CBD is marketed as a cure-all, a revolutionary and natural compound that can do almost anything to make you feel good. Recently, a handful of CBD supporters have suggested that the drug can and should be used to help with weight loss — but are there any truths to the claims that CBD will help you shed unwanted pounds?
What We Know About What CBD Does
Before we can tackle the issue of CBD and weight loss, it is important to look into what we know about CBD — which is less than you probably think. Despite being discovered way back in 1940, CBD has only recently been the subject of scientific research, and many studies have yet to come to reliable and respected conclusions.
Initially, scientists thought that CBD functioned similarly to THC, the dominant psychoactive compound within cannabis. Within every human body is a system called the endogenous cannabinoid system, or ECS, named for its discovery during cannabis research. When THC enters the bloodstream, it binds to a specific type of ECS receptor around the body, causing effects like increased appetite, euphoria and muscle relaxation. For decades, CBD was believed to behave the same way, binding to a different group of ECS receptors and thus generating slightly different effects.
However, we now know this isn’t the case. Instead of binding to ECS receptors, CBD seems to bind to other receptors in the nervous system that interact with the ECS. As a result, CBD appears to influence the ECS to produce more of its own compounds, which essentially encourages the body to heal itself.
Unfortunately, the type of healing CBD and the ECS can provide isn’t absolute. For example, CBD won’t blast the plaque out of your arteries or melt your unnecessary subcutaneous fat. Most research has found that CBD serves as a mild pain and inflammation reducer, roughly on par with over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. There isn’t any evidence to suggest that CBD, on its own, will help you lose weight.
How CBD Could Be Helpful in Your Weight Loss Journey
Just because CBD doesn’t inherently cause the body to lose weight doesn’t mean it isn’t a valuable tool in your weight loss journey. In fact, there is a large number of CBD products designed for use in fitness applications and to ensure overall wellness regardless of lifestyle.
The best way to use CBD as a tool for achieving weight loss is harnessing its power to reduce pain and inflammation. Exercise often results in minor aches and pains as well as inflammation of muscles and connective tissues during the recovery period. By taking CBD, you can make your post-workout rest more comfortable and facilitate healing, so you can get back in the gym sooner.
Any product that makes exercise less painful and more enjoyable will help you stay accountable to your fitness goals, which will result in more weight lost over time.
Most athletes and fitness enthusiasts who use CBD gravitate toward topical CBD, which is applied to the skin as opposed to consumed or inhaled. Topical products do not provide all-over relief; rather, they offer concentrated and targeted effects to the tissues around the area of application. For example, if your legs ache after a grueling run, you can apply a cooling CBD balm to your muscles and joints to help ease recovery.
If you are willing to use full-spectrum CBD products, which include trace amounts of THC and other cannabis compounds as well as a large dose of CBD, you might see additional weight loss benefits from CBD products in the form of appetite reduction and a metabolism enhancement. In conjunction with cannabinoids and terpenes, CBD could possibly offer these effects — though the research on CBD and metabolism is currently scant.
We just don’t know enough about what CBD does to state for certain that it is indispensable as a weight loss tool, though current signs suggest it doesn’t do much to directly affect weight. If you are interested and feel comfortable using CBD products, you might as well use them — but it seems unlikely that you will see fat-melting results without other lifestyle changes, especially to your diet and exercise regimen.