The United States is fighting an obesity epidemic – this is very much apparent when you consider that over two-thirds of American adults are classified as overweight and one-third continually weigh-in as obese. Being obese or overweight can can increase the risk of suffering many health problems, like heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.
So, not surprisingly, the weight-loss industry is a booming one. It’s a $66 billion market consisting of all sorts of weight-loss programs, supplements, and tools on offer for those who are looking to lose weight. But, there is a product that is gaining a lot of popularity in weight-loss and maintenance circles, and it’s none other than CBD.
CBD continues to expand its impressive list of health benefits for the human body which includes weight management. We will take a closer look at what obesity is, how CBD can help to treat it, and what medical research says.
Overview of Obesity
Obesity is a medical condition that is associated with a person having an excess amount of body fat, which could affect their health. Doctors usually suggest that a person is obese if they have a high Body Mass Index (BMI) – typically 30 or greater. BMI is a tool used by doctors to measure obesity. It assesses if an individual is at an appropriate weight for their height, age, and sex.
A BMI between the score of 25 and 29.9 means that an individual is carrying excess weight, i.e. they are overweight. A BMI of 30 or over suggests that a person is obese. However, it’s important to keep in mind that other factors, like waist-to-height ratio (WtHR), waist-to-hip size (WHR), and the distribution and amount of fat on the body also plays a part in determining how healthy a person is in terms of weight and body shape.
There are many direct and indirect causes that contribute to obesity. Genetics, behavior, and environment are among the primary contributors to obesity. In the world we live in today, it is very easy to adopt unhealthy behaviors when it comes to food choices, effort to maintain your health, and amount of physical activity that you do. However, genes could also cause disorders that may result in obesity.
Deciding what to do about your obesity with regards to treatment varies from person to person. If you or anyone you know struggles with obesity, it’s important to address the issue as early as possible. There are multiple methods for addressing obesity, but CBD seems to be one of latest crazes.
How and Why CBD Could Help in the Treatment of Obesity
To understand how exactly CBD could help with weight management, we need to understand how cannabinoids affect the body. But, more specifically, we need to address how CBD works together with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS consists of different receptors that can be found all over the body, but predominantly in the immune system and brain. It’s the CB1 and CB2 receptors that are known to interact with CBD. In other words, when CBD is consumed, the receptors of the ECS react. While there are already naturally produced cannabinoids in the body, CBD can give the system a much needed boost.
In addition to the receptors and the signalling chemicals, the ECS is also made up of metabolic enzymes. In fact, research has found that the ECS is directly linked to multiple metabolic functions; like storing energy and transporting nutrients.
There are a variety of mechanisms at work when it comes to how CBD helps with weight loss. For starters, CBD could act as an appetite-suppressant. While THC is known for stimulating the appetite (think munchies), CBD has been found to have the opposite effect. This is because of the hypothalamus which is the part of the brain that controls appetite. It regulates the secretion of leptin and ghrelin which are two different hormones that affect appetite in different ways.
While ghrelin is known to stimulate hunger, leptin creates the feeling of being full. CB1 receptors trigger the neural circuit of the hypothalamus which regulates ghrelin, and this is why THC creates the feeling of being hungry. CBD, on the other hand, is an effective CB1 blocker, and this means that it is able to suppress the appetite.
In addition to the above, CBD plays an integral role in what is known as “fat browning.” This means that CBD is able to convert what is typically white-colored fat tissue that stores energy, to brown-colored fat tissue which burns it. This is important because brown fat is able to burn calories to generate heat, and that’s why it is typically known as the “good” fat – it metabolizes rather than burns fats.
Medical Findings: Effects of Cannabinoids and CBD on Obesity
Research has discovered that CBD does, in fact, have a direct effect on the metabolism. In 2016, Korean researchers released a study on the topic which was published in the scientific journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. After they had carefully monitored CBD and the effects that it had on immature fat cells (preadipocytes), they were astonished to find that CBD as three ways of initiating “fat browning,” rather than just one way.
Researchers haven’t only discovered that CBD stimulates genes and proteins which play a part in the breaking down of fat, but they also found that CBD can boost the activity and number of mitochondria, which magnifies the ability of the body to burn calories. Also interesting, they found that CBD could reduce the expression of proteins that are involved in making new fat cells in the body.
Medical Benefits of Using CBD to Treat Obesity
Studies have suggested that CBD has a direct impact on metabolism. But, the most important thing about CBD is that it’s a lot healthier and safer to use than just about any of the “diet pills” or supplements that are available for weight loss. CBD doesn’t come with any adverse side effects and there is no risk of overdosing or developing an addiction.
In addition to directly helping with weight-loss, it can also help to treat chronic pain which may prevent you from exercising. Pain is very common in obese people, and if that pain can be reduced, exercising becomes possible and might even be enjoyable. CBD can also give you natural energy which could boost your mood and motivate you.
How to Take CBD for Obesity
CBD can be taken in a variety of different forms, including oil tinctures, capsules, vapes, topicals, and sprays, to name only a few. Which product suits you is all up to your specific preferences. We are all different and what works for one individual might not work for another. However, in the case of obesity; tinctures, capsules, or vaping would work best. After all, you are not going to lose weight by simply applying a topical to the surface of the skin.
What about dosing? Well, the exact dose that you need will depend on how your body metabolizes CBD. The only way that you are going to know this is by experimentation. To find the proper dosage that your body requires, it’s important to start off with very small amounts of CBD. Take the smallest amount that is recommended on the product label. You should stay at that dosage for a few days, and increase it in small increments if you are not experiencing the desired effects.
It can take a few days or even weeks before the entire effects of CBD are experienced, so you will need to be patient during the process of finding the right dosage for your body.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Obesity
CBD has shown great promise working as an all-natural solution for managing as well as maintaining a healthy weight. But, it’s important to remember that you should always keep a “low and slow” strategy and stay away from higher dosage levels.
Although research is ongoing, research thus far has found that CBD could suppress the appetite and boost the metabolism through the process known as “fat browning.”