Changing your lifestyle, whether for health, weight loss, or otherwise, is always challenging. Perhaps nothing is less fun than going on a diet — so we’re always on the lookout for a new silver bullet that can make the whole process easier. Some have speculated whether the increasingly popular compound CBD can help us with our slimming efforts.
There’s not been much research on this issue, but if you’re curious, this article will run through exactly what we do and don’t know about this strategy.
1. What is CBD?
CBD is the short-form term for cannabidiol — a chemical compound or, more specifically, a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. For this reason, people often confuse it with marijuana, even though CBD is completely legal. This is because CBD does not contain THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, a separate sister cannabinoid that induces psychoactive effects.
Both THC and tetrahydrocannabinol interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It is a network of receptors communicating with different body parts associated with our homeostasis. However, they react in specific ways, which is thought to be behind their differing effects on the mind and body.
CBD can be consumed in many forms, such as oil, tinctures, topicals or edibles, and drinkables. Users have reported effects such as relief from anxiety, a feeling of calmness, enhanced focus, concentration, and better sleep. The CBD gurus at TRIP sum it up rather nicely, saying that this cannabinoid can “give your mind clarity and your body balance.”
2. Does it help with weight loss?
Since it has become increasingly popular as a supplement with numerous purported benefits, many people wonder whether CBD is useful for people trying to shed those extra pounds. Some manufacturers have explicitly marketed CBD products for this purpose, although we are yet to see a consensus emerge on this question.
Healthline explains that “preliminary research suggests that CBD may reduce food intake and boost metabolism, which could promote weight loss.” This could be because the CB1 and CB2 receptors that the cannabinoid influences “are thought to play important roles in metabolism and food intake.” However, there have been precious few human studies to reinforce this notion.
What’s more, some have speculated that CBD use can lead to weight gain, rather than loss, due to its side effect of increased appetite that some users experience. Again, further research is essential in determining the real scope of CBD’s effects on feelings of hunger, as this may be subject to numerous factors but also vary between different products. For this reason, we would refrain from recommending CBD ingestion as an effective method to lose weight, as we don’t have enough knowledge to conclude this.
3. What are some other benefits of CBD?
However, more concrete evidence exists of some of CBD’s other purported benefits. These include:
CBD does not give users a recreational “high” feeling, but many find it helps them handle sleeping problems like insomnia. This is thought to be because the compound has a calming effect on the central nervous system.
Researchers have found that the ECS influences specific body functions, including sleep and regulating our circadian rhythms, otherwise known as the body clock. This has led to speculation that the compound has a distinct interaction with specific receptors associated with the sleep/wake cycle.
Many people have reported CBD being therapeutic for their mental health difficulties, such as anxiety. A human trial found that individuals suffering from Generalised Social Anxiety Disorder — specifically around public speaking — felt a positive impact from taking small doses of CBD.
Compared to the control group, participants experienced “significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alertness in their anticipatory speech.”
CBD use is also linked to better focus and concentration. It’s thought that this is because it allows a greater amount of the mood stabilizer serotonin — otherwise known as “the happy neurotransmitter” — into the brain.
What’s more, it may also influence our dopamine levels. This hormone is linked to awareness and attention, and when there is a deficiency, we may see our ability to concentrate impaired as a result. In this way, CBD can boost our potential to focus and therefore give us a real benefit when carrying out important tasks throughout the day.
In short, we don’t have enough conclusive evidence to say that CBD can help with weight loss. However, some of the benefits listed here show that it can help to achieve a more relaxed state of mind, alleviating symptoms of stress and anxiety plus allowing for better concentration. These may be contextual factors for people struggling to lose weight, as people turn to overeating to cope — though it’s important not to overstate this.
If any of the issues we’ve talked about apply to you, it may well be the case that CBD is something that can benefit you. Everybody’s physiology is different, so before trying, we’d advise you to speak to your GP or relevant health professional to work out how it will affect you.
Featured Image by Vidmir Raic from Pixabay