Treating Obesity with CBD – Benefits & Effects

Among the many benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD), it has also been gaining popularity as a weight management product that helps in weight loss. It should be noted that obesity is largely associated with weight gain caused by the accumulation of excessive calories in the body. Nevertheless, to understand how CBD works in preventing weight loss and obesity, it is imperative to first and foremost have an in-depth knowledge of how it works in the body, especially with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Obesity is a common complex disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 93.3 million adults (39.8 percent) and 13.7 million (18.5 percent) American children and teens were clinically obese between the years 2015 and 2016. This condition occurs when the body mass index (BMI) is 30 or more. This often happens when a person consumes more calories than he burns during his daily activities or exercises. The result is therefore that the calories accumulate over the years and result in excessive weight gain. The most common causes of obesity include having a sedentary lifestyle, eating foods high in fats and calories, pregnancy as well as sleeping problems which could lead to hormonal changes. Of course, obesity is also associated with certain medical conditions such as Type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, stroke, infertility, sleep apnea, high cholesterol and fatty liver disease. Obesity can be treated and the conventional treatment methods include lifestyle and behavioural changes, prescription weight loss medication, and weight loss surgery.

The endocannabinoid system is made up of many receptors which are located all over the body, but predominantly in the brain and immune system. When CBD is consumed it interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system, thereby giving it a boost. As a matter of fact, the CB1 and CB2 receptors are activated by cannabinoids, including CBD, but rather than binding directly to these receptors, CBD instead stimulates the naturally occurring cannabinoids in the body to activate them. By so doing, CBD helps in enhancing the performance of these receptors, thereby maintaining the proper balance in the body.

There are many mechanisms through which CBD helps with weight loss and obesity. First of all, unlike THC, CBD has been proven to act as an appetite suppressant. This all comes down to the hypothalamus, the region of the brain that controls appetite. This region regulates the secretion of ghrelin and leptin, which are known to stimulate hunger and create the sensation of being full respectively. CB1 receptors stimulate the neural circuit in the hypothalamus that regulates ghrelin and that explains why THC can generate the feeling of hunger. However, CBD on the other hand is an effective CB1 blocker, with the ability to suppress appetite. Studies have actually proven that CBD has the ability of controlling cravings and keeping hunger at bay by increasing levels of leptin.

Moreover, CBD plays a significant role in what is known as fat browning, which is another way cannabinoid helps in weight loss. It is worthy to note that brown fat burns calories to generate heat and that explains why it’s known as the ‘good fat’ since it metabolizes rather than stores calories. That said, a 2016 study revealed that CBD can stimulate fat burning, which inevitably breaks down fat and helps burn more calories. Detailed findings from this same study also showed that CBD can help reduce the activity of the proteins that are associated with the growth of fat cells. All these help in reducing body mass index, thereby also preventing obesity.

Nevertheless, the scientific evidence of the effectiveness of CBD in treating the symptoms of obesity is still in its infancy. Thus, there is a need for more scientific investigation.

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