Sometimes it seems like a new claim about the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) is made every week, and weight loss is no exception. In this case, the hype is justified — recent scientific studies have shown that CBD oil can be effective for weight loss in a number of ways.
The reason CBD works for weight loss is because of its effects on your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps regulate things like your appetite, motivation, and mood. This network of neurotransmitters and receptors has fascinated scientists for years, and new research has uncovered a surprising range of potential benefits.
But it’s one thing to claim that CBD is a “miracle fat burner,” and a very different thing to actually support that claim with evidence. So what does the science say about its potential for aiding weight loss? Here are four well-documented ways that CBD can help you slim down and tone up.
Brown adipose tissue, aka “brown fat,” is the good kind of fat. By turning energy, aka food, into heat, it helps to burn through newly-ingested calories. And that is turning researchers onto its importance in preventing obesity and diabetes.
Findings from a recent study in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry has provided evidence of CBD “recruiting” white fats into becoming brown fats, and triggering brown fats into their calorie-burning mode. White fats are the bad types of fat: they aren’t easy to burn off, and they can surround your organs, which restricts their proper functioning. If subsequent studies confirm that CBD is effective in eliminating white fats, this could make it a major weapon in the fight against obesity.
The mounting evidence for CBD’s role in the regulation of blood-sugar levels and insulin resistance is not only of interest to the 100 million Americans with either diabetes or prediabetes — it’s also essential for those interested in shedding some pounds.
One of the main goals of a balanced diet is to consume a manageable amount of sugar (or carbohydrates which quickly get turned into sugar). Once the sugar is in your bloodstream, the insulin hormone transfers it to your cells, which keeps your blood-sugar in the normal range.
But if you put too much sugar into your system, it kicks your insulin levels into overdrive. Your body is tricked into thinking it should store fat instead of burning it, which is obviously bad for weight loss.
Since one of the primary functions of the ECS is to regulate metabolic processes, it makes sense that CBD could have a role in the regulation of blood-sugar and insulin production. And recent studies have borne that out in the context of hyperglycemia (high blood-sugar levels), mainly through CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
While the research is still in its early stages, CBD could prove to be a vital tool for people who need help keeping their blood-sugar within a manageable range.
It’s no secret that medical cannabis has the ability to stimulate your appetite, which is useful for an array of conditions where weight loss can be a danger. But it was only recently that CBD came out of this very large shadow to prove its efficacy in suppressing your appetite.
For example, a 2012 study examined the food intake of rats who had been dosed with a variety of different cannabinoids, including CBD and THC (which is the cannabinoid commonly associated with increased appetite). According to the researchers, rats dosed with CBD had a “significant” reduction in the amount of food they ate over the testing period.
While little testing has concentrated primarily on CBD’s effect on appetite suppression, it does makes sense — if one follows the somewhat controversial logic of the glycemic index diet. The idea is that foods high in sugar lead to a surge in blood-sugar levels, which turns on the body’s insulin production, making blood-sugar levels drop and the appetite rise. This is often referred to as the “crash and crave” cycle. By regulating the body’s blood-sugar levels, CBD could help prevent this cycle from occurring.
Stress eating is the kind of eating you do when you’re so panicked about an upcoming deadline that you start spending more time in front of your refrigerator than your computer. Or maybe you’re sad, and the only thing that will make you feel better is a whole pint of ice cream. Most of us have been in these situations before, and they’re all-too-relatable. Still, that doesn’t make them any healthier.
Harvard researchers found that stress eating correlates with weight gain in people who are already overweight — the working theory is that “overweight people have elevated insulin levels, and stress-related weight gain is more likely to occur in the presence of high insulin,” which CBD is thought to regulate.
Of course, if you cut down on anxiety and depression, you eliminate the catalyst for this behavior — which, even if it’s not proven to contribute to weight gain in the general population, definitely won’t help with weight loss. The good news is that a robust body of research has already shown that CBD has strong anti-anxiety and anti-depressive effects, making it an appealing option for those who’d like to eliminate stress eating from their lives.
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