CBD for Weight Loss: A High Hope or Hoax?

CBD use is on the up and up, especially as its potential health benefits are becoming more researched and explored. Dieters may also turn to CBD for weight loss, but does it actually work?

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a substance derived from the marijuana plant. Interestingly, too, everyone has their own endocannabinoid system (ECS) that mostly consists of endocannabinoids, enzymes, and receptors in the body. 

The human ECS is involved in many bodily processes, including those linked to appetite, immunity, memory, metabolism, mood, reproduction, sleep, and stress. Using external CBD is believed to act on this complex system and promote homeostasis in the body. 

Despite having knowledge of the ECS for decades, the popularity of CBD is fairly recent. CBD truly is on the up and up, filtering into countless products and stocking onto CBD store shelves. But really, CBD products include oils, gummies, teas, syrups, just to name a few… 

Consumers turn to these products for reasons made possible by their in-house ECS. Growing research suggests CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and can be effective for seizures, multiple sclerosis, and other health conditions as well.

Prospective and current users may also be turning to CBD for weight loss. As researchers and health goers aim to lower obesity rates, could CBD be a contending solution? We explore what CBD is and if it could help shed weight here!


Defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana is a “greenish-gray mixture of the dried, shredded leaves and flowers of Cannabis sativa, the hemp plant.”

The marijuana plant contains more than 100 compounds known as cannabinoids, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD being most common. THC is the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana, responsible for causing the “high” effect. CBD, on the other hand, does not produce this intoxicating effect. 

Instead, CBD oil is often used in hopes to manage pain and improve nightly shuteye. Dieters may also turn to CBD oil in hopes to lose weight. But does CBD for weight loss actually work? 

CBD for Weight Loss

There are many hypotheses on how CBD could lead to a healthy weight. These are mostly related to altering certain types of fat cells and regulating appetite.

CBD & Fat Cell Alteration

Fat cells, also known as adipocytes, store energy in the body. But the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition details these fat cells are much more than storage containers.

Small adipocytes in lean individuals promote metabolic homeostasis. However, enlarged adipocytes of obese individuals promote inflammation and increase the risk of insulin resistance, which could lead to type 2 diabetes.

Fat cells are also broken down into two dominant types, including white (WAT) and brown adipocytes tissues (BAT). White cells stuff themselves with fat molecules, in which overloading can lead to obesity. 

Brown fat cells, however, burn energy to generate heat and protect the body from cold. These brown cells are dominant in babies and hibernating mammals. Active adults also show to have more brown fat, though the cells tend to decline with age. 

Animal studies have propelled curiosity regarding brown fat as a therapy for obesity and diabetes. Researchers continue to explore how and if certain dietary factors can turn WAT into BAT, in which CBD oil has become an agent of interest.

Interestingly, a 2016 study published in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry shows cannabidiol promotes browning of white adipocytes. CBD also increased protein expression levels of CPT1, ACSL, SIRT1, and PLIN while down-regulating JNK2, SREBP1, and LPL. Or, in other words, different proteins and enzymes that help regulate metabolic functions of fat. 

Taken together, the data suggests CBD may be helpful for browning white fat cells, increase fatty acid breakdown, and lessen the formation of new fat cells.

CBD & Appetite Regulation

THC is known to lead to those so-called “munchies,” in which users often crave foods often rich in sugar and fat. It also can increase hunger levels and satisfaction when eating. So the question is, “Does CBD oil also lead to those notorious munchies?”

Some research speculates CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors, especially CB1, play a role in appetite control and regulation. More specially, promoting CB1 signaling can increase appetite and stimulate feeding while blocking suppresses hunger.

On the flip side of the coin, CBD oil may lessen both nausea and pain. This could help increase appetite and food intake, in turn, leading to weight gain.

All-in-all, the research is mixed on whether or not CBD is effective for regulating appetite to, in turn, control food intake. 

The CBD Weight Loss Results Are In…

There is no denying what these studies show is interesting and convincing.  But before taking CBD oil for weight loss or other intended remedies, consult with a doctor beforehand. They can help recommend a safe dosage and product to lower the risks of potential side effects of CBD.

While CBD is mostly considered harmless, WebMD highlights some reported side effects:

  • Dry mouth
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Signs of liver injury, though is less common

All-in-all, CBD shows to improve health in a number of ways and could be a complement to already proven weight loss strategies. But it is important to realize using CBD products is not a magic pill to shed weight on its own.

At the end of the day, go back to basics for what truly works for sustainable weight loss. Fundamentals of reaching and maintaining a healthy body weight include:

  • A nutrient-dense diet, particularly rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fat sources. Limit the intake 
  • Regular exercise, ideally with a blend of cardio and resistance training. Less sitting and more moving can really move mountains when it comes to good health.
  • Sleep hygiene, as quality sleep regulates appetite and keeps energy levels peaked to be active.
  • Stress-management, including positive coping techniques irrelated to emotional eating. 

Besides, smashing down CBD-infused ice cream, burgers, candies, etc. can pack on some serious calories…