How Does CBD Affect Your Weight?
Cannabidiol — better known as CBD — is a widely popular compound derived from the cannabis plant.
Although typically available as an oil-based extract, CBD also comes in lozenges, sprays, topical creams, and other forms.
CBD may have a number of benefits, including reduced anxiety, natural pain relief, and improved heart and brain health ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ).
However, little is known about the effects of CBD on weight loss.
This article explores the current research on CBD and how it affects your weight.
CBD is one of over 100 compounds, known as cannabinoids, found in cannabis ( 5 ).
It’s the second most abundant cannabinoid — after tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — and composes up to 40% of the plant’s extract ( 6 ).
Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive effects, meaning that it does not cause a high ( 7 ).
However, CBD affects your body in other ways. It’s thought to stimulate certain receptors to reduce pain, anxiety, and inflammation ( 8 ).
It stops the breakdown of anandamide — a chemical often referred to as the “bliss molecule” — in your brain. This allows anandamide to stay in your system longer, helping relieve pain and boost brain function ( 8 , 9 ).
CBD also regulates the production of inflammatory molecules called cytokines, thereby reducing inflammation and pain ( 8 ).
What’s more, CBD may also help treat symptoms of depression.
However, because human research is currently limited, the full effects of CBD on health are still unknown ( 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 ).
CBD is a cannabis compound shown to have beneficial effects on health, including pain relief and reduced inflammation. Still, research is ongoing, and CBD’s full effects are undetermined.
CBD has been purported to improve other aspects of health, including weight loss. A few of its potential effects are outlined below.
May boost metabolism and reduce food intake
Preliminary research suggests that CBD may reduce food intake and boost metabolism, which could promote weight loss.
For example, animal studies indicate that CBD affects weight by interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors in lymphoid tissue and the brain. These receptors are thought to play important roles in metabolism and food intake ( 15 , 16 ).
In a two-week study, rats were injected with CBD daily at doses of 1.1 and 2.3 mg per pound of body weight (2.5 and 5 mg per kg). Both doses produced significant reductions in body weight, with the higher dose having the most pronounced effect ( 17 ).
It’s important to note that CBD was injected, not given orally.
In another rat study, CBD led to a significant reduction in food intake compared to other cannabinoids, including cannabigerol and cannabinol ( 18 ).
While such results are promising, not enough human studies support these findings, and more research is needed.
May promote ‘browning’ of fat cells
Two types of fat — white and brown — exist in your body.
White fat is the predominant form, responsible for storing and supplying energy while insulating and cushioning your organs ( 19 ).
It’s also the type of fat most associated with chronic illnesses — such as diabetes and heart disease — when accumulated in excess ( 20 , 21 ).
On the other hand, brown fat is responsible for generating heat by burning calories. Individuals with a healthy weight tend to have more brown fat than overweight people ( 19 ).
You can convert white fat to brown by exercising, getting adequate sleep, and exposing yourself to cold temperatures ( 22 , 23 ).
Interestingly, research shows that CBD may aid this process.
A test-tube study found that CBD led to “browning” in white fat cells and enhanced the expression of specific genes and proteins that promote brown fat ( 24 ).
However, human research is needed to confirm these effects.
Marijuana use is associated with lower body weight
Although marijuana use is commonly associated with increased food intake, those who use marijuana products tend to weigh less than those who don’t.
For example, a review in over 50,000 people noted an obesity rate of 14–17% among those who used cannabis at least 3 days per week, compared to 22–25% for those reporting no marijuana use in the past 12 months ( 25 ).
As CBD is prevalent in marijuana, it’s likely involved in this relationship — although it’s unclear how.
That said, researchers believe that cannabinoids as a whole — including CBD — affect appetite, metabolism, and other weight-related body functions ( 26 ).
CBD may promote weight loss by reducing appetite, boosting metabolism, and encouraging the “browning” of fat cells. However, research is currently limited, and more human studies are needed.
CBD is a widely popular compound derived from marijuana and often promoted for weight loss. This article explores the current research on CBD and how it affects your weight.