Question: Does CBD Make You Hungry?
Posted on May 6th, 2022
CBD is a hot topic of discussion everywhere. As scientists publish more reports about their research on CBD and its benefits, people are asking all types of questions about how they can use CBD to support their health. One popular question relates to appetite. Many people assume that because CBD comes from the same Cannabis plant that is the source for marijuana, then it can increase your appetite because marijuana cause people to get the “munchies.” But is that assumption correct about CBD? Does CBD make you hungry? This article will sort out some of the facts that will help you answer that question.
What is the Connection Between Appetite and Hunger?
A lot of people use the words “appetite” and “hunger” interchangeably, but from a medical point of view, these are not exactly the same thing.
Hunger is a physiological response. It starts in your body. It is caused by a complicated network of signals from the brain, neural system, your stomach and your digestive system. The two main hormones that control hunger signals are ghrelin and leptin. When your body has not had food in it for a while, the level of your blood sugar drops. Your stomach then sends a signal that it needs fuel. Your GI tract produces a hormone called ghrelin. This hormone tells your brain to produce more gastric acid and motility in your GI tract. So, your body gets a signal that it needs to eat. Your hunger triggers your appetite.
Your appetite is a psychological response. It starts in your brain. It is a desire to eat, but you can actually have an appetite without your body feeling hungry. Various environmental factors can affect your appetite. For example, sometimes the smell of food or seeing other people eat can stimulate your appetite. Boredom and your emotions can also affect your appetite. Illness and pain can decrease your appetite.
After you eat a certain amount of food, your fat cells produce leptin. This is a hormone that tells your brain that your body now has enough calories and you no longer need to eat anymore. The hunger signals stop.
Cannabinoids and Appetite
A cannabinoid is a plant chemical in the Cannabis plant that interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system, also known as ECS. This system is a complex neural network of signals and receptors. It regulates and balances essential functions of the body including memory, sleep, pain, emotion processing, immune responses, eating, and more.
The brain has many types of receptors, and among them are cannabinoid receptors, also called CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors regulate the activity of neurotransmitters. When a cannabinoid binds with the CB1 receptor, one of the things that can happen is appetite stimulation.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a cannabinoid that binds with CB1. THC is the main cannabinoid in marijuana. When bound with CB1, THC will impact the balance of the body functions modulated by CB1, including appetite stimulation. The extent of the impact depends on the concentration of THC. This is why marijuana users get the “munchies.”
Does CBD Make You Hungry? Effect On Appetite
So, does CBD make you hungry? CBD’s effect on appetite is not so clear-cut. Even though CBD is also a cannabinoid, when it is in its pure form, or an isolate, it does not bind to the CB1 receptors like how THC does, and it does not affect appetite in this manner (although it might affect appetite indirectly. More about that below.). However, if a CBD product is full-spectrum, that means the CBD contains traces of THC as well (less than 3%). Therefore, full-spectrum CBD may have some effect on appetite because the THC content can bind to the CB1 receptors.
Also, the effects of CBD may be different from person to person. The endocannabinoid system in each person is unique because genetics and lifestyle factors play a role in what the ECS balance looks like. When using a full-spectrum CBD product, one person may experience an appetite increase, while the next person might experience a decrease.
How CBD Affects Appetite Indirectly
– CBD interacts with the serotonin receptors. Serotonin affects mood, and mood affects appetite. Eating based on emotion is common. Intense emotions can make you lose your appetite, but it can also make you crave a comfort food.
– CBD can calm nausea. Nausea makes you feel like vomiting every time you look at food. You have no appetite to eat. If CBD can help you control nausea, it can help you get back some appetite so your body can take in nourishment.
– CBD can also relieve pain. When you feel less pain, you will enjoy eating more.
– CBD can help reduce anxiety. When you are anxious, your mind is in a “fight or flight” mode. Your body releases cortisol that suppresses your appetite so you can focus your energy on that quick decision. When you can reduce your anxiety with CBD, your appetite will not be suppressed any more.
CBD and Weight Loss
With all the discussion about CBD’s potential in improving appetite, and as you try to answer the question “does CBD make you hungry,” it might sound contradictory to talk about CBD for weight loss. However, CBD may be able to boost metabolism and reduce food cravings, which can help in weight loss.
A study on animals suggested that CBD can boost metabolism by interacting with the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and lymphoid tissue. A higher metabolism promotes weight loss. During a 2-week study, the animal test subjects that received a daily CBD injection lost a significant amount of body weight.
CBD may help with weight loss in another way. Researchers found that the human body has two kinds of fat: white fat and brown fat. The body uses white fat to store energy and uses brown fat to burn calories. People who are within normal weight range typically have more brown fat than white fat. The opposite is true for people who are obese.
During physical activity, your body converts white fat to brown fat as a source of energy. When you burn the brown fat, you burn off calories and lose weight. For every 3,000 calories you burn, you lose one pound of body weight. Scientists found that CBD may have the ability to help white fat cells convert into brown fat cells. That means more fat is available to burn off, resulting in more weight loss.
The therapeutic benefits of CBD also indirectly help in weight loss. For example, CBD can put you in a good mood, which means you might feel more motivated to exercise. Less stress may also reduce your desire to reach for sugary foods for comfort and motivate you to make healthier choices.
Given all of the information above, the conclusion is that CBD may boost appetite in some instances for some people, but it can have the opposite effect in other people. There is no “one size fits all” answer to the question, “does CBD make you hungry”. Because CBD’s effect can differ from one individual to another, you won’t know how it affects you until you try it yourself. If you plan to use CBD as a supplement, do consult with your doctor first to make sure that it is right for you. If possible, seek guidance from a doctor of complementary medicine who understands what CBD can do. Start with a low dose and keep a record on how you feel after you take it. If necessary, gradually increase it under your doctor’s advisement until you reach the dosage level appropriate for you.