Could CBD become part of a regime that helps you lose weight healthily? From “browning of fat” to metabolic support, research suggests that this laborious cannabinoid has many potentials.
How can CBD oil help you lose weight?
In these times we are under a lot of pressure with regards to thinness: from celebrity magazines to Instagram feeds that have been filtered in all ways, we are constantly bombarded with images of a “perfect” beach body. But let’s try to keep our feet on the ground: nobody is perfect and what is sold as an ideal is unattainable for most of us.
We are repeatedly told that being leaner is healthier, but is it really so? The reality could be much more complex. On the one hand, there are connections between obesity and health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. On the other hand, numerous studies have shown that it is possible to be healthy having a very different weight. The pressure to be thin can also lead to low self-esteem and follow dangerous fads with regards to diets. A sudden fasting period can deprive our bodies of the nutrients and energy we need to stay healthy.
When it comes to weight loss, any decision you make needs to focus on health. This does not mean that we do not understand the desire to get into that pair of cool jeans. Let’s be honest, we all wanted more confidence in ourselves during the beach season, but in the end every body on the beach is a beach body!
Having said that, if you feel heavy or think your health may benefit from losing a few pounds, we have what it takes. Along with a healthy diet and exercise, CBD oil could be a useful part of a weight loss regimen that works with your body, not against it.
The role of the endocannabinoid system (SEC)
The endocannabinoid system of our body helps regulate numerous biological processes, including the immune response, metabolic function and more. Its influence is exerted through a network of cellular receptors, with the two main types of receptors called CB1 and CB2. Neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids bind to these receptors, triggering various biological responses.
While CB1 receptors are concentrated in the central nervous system, CB2 receptors can be found on cells throughout the body. However, in people with obesity, CB1 receptors spread beyond the central nervous system, proliferating in adipose tissue. This suggests a connection between CB1 receptor activation and obesity.
In addition to endocannabinoids, some compounds external to our body can also affect the endocannabinoid system. These include CBD and other phytocannabinoids present in cannabis. CBD does not bind directly to CB1 and CB2 receptors, but it has been shown to act on the endocannabinoid system in complex and indirect ways.
Burn fat and “brown” fat
When it comes to weight loss and overall health, fat tends to have a bad reputation. But not all body fat is the same. Just as different foods contain healthy and unhealthy fats, even our body fat can be healthy or harmful. Did you know that fat cells actually have different colors?
White adipose tissue — or “white fat” —is the result of conserving excess calories. Too much white fat stored around the abdomen has been linked to an increased risk of metabolic disorders such as diabetes, as well as heart disease and other ailments.
In contrast, brown adipose tissue – or “brown fat” – is a healthy type of fat. Brown fat cells contain a high concentration of iron-rich mitochondria. This is what gives them their brown color. These fat cells burn calories to generate energy and can actually help fight obesity. Infants, hibernating animals and people with a healthy metabolic function tend to have a higher percentage of brown fat.
Well, it now turns out that CBD could promote the conversion of white fat into brown fat, in a process known as “fat browning”. A recent study published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry found that CBD increases the expression of genes and markers of specific proteins of brown fat. At the same time, CBD reduces protein levels associated with the generation of white fat cells. CBD also stimulates lipid metabolism (conversion of fat into energy), thus establishing itself as a promise for the prevention of obesity.
Metabolic health and appetite control
Obesity has been indicated as a risk factor for health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. The key to this connection is metabolic health. An excess of fat in the abdominal region has been associated with insulin resistance , a problem with blood sugar which is often a precursor to more serious metabolic disorders.
Insulin resistance occurs when cells stop responding correctly to hormonal insulin. The body then struggles to process the glucose and starts producing too much insulin to compensate. Therefore, blood sugar levels go from being too high to drop drastically due to excess insulin. The result is similar to a sugar discharge and a subsequent deficiency. It’s a roller coaster that makes you feel lazy, hungry and with sudden cravings.
Research suggests a link between the endocannabinoid system and metabolic regulation. Cannabinoid receptors are found in the brain, pancreas and gastrointestinal tract. They are an integral part of the networks that regulate food intake and appetite.
The CB1 receptor hyperactivation seems to play a role in visceral obesity, that is, against the unhealthy fat accumulated around the abdomen. Visceral obesity, in particular, has been linked to various health risks and the CBD could play a preventive role. Some studies have found that CBD can block the enzymes that activate CB1 receptors. Possible effects include reduced appetite and inhibition of weight gain.
It was also found that inflammation and oxidative stress play a fundamental role in the development of the metabolic syndrome. Through its action on the endocannabinoid system, CBD has been shown to have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties . This means that it could support metabolic health in a holistic way, acting through more than one mechanism.
In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Pathology found the “strong therapeutic potential” of CBD in the treatment of metabolic disorders. Although further studies are needed, researchers hope for a future of clinical practice involving CBD.
CBD for weight loss — The future looks bright
Although there is a lot of interesting research today on the benefits of CBD, most of them are still in the preliminary phase. That said, the future looks bright.
The CBD seems to promote a healthy “browning of fat”, in addition to playing a possible role in the regulation of metabolism. Proper metabolic functioning helps balance the highs and lows of blood sugar. This means having more constant energy levels and less sudden cravings. These effects can help you eat well, go to the gym and be more consistent when it comes to making healthy decisions.
Although further clinical studies are needed, CBD oil appears to be a very promising supplement. Together with diet and exercise it can in fact provide additional support for a healthy lifestyle that can lead to weight loss.