Most of us are familiar with “the munchies” – that urge to eat you sometimes get after using cannabis. With the rising popularity of CBD, which also comes from the cannabis plant, some are wondering “does CBD make you hungry?”
And could that hunger lead to weight gain if you’re taking CBD on a regular basis?
If you’re watching your weight, that could be a cause for concern. However, on the flip side, if CBD is an appetite stimulant, it could be incredibly useful for those with conditions that make it difficult to keep weight on (such as cancer, eating disorders, or depression).
So, does CBD make you hungry? As with so many things related to CBD, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. Let’s dive in.
What Causes the Munchies?
When you’re stomach is empty, your body releases a hormone called ghrelin. Yes, reminds me of gremlin… do not feed after midnight… I digress.
This hormone sends a signal to your brain to alert you that it’s time to fill that belly. Once you start eating, and your stomach registers the refuelling, the hormone release turns off.
But when you use THC, this can increase the release of ghrelin and trigger the feeling of hunger even if your stomach isn’t empty. Hence, that craving for sweet or salty foods that has you raiding the cupboard.
What’s more, THC increases your body’s release of dopamine, the “feel good” chemical in your brain. So, as a result, eating becomes more pleasurable. It can even boost your sense of taste and smell. That’s why those stale Cheesies and week-old chocolate cake taste so much better when you’re high.
So, does CBD have the same effect?
Does CBD Make You Hungry?
Here’s where things get complicated. No, CBD won’t make you feel hungry, but it may indirectly increase your appetite.
Sorry, what? Aren’t those the same thing?
Actually, no. If you take CBD on a full stomach, unlike THC, it won’t send signals trying to trick your brain into hitting up the fridge. Even full spectrum CBD doesn’t contain enough THC to do that. It doesn’t interact with the CB receptors in your brain the same way, or send the same signals. So that’s good.
The thing is, because a lack of appetite may be a symptom of a health condition such as those listed above, CBD can play a role in bringing things back into alignment here.
You see, CBD works because of how it interacts with your endocannabinoid system. This is a system located all throughout your body – your brain, your bones, your skin, your digestive system, etc. And the goal of this system is to bring about balance in your body. So, if something in your body is out of whack, because of stress or pain for example, which is in turn decreasing your appetite, CBD can support the condition and balance out your appetite. Make sense?
Will CBD Help You Lose Weight?
This may come as a big surprise, but early research suggests it can help.
Wait, what? If CBD can stimulate appetite, how in the world will it help you lose weight?! Well, research suggests that CBD can help your body convert more white fat into brown fat.
It’s like this: there are two types of fat in the human body – white and brown. Most of that fat is white fat. It’s responsible for storing and supplying energy. It also shields and insulates your organs. And that’s important. But (and isn’t there always a but?), too much white fat can lead to things like heart disease and diabetes.
Brown fat, on the other hand, generates heat by burning calories. And you can actually convert white fat into brown fat. The easiest way is with exercise, but getting enough sleep is another good way to do it. In fact, research tells us that people who live an active and healthy lifestyle have more brown fat than the average person.
And, now we also know that CBD can help with the conversion too! It does so by enhancing genes that promote brown fat as well as protein. That’s definitely something to chew on if you’re watching your weight.
CBD an Appetite: Final Thoughts
Based on how CBD interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system, you can safely ditch the fear that CBD will lead to weight gain. It won’t give you the munchies or have you eating more than you normally would. That said, it does have the potential to help reeastblish balance in the body, which could in turn help if a health condition has reduced your appetite. So, all in all, good news for everyone.