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Can CBD Help You Lose Weight? Here’s What the Science Says

CBD is just about everywhere these days. With premium brands like VSAVI now appearing on every store shelf, people all over the world are finally deciding to take the plunge and try CBD for themselves – and they’re trying it for a huge variety of reasons, including weight loss. One of the more common statements you’ll hear from fitness gurus recently is that taking CBD can actually help you lose weight and improve your fitness level. Is that even possible, or are people just saying whatever is necessary to sell more products?

As it turns out, there is some scientific research suggesting that taking CBD for weight loss might not be such a bad idea. Because most CBD research focuses on the compound’s potential ability to treat more pressing health issues, the evidence supporting CBD as a weight loss aid is tentative. The anecdotal reports about CBD are quite glowing, though, so let’s take a look at why CBD is getting so much attention in the fitness world.

Getting Started: What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound extracted from industrial cannabis plants. CBD is a cannabinoid. It interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is thought to regulate bodily functions such as pain response, mood and appetite. When you use the more famous cannabinoid THC, for example, it stimulates your body’s CB1 receptors and gives you the “munchies.” CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t have that same effect. It doesn’t alter your consciousness or produce euphoria. It doesn’t impede your activities. People most commonly take CBD for conditions such as chronic pain, insomnia and anxiety.

CBD Doesn’t Replace Lifestyle Changes

Before we discuss the reasons why you might consider using CBD for weight loss, it’s important for you to understand that CBD isn’t a replacement for the usual lifestyle changes that you must make to establish a pattern of consistent weight loss.

  • You’ll still need to eat fewer calories than you burn.
  • You should establish an exercise program that encourages the development of new muscle. The more muscle mass you have, the more fat your body will burn – even when you’re not working out.
  • You should choose a diet that promotes the steady, sustained release of energy. A diet that’s high in sugars and refined starches leads to blood sugar spikes and crashes. That’s what leads to lack of energy – and lack of desire to exercise – after a long work day. Crash diets and fad diets are unhealthy and lead to rebound weight gain when you resume your normal eating patterns. Choose a diet that’s balanced, healthy and satisfying enough that you’ll want to stick with it.
  • It’s very unlikely that taking CBD for weight loss will have any benefit unless you also make the above changes.
CBD for Weight Loss: Scientific Studies

At this point, you have a better idea of CBD’s limitations and know that just taking CBD will not give you a better body unless you also make the lifestyle changes necessary to promote permanent weight loss. If you’re already doing those things, though, taking CBD could potentially help you get even better results.

Studies suggest that CBD could potentially:

  • Help you curb overeating
  • Help you stay motivated and happy when you reduce your caloric intake
  • Help you burn fat more efficiently if your lifestyle already promotes fat burning
  • Help you work out more strenuously and more frequently

Let’s see what the latest scientific studies have said about CBD and weight loss.

  • A 2018 International Journal of Molecular Science study found that stimulating the CBD2 receptors with a compound such as CBD seems to curb overeating. The researchers compiling the study also found that CBD seems to stimulate the body’s process of converting white fat cells to brown fat cells. White fat cells are hard to burn because they function as long-term energy storage. Brown fat cells, on the other hand, are burned as fuel. CBD may, therefore, help you burn fat more quickly.
  • A 2016 Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry study further confirms the notion that CBD promotes fat oxidation and browning.
  • A 2014 Current Neuropharmacology study examined CBD as a compound that could help people stay awake during the day. The researchers compiling the study found that CBD appears to induce wakefulness, which may mean that it could help to give you the motivation necessary to maintain an exercise regimen even after long work days.
  • A 2009 Cardiology study examined the effects that cannabinoids may have on those with conditions such as heart disease and obesity. The study concluded that CB1 receptor antagonists such as CBD appear to reduce common markers of obesity such as inflammation and blood sugar levels while helping to stimulate fat burning.
  • A 2011 Neuroscience Letters study found that rats given CBD supplementation gained weight more slowly than rats who were not given CBD.
  • A 2012 Psychopharmacology study examined the effects that various cannabinoids had on the feeding patterns of rats. The researchers compiling the study found that, when given CBD, rats tend to eat less food.
CBD May Also Improve Workout Results

As we mentioned above, one of the best ways to lose weight is by increasing your muscle mass. Muscles burn fat when you’re at rest, so having more muscle increases your base metabolic rate. Having a high level of fitness, in other words, establishes a pattern that tends to make it easier for you to maintain that level of fitness without working so hard.

Here’s the problem with building muscle mass quickly: The act of building new muscle tissue requires you to break down the muscle that you have. Weight-bearing exercise causes inflammation in your muscles. The inflammation is a signal that your body needs to build new muscle cells, and that’s how your muscles grow. If you’re working out so often that your body is in a constant state of inflammation, though, you won’t be able to maintain the pace of your workout regimen because you’ll be too tired and sore to exercise. Several studies have concluded that CBD reduces inflammation. That’s why so many people use it for conditions such as chronic pain and arthritis. It stands to reason, then, that CBD could potentially improve your workout results by helping you exercise more often with less fatigue and pain. That’s why so many fitness gurus are promoting CBD these days.