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.”
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.
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.