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Could CBD be the Missing Piece in Your Weightloss Program?

Could CBD be the Missing Piece in Your Weight Loss Program?

Francis Cassidy February 3, 2021 0 comments

People are trying CBD for slimming down. And now science is backing that up.

The benefits of CBD extend far and wide, and recent research suggests that it may also aid in weight loss. For those who need a little help slimming down, here’s how a compound from an old plant ally can help complement existing efforts with diet and lifestyle.

Slimming Down With CBD

The endocannabinoid system is closely tied to regulating metabolism. Consequently, it plays a key role in energy storage and nutrient transportation, and between mood, insulin, sleep, and temperature regulation, it governs a host of factors closely related to bodyweight.

Anandamide and 2-AG are two endocannabinoids produced within the body that bind to the abundance of CB1 and CB2 receptors that make up the endocannabinoid system. In many individuals, this natural binding process occurs at lesser rates, resulting in deficiencies within the endocannabinoid system.

Exogenous cannabinoids, such as CBD from the cannabis plant, can interact with endocannabinoid receptors and help counteract any such deficiencies and bring the body into a more aligned state. One example is bodyweight, and mounting evidence suggests that CBD may kickstart metabolism and help patients regulate their weight. Here’s what the science says.

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slimming down with cbd represented by younger female stretching on back on yoga mat

Can You Get Rid of White Fat with CBD?

There are two types of fat in the human body. One is known as brown fat, while the other is white fat. White fat is much more common and is the less desirable of the two. It often disrupts our metabolism. The evolutionary purpose of white fat is to store away extra calories for the impending winter and the food shortages that inevitably never come in modern times.

Brown fat is the kind of fat we want. Also known as brown adipose tissue, it is a particular type of body fat that activates when we get cold. Brown fat produces heat that helps maintain body temperature in colder conditions and contains many more mitochondria than white fat.

In a study [1]Parray, H. A., & Yun, J. W. (2016). Cannabidiol promotes browning in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Molecular and cellular biochemistry, 416(1-2), 131–139. published in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry (2016), researchers discovered that CBD actually converts white fat to brown fat. This led them to conclude that CBD may be a “potentially promising therapeutic agent for the prevention of obesity.”

CBD and Insulin Regulation

Consistently high insulin levels are one of the main drivers of obesity in modern times. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to shuttle blood sugar into muscle cells. With chronically high insulin levels, not only do many develop insulin resistance, but it also blocks our ability to burn fat — something that makes it doubly hard to shift those extra pounds.

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A previous study, [2]Weiss, L., Zeira, M., Reich, S., Har-Noy, M., Mechoulam, R., Slavin, S., & Gallily, R. (2006). Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Autoimmunity, 39(2), 143–151. … Continue reading published in Autoimmunity (2006) found that CBD may be helpful in counteracting excessively high insulin levels. In the rat study, researchers reported lower instances of diabetes in non-diabetic mice. But, in a further study, published in the American Journal of Medicine (2013), researchers reported that cannabis use resulted in a seventeen percent reduction in fasting insulin.

How CBD Modulates Mitochondrial Function

Mitochondria are membrane-bound cell organelles that generate much of the chemical energy required to power a cell’s biochemical reactions. Our mitochondria lie at the heart of the body’s energy production and achieve this by converting sugars, fat, and protein into usable energy. Any inefficiencies in this energy-production pathway can wreak havoc on our ability to lose weight.

A study [3]Ryan, D., Drysdale, A. J., Lafourcade, C., Pertwee, R. G., & Platt, B. (2009). Cannabidiol targets mitochondria to regulate intracellular Ca2+ levels. The Journal of neuroscience : The official … Continue reading published in The Journal of Neuroscience (2009) described how CBD can help regulate mitochondrial activity.

Researchers noted that CBD might, “prove beneficial in preventing apoptotic signaling via restoration of Ca2+ homeostasis” in cases of mitochondrial dysfunction. In short, it helps bring our endocannabinoid system back into a state of balance and helps prime the body for efficient energy production and regulation.

slimming down with cbd represented by young black male planking on mat

The Link Between Restful Sleep and Obesity

In a study [4]Beccuti, G., & Pannain, S. (2011). Sleep and obesity. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 14(4), 402–412. published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care (2011), researchers determined short sleep duration and poor sleep quality to be “risk factors for the development of obesity.” With proven links to neuroendocrine function, glucose metabolism, and insulin sensitivity, suboptimal sleep effects can have a direct effect on our waistlines.

For those who wish to gain some of the many benefits from quality sleep, then CBD has potential as a powerful sleep enhancer. A small dose before bedtime may help ensure deep and restful sleep with an increased likelihood of entering a REM state.

The available evidence suggests while CBD enhances sleep, it may increase sleep latency due to its ability to increase alertness. Moreover, this means that it may take longer to actually fall asleep. To combat this, consider bringing a little THC into the mix. It could help induce a little drowsiness and ensure faster sleep onset.

Slimming Down with CBD

Unquestionably, CBD harbors many potential benefits. However, it’s unlikely to promote weight loss in the absence of a healthy diet and lifestyle. A holistic approach to weight loss works best. So much of the available science supports CBD being a part of any weight loss protocol.

Much of the scientific evidence available chiefly stems from findings in animal studies. As always, until scientists can infer similar findings in human studies, the medical community will continue to debate the details. Certainly, at the very least, there is currently no evidence that CBD will increase body fat levels. So, as a compound that’s remarkably well tolerated by the body, patients have nothing to lose by incorporating CBD.


Author avatar

Francis Cassidy
Francis Cassidy is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics. With a particular focus on the cannabis industry, he aims to help ensure the smooth reintegration of cannabis back into global culture. When not writing, he's to be found exploring his new base in British Columbia, Canada. You can follow his other works including his photography on his blog

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