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Obesity / Weight Loss / Fitness

What Is CBD? The Relationship Between CBD And Weight Loss

By Ian Haynes | Updated: Monday, 18 November 2019 15:35 UTC
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Can CBD help you lose weight? In short, the answer is yes.

But before we get into the details of how and why, let’s answer a question that you might be pondering: what is CBD?

Well, Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 100 compounds that comprise cannabis(both hemp and marijuana) and accounts for nearly 40% of the plant’s extract.

In its purest form, CBD is an oil-based extract from industrial hemp (a cultivar of cannabis) that is now popularly being added to things such as edibles, topical creams, and sprays. In fact, a new format is CBD gum that users prefer over other available forms.

This cannabinoid has been around as an effective solution for natural pain relief, anxiety and improved brain and heart health for quite a while. Due to such prevalent health benefits of CBD, more research was done on the plant extract and as a result, it has emerged as a potent solution for weight loss

CBD Gum Does Not Affect You In The Same Way As Cannabis

CBD gum—-and other CBD infused products—- do not affect your body in the same way as marijuana.

The main thing that sets CBD apart from marijuana – commonly known as a weed –is the compound’s lack of psychoactive properties. This simply means that no matter how much CBD you take, it won’t cause a high, primarily because it lacks THC: the main psychotropic substance.

But this isn’t the only difference between the two.

Since research has claimed that it is safe for human consumption, CBD, unlike marijuana, is one of the only three FDA approved cannabinoids on the market.

Another stark contrast between the two sister compounds is their tendency – or lack thereof – to cause impulsive hunger or what we normally call munchies.

The THC in cannabis interacts with and increases the secretion of the hunger-inducing hormone ghrelin, which leaves marijuana users craving food after use – this constant obsessive eating can potentially lead users to gain weight.

However, since THC is absent in CBD, users don’t have to worry about these side-effects –munchies and the ultimate weight gain.

How Does CBD Aid In Weight Loss

Despite everything that has come forward, skeptics still wonder: does CBD oil work?

Well, researchers in natural medicine have taken a proactive approach in revealing the health benefits of CBD, especially weight loss, through three important methods:

  1. Speeding up metabolism
  2. Acting as an appetite suppressant
  3. Regulating the storage of fat in the body

Working Mechanism Of CBD

Animal studies on the effectiveness of CBD oil in inducing weight loss have revealed that it interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. These are two types of cells in the body that receive and interact with cannabinoids – both psychoactive and non-psychotropic.

While CB1 is located in the brain and is more frequently targeted by THC, CB2 is present in the lymphoid tissue – part of our immune system and present all over the body – and provides an active binding site for CBD.

This interaction stimulates ‘fat breakdown’ genes to activate in adipose tissues and simultaneously increase mitochondria’s activity to boost metabolism and burn calories.

Types Of Fat Cells In The Body – The Good And The Bad

The same research that linked CBD to faster metabolism also suggested that it promotes the ‘browning’ of fat cells.

What does this mean?

There are two types of fat cells in our body – one stores calories, the other burns them.

White adipose tissue is responsible for fat storage and is to be blamed for everything from obesity to CVDs. Brown fat, on the other hand, burns itself to release heat and calories in the process – the good fat.

Individuals with a healthier BMI have a greater amount of brown fat compared to white fat. Interestingly enough, research into this particular area of weight loss has revealed that one of the effects of CBD on the body is the browning of white fat cells.

Simply put, it helps reduce weight by converting more stored fat into the type that burns away quickly.

In Conclusion

While users are excited by the prospects that CBD offers, there’s still a lot of research required before it can be crowned the champion compound for weight loss.

But with more people turning to CBD and the legalization of the compound in most states, we could soon expect a breakthrough that undoubtedly establishes it as a definite cure to excess weight.


  1. Peres, Fernanda F et al. “Cannabidiol as a Promising Strategy to Treat and Prevent Movement Disorders?.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 9 482. 11 May. 2018, doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00482
  2. Rossi, Francesca et al. “Role of Cannabinoids in Obesity.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 19,9 2690. 10 Sep. 2018, doi:10.3390/ijms19092690
  3. Lim, Chung Thong et al. “Ghrelin and cannabinoids require the ghrelin receptor to affect cellular energy metabolism.” Molecular and cellular endocrinology vol. 365,2 (2013): 303-8. doi:10.1016/j.mce.2012.11.007
  4. Parray, H.A. & Yun, J.W. Mol Cell Biochem (2016) 416: 131.
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