies have not been able to demonstrate changes in either food intake or bodyweight in rodents who were administered CBD.⁴⁻⁵
CBD has been demonstrated to produce measurable changes in gut hormones that play a role in metabolism and glycemic levels in patients with type II diabetes.⁶ Many studies have also indicated that CBD usage affects body fat and sugar metabolism through action on several receptors and metabolites involved in these pathways.⁷
The liver, gastrointestinal tract, and endocrine pancreas, for instance, are all major organs responsible for metabolizing the macronutrients we ingest. It has been shown that the “overactivation” of these organs is a key hallmark of obesity. CBD usage has been shown to decrease many of these signs of overactivation, lowering levels of liver enzymes, liver damage, and other inflammatory agents that proliferate when our metabolic pathways are disrupted or dysfunctional. Studies have shown that CBD may also play a part in lowering insulin resistance and improving gut health, which can impact healthy weight management.
Early in the research pipeline, these studies have identified a functional relationship between CBD and molecular players involved in weight gain, metabolism, and energy. Still, more research needs to be done to better understand better what’s going on.
The research on CBD and weight management so far is still sparse. Scientists are seeing that CBD affects hormones that are known to be associated with health issues such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. However, these physiological relationships still require further elucidation. CBD products, like CBD oil tinctures and CBD gummies have been tested thoroughly by the FDA at the higher clinical level in many preclinical and randomized studies to confirm its therapeutic role as an antiseizure agent.⁸
How to Avoid Weight Gain While Taking CBD
So far, studies have not shown that CBD is associated with weight gain. There seems to be evidence that CBD is involved in the metabolic pathways of various macronutrients. However, the specifics of those interactions remain to be elucidated and further validated in more preclinical and clinical studies.
Determining your ideal serving size should be directly related to the symptoms you want to manage and treat. While concerns about weight gain are understandable, we’d recommend making symptom management your first consideration when going up or down in your CBD serving size, then adjusting how much you are eating and how much you are moving.
Just as you would keep track of the levels of pain or relaxation you might feel, pay attention to whether your appetite increases or your energy levels dip after a particular CBD serving size, and adjust your food intake and exercise. Also, keep in mind that your CBD products may contain other functional ingredients such as caffeine or melatonin that can also affect you.
While it’s possible that CBD’s effects on mood and energy may in turn affect your activity levels and appetite, for now, it seems that the recommended serving sizes of CBD don’t run the risk of directly affecting body weight.
If you are looking for the best CBD, whether it be CBD oil tinctures, CBD gummies or even CBD isolate, look no further than Lazarus Naturals.
¹Cavuoto, P., & Wittert, G. A. (2009). The role of the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of energy expenditure. Best practice & research. Clinical endocrinology & metabolism, 23(1), 79–86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beem.2008.10.005
²Wierucka-Rybak, M., Wolak, M., & Bojanowska, E. (2014). The effects of leptin in combination with a cannabinoid receptor 1 antagonist, AM 251, or cannabidiol on food intake and body weight in rats fed a high-fat or a free-choice high sugar diet. Journal of physiology and pharmacology : an official journal of the Polish Physiological Society, 65(4), 487–496.
³Ignatowska-Jankowska, B., Jankowski, M. M., & Swiergiel, A. H. (2011). Cannabidiol decreases body weight gain in rats: involvement of CB2 receptors. Neuroscience letters, 490(1), 82–84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2010.12.031
⁴Riedel, G., Fadda, P., McKillop-Smith, S., Pertwee, R. G., Platt, B., & Robinson, L. (2009). Synthetic and plant-derived cannabinoid receptor antagonists show hypophagic properties in fasted and non-fasted mice. British journal of pharmacology, 156(7), 1154–1166. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2008.00107.x
⁵Wiley, J. L., Burston, J. J., Leggett, D. C., Alekseeva, O. O., Razdan, R. K., Mahadevan, A., & Martin, B. R. (2005). CB1 cannabinoid receptor-mediated modulation of food intake in mice. British journal of pharmacology, 145(3), 293–300. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bjp.0706157
⁶Jadoon, K. A., Ratcliffe, S. H., Barrett, D. A., Thomas, E. L., Stott, C., Bell, J. D., O'Sullivan, S. E., & Tan, G. D. (2016). Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabivarin on Glycemic and Lipid Parameters in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Pilot Study. Diabetes care, 39(10), 1777–1786. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc16-0650
⁷Bielawiec, P., Harasim-Symbor, E., & Chabowski, A. (2020). Phytocannabinoids: Useful Drugs for the Treatment of Obesity? Special Focus on Cannabidiol. Frontiers in endocrinology, 11, 114. https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2020.00114
⁸Stockings, E., Zagic, D., Campbell, G., Weier, M., Hall, W. D., Nielsen, S., Herkes, G. K., Farrell, M., & Degenhardt, L. (2018). Evidence for cannabis and cannabinoids for epilepsy: a systematic review of controlled and observational evidence. Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry, 89(7), 741–753. https://doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2017-317168