Hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) has numerous potential benefits. For some, this includes appetite suppression, while for others, the opposite is true. More research is needed to understand the role of CBD in appetite and weight management.

Marijuana contains a compound called THC that can trigger hunger. But what about THC’s chill AF cousin, CBD? Can CBD products – like edibles, oils, and tinctures – also kick off your cravings?

Here’s everything you need to know about CBD and appetite.

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Generally, CBD alone doesn’t have the same appetite-inducing effects as its psychoactive cousin THC. So, if you’re dropping CBD oil under your tongue or blending it into your morning smoothie, you’re not likely to feel those “raid-the-fridge-at-midnight” kind of vibes.

That said, everyone’s different! And some studies show it can boost appetite. For example, in one 2015 study of children using CBD to control epilepsy symptoms, 3 in 10 caregivers reported that CBD significantly increased their children’s appetite.

In another study looking at CBD use in children with Dravet syndrome — a type of epilepsy — some experienced increased appetite, while others experienced decreases. So, the effects of CBD on appetite are a mixed bag that could depend on factors like your genetics and the type of product.

THC and CBD are cannabinoids, the active components of the cannabis plant.

THC is known for its psychoactive effects and uncanny ability to make even the most ordinary snack seem heavenly. It stimulates the brain to release the hunger hormone ghrelin, increasing the desire to eat. THC can even make food taste better and enhance the sense of smell, making those snacks even more irresistible. So, if you’re consuming THC, prepare for the parade to the pantry!

Now, let’s talk CBD, THC’s calmer cousin. Despite being part of the same family, CBD dances to a different tune regarding appetite. While it doesn’t spark hunger like THC, its role is more nuanced, and research is ongoing.

CBD might not directly stimulate the appetite. Instead, it could indirectly reduce symptoms of conditions that lower appetite, like anxiety or chronic pain. For example, an animal study found that CBD may increase appetite by reducing symptoms of an upset stomach.

But why is there a difference if they are both cannabinoids? Evidence suggests that THC binds directly to your cannabinoid receptors as it resembles anandamide, an endocannabinoid you naturally produce. Although experts are not exactly sure how CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors, it doesn’t appear to bind like THC. These differences in binding could explain the different effects on appetite.

CBD, in its pure, unadulterated form, doesn’t have properties that directly cause weight gain. When you drop CBD oil under your tongue or slather on CBD-infused lotion, you aren’t doing something that magically packs on the pounds. However, the plot thickens a bit when you consider the holistic picture.

In a 2018 review of more than 2,400 people who use CBD, 6.35 percent noted increased hunger as a side effect. If this applies to you, and CBD cranks up your appetite, so you’re reaching for snacks more often, it could indirectly contribute to weight gain. But it’s not the CBD causing the weight gain — it’s the increased calorie intake.

So, CBD stimulates the appetite of some peeps, but it has the opposite effect on others.

A review of 11 clinical trials looking at the effects of CBD on appetite and body weight found that, most often, CBD reduced appetite. The authors noted a risk of bias in the results because of data and randomization issues. So, further research would help demystify the relationship between CBD and appetite suppression.

However, CBD may indirectly help with weight loss by reducing chronic pain and improving sleep, positively affecting weight loss efforts.

Furthermore, CBD may promote the ‘browning’ of fat cells. Say what? You have two types of fat — white and brown. White fat is your energy storage system and brown fat is responsible for heat generation.

CBD may help convert white fat to better-for-you brown fat. A test-tube study found that CBD led to “browning” in white fat cells and boosted specific genes and proteins that promote brown fat.

Additionally, if CBD helps you manage anxiety or chronic pain, it could indirectly support weight loss.

All that being said, while these potential effects sound promising, more research is needed to understand CBD’s role in weight loss fully. It’s also essential to approach CBD as one piece of the puzzle, not a magic drop that’ll melt away the pounds.

The relationship between CBD, appetite, and weight is complex. Unlike its psychoactive sibling, THC isn’t an automatic appetite inducer. But on the flip side, it’s not entirely immune to influencing hunger pangs, with research showing both appetite-stimulating and suppressing effects.

Some studies point to CBD as a potential ally in weight loss as it may reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, or help convert storage-friendly white fat to energy-burning brown fat.

The takeaway? While CBD promises numerous benefits, it’s essential to remember that its effects on weight and appetite are complex and vary from person to person. More research is needed to understand its effects fully.