The word is out; the obesity crisis has reached epic levels in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 71.6 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese. That’s nearly three out of every four people – an unacceptable number by any standard.
You’re here because you’re struggling to lose weight. You’ve tried to exercise more often, but you’re exhausted when you get home from work and can’t manage to build up the motivation. You’ve also tried to reduce your caloric intake – but suffering through the day with a growling stomach is easier said than done. Even when you do manage to diet successfully for a while, you gain the weight back.
You’ve decided to see if hemp oil for weight loss can give you a push in the right direction, and it’s our job to help you answer that question. We’ll do that by examining relevant clinical studies and finding out what modern science has to say on the subject. When you’re done reading, you’ll be an expert and will know if trying CBD for weight loss is the right decision for you.
This article is not medical advice. CBD oil is not an FDA-approved medication and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.
CBD for Weight Loss: Our Top Pick
We believe that BioMD+ makes the best CBD oil for weight loss. We love BioMD+ because the quality of the hemp extract is second to none. While many other CBD brands are using inexpensive hemp extracts imported from China, BioMD+ has gone through the work necessary to establish a relationship with an organic hemp farm in Colorado. That means you’re getting better soil, better growing practices and full adherence to the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s strict requirements for hemp farmers. You’re also getting a CO2 extraction process that leaves no residual solvents in the final product. We haven’t found a higher-quality hemp extract anywhere.
We also like BioMD+ CBD oil because each one has its own proprietary terpene blend selected to promote specific health goals. You can find a blend for stress reduction, a blend for pain and inflammation, a blend for general wellness and so on. Terpenes unlock the full potential of CBD, and we’re delighted to see a brand that takes the “entourage effect” seriously.
The even more impressive aspect of BioMD+ is the fact that the company offers a money-back guarantee. With so many CBD products out there, choosing the one that’s right for you is no easy task – particularly when you consider that most CBD companies will do absolutely nothing for you if you don’t like their products. It’s refreshing to find a brand with the confidence to guarantee that you’ll be satisfied with its products. If you don’t like it, you can get a refund. It’s that simple.
What Is Obesity?
Obesity is a term used to describe individuals who have high body fat to the point where their excess weight significantly increases the likelihood of morbidity or mortality. In the United States, we identify obesity by calculating Body Mass Index (BMI).
- 18.5-25.0 BMI: Healthy weight
- 25.0-30.0 BMI: Overweight
- 30.0 BMI and above: Obese
The primary underlying causes of obesity are overconsumption of calories and insufficient physical activity. There are several risk factors and health conditions, however, that can contribute to the development of obesity. Across the world, hundreds of millions of people are obese – and many more are overweight. Some experts have called the obesity epidemic the greatest public health crisis that the world will face in this century. After hypertension and cigarette smoking, obesity is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Worldwide, obesity drains hundreds of billions of dollars from healthcare systems each year.
Obesity isn’t just a major health concern. It’s also bad for your self-esteem. If it’s severe enough, it can prevent you from engaging in your favorite activities. Obesity may prevent you from attracting a mate. Those who are obese are less likely to find jobs and less likely to be promoted once they are employed. Obese individuals also typically earn less money than those of normal weight.
Obesity is also a condition that tends to perpetuate itself. Being overweight means that movement requires greater effort. You usually feel tired, so increasing your level of physical activity is difficult. Since moving requires so much effort, you need more calories than the average person simply to keep your body in motion. Since you’re eating higher-calorie meals to keep your strength up, you’re more likely to overeat. In otherwise healthy individuals, getting the body back down to a normal weight is a matter of breaking those cycles – and in some cases, taking a supplement such as CBD for weight loss can potentially help with that.
Risk Factors for Obesity
It’s an oversimplification to say that obesity only comes down to lifestyle choices. In fact, there are many risk factors that can increase your odds of having an unhealthy body weight.
- Food choices: There is a strong link between obesity and the consumption of sugary drinks. That’s why some nations and localities have moved to tax sales of those drinks. Some people will choose not to buy those drinks and will be healthier as a result. Others will contribute to the burden that they will later add to their societies’ healthcare systems.
- Few opportunities for physical activity: Think about how the world has changed since the days of our grandparents. Today, more people than ever work in offices, and few jobs require physical labor. We drive everywhere rather than walking. In many communities, urban sprawl has pushed points of interest so far apart that we couldn’t walk to most places even if we wanted to. Entertainment options such as on-demand media further fuel the modern sedentary lifestyle. You can go golfing next week; Netflix just added the latest season of your favorite show.
- Genetic predisposition: Scientists have identified certain genes that appear to increase the likelihood of obesity. If those gene mutations are present – and you have access to a plenty of food – you are more likely to become obese.
- Health conditions: Obesity is a hallmark symptom of certain severe genetic abnormalities such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. Conditions such as hypothyroidism. insulin resistance and any metabolic syndrome can also contribute to obesity.
- Prescription medications: Some types of prescription medications may contribute to weight gain. For example, antidepressants and antipsychotics both increase the risk of obesity.
Why Is It So Difficult to Lose Weight?
Dieting is simple; if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight. In practice, though, losing weight isn’t that easy. In fact, most people who go on diets do not experience permanent weight loss. Even if you do experience some weight loss from dieting, you’ll change your body’s rate of metabolism in the process and will have to cut your calories further if you want the weight loss to continue.
There is a solution for the dieting problem: You can increase your frequency of exercise to kickstart your metabolism and burn additional calories. However, finding the time to exercise is difficult considering that Americans are already the most overworked people in the world. Per week, Americans work about two hours longer than Japanese workers, five hours longer than British workers and nearly 10 hours longer than French workers. If you could have an extra 10 hours each week to yourself without a salary reduction, you would almost certainly manage to find the time for exercise.
There is no single factor that keeps our society overweight. Rather, it is a combination of smaller factors all leading to one major problem that’s incredibly difficult to solve.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid derived from the industrial hemp plant. Hemp has always been an important cash crop prized by the textile and food industries. As medical marijuana programs have been instituted around the globe, though, researchers have begun to examine all forms of cannabis – including industrial hemp – to learn more about their potential health benefits. CBD, it turns out, is a compound with some remarkable properties. Researchers are finding that CBD may have potential as a treatment for conditions ranging from chronic pain to epilepsy. It has virtually no known side effects.
To meet the federal government’s requirements for industrial hemp, a cannabis plant must contain less than 0.3 percent THC by weight. Assuming the plant meets that requirement, you can grow industrial hemp in all 50 states without violating federal law. Since industrial hemp has most of the THC bred out of it, it cannot produce the euphoria that you would experience when smoking marijuana.
Since an extract from industrial hemp provides a ready source of CBD without the THC, it creates an easy opportunity for researchers to learn more about CBD’s properties. We’ll discuss those properties shortly and explain the mechanisms by which CBD oil for weight loss might work.
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
We are fortunate to be alive during a time of remarkable scientific discoveries. Humans have known for millennia what happens when one smokes marijuana. It wasn’t until the late 1980s, though, that we began to understand why. Researchers discovered the endocannabinoid system in 1988. We’ve since learned that all mammals have endocannabinoid systems, and the THC molecule has a shape that allows it to bind to specific receptors in the central nervous system. Activating those receptors causes the characteristic high of marijuana. CBD, likewise, interacts with the endocannabinoid system.
The body produces its own cannabinoids. We call those endocannabinoids, and the body uses them to regulate certain functions such as appetite, sleep cycles, mood and pain sensations. Exogenous cannabinoids – those that come from external sources – also interact with the endocannabinoid system. Exogenous cannabinoids may disrupt or augment the body’s endocannabinoids.
How might the endocannabinoid system influence weight loss? That’s what we’re going to discuss next.
Scientific Studies About CBD and Weight Loss
Sustained, permanent weight loss isn’t just about going on a diet. As we discussed above, dieting alone simply doesn’t work. You hit a plateau, and then you give up and gain the weight back. Unless you have other health issues, experiencing permanent weight loss requires an overall change to your lifestyle.
- You need to burn calories faster than you consume them.
- You need to gain muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll burn at rest. That’s how you increase your metabolic rate.
- You need to increase your overall energy level. That’s what’ll give you the motivation to continue an exercise program that burns fat cells even though you’re tired from a long day at work.
- It’s very unlikely that you will lose weight if you take CBD for obesity without making any other lifestyle changes.
Let’s learn more about what modern science has discovered regarding the properties of CBD for weight loss.
- In 2012, Psychopharmacology published an animal study in which rats were given one of three different cannabinoids – CBD, CBG or CBN – and monitored for changes in their food intake. The rats in the CBD group reduced their food consumption, suggesting that CBD could potentially have appetite-reducing properties.
- In 2016, Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry published a study examining the effects of CBD on fat cells. The study found that CBD seems to promote fat browning. The body uses white fat cells as stores of energy. Those are the fat cells that you want to lose. Brown fat cells, on the other hand, burn themselves away to create heat. If CBD influences the oxidation and browning of fat cells, it may help to trigger weight loss.
- In 2013, the American Journal of Medicine published an examination of 4,657 men and women. The participants were asked privately about their marijuana use. Among those, 579 reported being marijuana users at that time. A further 1,975 were former marijuana users. The researchers conducting the study found that current marijuana use correlated strongly with lower fasting insulin levels, lower insulin resistance and smaller waist sizes. Why marijuana use has those effects is unknown.
- In 2015, PLOS One published a study in which obese mice were given JWH-015 – a compound that activates the CB2 receptors – or a placebo. The mice given JWH-015 lost weight and demonstrated signs of reduced anxiety in behavioral tests. The study’s results suggest that the endocannabinoid system may play a role in obesity and weight loss.
- In 2018, the International Journal of Molecular Science published a review examining the role that cannabinoids play in obesity. The review found that stimulation of the CB2 receptors reduces food intake and promotes fat burning.
- In 2011, Neuroscience Letters published a study in which rats were given CBD and monitored for weight gain. The rats given the largest CBD doses gained weight most slowly.
- In 2011, the American Journal of Epidemiology published a review in which researchers examined the health survey responses of over 50,000 adults. While the surveys reported overall obesity rates ranging from 22.0-25.3 percent, obesity rates among regular marijuana users were lower at 14.3-17.2 percent. Although we’re still learning the role that CBD may play in weight loss, it seems clear that cannabis use in general has a strong correlation with lower body weight.
- In 2009, Cardiology published a review examining the effects of the endocannabinoid system on obesity, diabetes and heart health. The review found that CB1 receptor antagonists – compounds that bind to the CB1 receptors and block their activation – promote fat loss, improve blood-glucose markers and reduce inflammation.
- In 2012, Orvosi Hetilap published a review examining the potential the CBD could have as a treatment for metabolic syndrome. The review notes that CBD slows the buildup of arterial plaque in individuals with high glucose levels. It further notes that CBD may alleviate disorders relating to overeating. The review concludes by saying that CBD could be beneficial for treating those disorders when used in conjunction with other therapies.
- In 2011, the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology published a review examining the potential role of endocannabinoids in the treatment of diabetes. The review hypothesizes that overactivity in the CB1 receptors may contribute to both obesity and diabetes. The review suggests that CB1 antagonists – such as CBD – could potentially help to restore the proper balance.
- In 2014, Current Neuropharmacology published a review examining CBD’s potential as a compound that can induce wakefulness. The review found that CBD shows excellent potential in that area. If CBD helps to make you feel less sleepy, it logically follows that it may increase your motivation to exercise.
CBD and Muscle Gain
To date, studies about CBD have primarily focused on its potential as a treatment for health problems – not on its potential for enhancing exercise programs. Thorsten Rudroff heads the Integrative Neurophysiology department at Colorado State University. He says that the potential ability of CBD to reduce post-exercise inflammation is “the next big area we need to explore.”
Any workout produces inflammation. The muscle fibers break down, and the inflammation is a signal that tells the body to build new muscle cells. The muscles come back larger and stronger; that’s a good thing. Too much inflammation, though, can lead to slow recovery after exercise. It can even lead to strains, sprains and pulls that inhibit your ability to work out at all. That’s why some heavy exercisers pop ibuprofen during their workouts. Prolonged ibuprofen use, however, can cause kidney damage.
Dr. Alan Beyer is the executive medical director of the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in California. He recommends topical CBD preparations to patients who have injured themselves while working out. He says that he has seen CBD “reduce inflammation in the injured tissues.”
Anecdotally, many athletes have also reported that taking CBD after a workout improves results by shortening the post-workout recovery period.
Hemp Oil Weight Loss Testimonials: What the Experts Say
Scientific studies have produced numerous results suggesting that taking CBD oil for weight loss could have a positive effect. Those are primarily animal studies, though, and it may be a while before we begin to see a significant number of human studies on this topic. That hasn’t stopped doctors from commenting on what they’ve seen, though, and their opinions have been mixed.
Dr. Rachna Patel uses CBD in her California medical practice. Speaking with an MSN reporter, Dr. Patel said that she hasn’t observed an increase in metabolism from CBD use. She has, however, seen weight loss in patients using CBD for chronic pain. With the pain lessened, those patients have gone on to resume more active lives. Their excess weight then came off naturally. Dr. Patel has observed the same in patients who used CBD to alleviate anxiety and sleep disorders. Improving sleep quality leads to higher energy levels. Reducing anxiety may lessen compulsive eating.
Other doctors feel differently about the potential benefits of CBD for weight loss. Dr. Allan Frankel of Los Angeles has been working with cannabis for nearly 20 years. He has developed several cannabis extracts with varying proportions of CBD and THC, and he recommends those extracts to patients with conditions ranging from brain damage to autoimmune diseases. He’s experienced some remarkable successes, and he believes that CBD does help patients control their weight.
CBD vs. Medical Marijuana for Weight Loss
As you’ve seen above, there is a good deal of evidence to support the notion that taking CBD for weight loss could work. At the same time, though, there is also evidence that cannabis users are thinner than those who do not use cannabis. If you live in a state with a medical marijuana program, then, it might be worthwhile for you to try medical marijuana for weight loss if you also have a health condition that qualifies for a medical marijuana license.
Medical marijuana, however, does come with certain downsides.
- If you’re using a supplement for weight loss, you’ll need to use it often. You may not enjoy feeling “high” or medicated every day.
- Despite the studies cited above, many people report increased appetite – not decreased – when using marijuana. THC stimulates the CB1 receptors, and stimulating the CB1 receptors seems to increase the desire for food.
- Regardless of state medical marijuana laws, your employer may conduct random drug testing. If that’s the case, you might not want to do anything that could cause you to test positive for THC use – and CBD might be the better option for you.
Ways to Take CBD Oil for Weight Loss
If you decide that taking CBD for weight loss is the right decision for you, you’ll most likely want to choose a consumption method that allows the CBD to stay in your system for as long as possible. We’ll discuss four different ways of taking CBD for weight loss.
CBD Tincture or Oil
Oil-based CBD tinctures are the most common CBD products. They’re also the most cost effective in terms of the amount of CBD that you get for the money. We like CBD tinctures for weight loss because they allow you to absorb a portion of the CBD right away. If you want to take your CBD after a workout, for example, you’ll get an initial burst of CBD from holding the oil under your tongue. The remaining oil will be processed by your digestive system, giving you long-lasting inflammation relief and appetite control that can last several hours.
CBD Capsules or Edibles
If you don’t care about the fast-acting relief of sublingual CBD or don’t care for the taste of CBD oil, CBD capsules or gummies might be your next best option. Unlike the experience you’d have with a CBD tincture, your digestive system does all the work when you use CBD gummies or capsules. It can be up to two hours before the CBD starts to enter your bloodstream. Once that happens, though, you’ll maintain a level of CBD in your blood for several hours. An additional benefit of edible CBD products is that they make consistent dosing easy because every capsule or gummy has exactly the same amount of CBD. When you’re dispensing oil from a dropper, consistent dosing is a bit more difficult. The drawback of CBD edibles is that they have higher production costs than CBD oils and therefore cost more to buy.
You can buy a CBD e-liquid that’s ready to use in any vape pen, or you can vape CBD oil in a vape pen cartridge designed for thick liquids. When you vape CBD, you inhale it in a vapor form that enters your bloodstream almost instantly through your lungs. The drawback, though, is that it leaves your bloodstream quickly as well. If you’re using CBD to control your appetite or recover after a workout, using a form of CBD that leaves your bloodstream quickly is probably not what you want. However, if the root of your weight problem is something else – such as acute pain flare-ups that prevent you from being active or anxiety attacks that trigger overeating – a CBD vape pen is a tool that you might want to add to your arsenal.
CBD Creams and Salves
CBD can absorb through the skin. Some physicians – such as Dr. Beyer, referenced above – recommend using transdermal CBD salves and creams to help injured muscles and connective tissues repair themselves more quickly. If muscle building is part of your CBD weight loss plan – and it definitely should be – you should consider keeping a topical CBD product around to use after particularly strenuous workouts.
CBD Dosage for Weight Loss
One of the best aspects of CBD is that it has virtually no known side effects. In studies, people have taken massive doses of CBD – up to 1,500 mg in some cases – daily with no ill effects. In rare cases, CBD users report mild side effects like drowsiness and dry mouth. CBD has no known toxic or lethal dose. You can generally experiment with CBD dosages without worrying that you’ll do any harm.
When you begin using CBD, we recommend starting with a small dose and waiting for several hours before deciding whether to take more. That way, you’ll have ample time to gauge the full extent of CBD’s effects on your body. An additional reason for starting small is that using too much CBD won’t really benefit you – but it’ll definitely sting your wallet. Work up gradually until you find your therapeutic dose.
Using CBD With Prescription Medication for Weight Loss
If you use any prescription medications, talk to your doctor before beginning a CBD weight loss regimen. There is a chance that CBD can interact with certain prescription medications. Your body uses various enzymes to break medications down and metabolize them. Doctors recommend specific medication doses based on how long those medications are expected to remain in the body. CBD inhibits the production of certain enzymes that that body uses to metabolize medications such as benzodiazepines, calcium channel blockers, statins, antidepressants and opioids. If your body metabolizes those medications more slowly, you may have higher than normal levels of those medications in your blood if you take CBD.
How to Choose the Best CBD Products for Weight Loss
To call CBD a hot product would be a major understatement. Word has gotten out among consumers that CBD could be one of the most important dietary supplements to hit the market in a long time, and new companies are launching left and right to meet that demand. We do not recommend simply buying the brand with the nicest packaging or the lowest price; it’s going to take a bit of research to find the best CBD for weight loss. These three pointers will help.
Learn About the Growing Conditions
One of the most famous properties of hemp is that it is a bioaccumulator. It draws undesirable elements out of the soil – such as heavy metals and radiation – and stores those elements within itself. If an industrial hemp crop is grown in soil contaminated with lead, for example, some of that lead could end up in the oil extracted from the hemp. The same is true of pesticides. Choose a CBD brand that grows its hemp in healthy soil according to organic practices.
Obtain Lab Test Results
It has increasingly become a standard practice for CBD companies to test their products via outside laboratories and publish the results on their websites. Don’t buy CBD from a company that isn’t willing to tell you exactly what is in their products. You’re looking for verified CBD and THC content along with assurance that the CBD oil contains no pesticides, heavy metals or solvents.
Choose Between Full-Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate
Did you know that there are two primary types of CBD on the market? The first type – full-spectrum CBD – is an unprocessed or minimally processed extract of the whole hemp plant. A full-spectrum extract gives you the terpenes from the original plant. Terpenes are chemicals that give plants such as flowers – and plant-based products like spices – their wide array of flavors and scents. Terpenes can work with CBD and provide enhancements to effects such as reduction of inflammation and relief from anxiety. On the other hand, a full-spectrum hemp extract may contain trace THC that could potentially show up in a drug test.
CBD isolate is a pure crystalline form of CBD that is refined from raw CBD oil. CBD isolate should not cause a positive result in a drug test. However, the refinement process that removes the trace THC also removes the terpenes. If you buy a product made from CBD isolate, you should choose a product with added terpenes to get the maximum possible benefit.
What Other Supplements for Weight Loss Exist?
If you have no serious health problems and simply want to lose a few extra pounds, it’s unlikely that you’re looking for medical intervention. You’re here because you’re looking for a natural weight loss supplement to give you the boost that you need to get past the endless cycle of dieting, gaining the weight back and dieting again. You can find many testimonials from people who have used CBD for weight loss with great success, but there are other natural weight loss supplements that you might consider adding to your regimen as well.
There are so many weight loss supplements on the market today that discussing them all would take this article far beyond its original scope. Instead, we’ll name some of the most popular supplements currently on the market and discuss what the available science says about them.
- Chromium picolinate: It is possible that chromium picolinate may improve insulin sensitivity in those with diabetes. However, studies have not found it to promote weight loss in humans. In 2010, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine ran a study in which 80 overweight adults were given either chromium picolinate or a placebo. All subjects were given basic nutritional education and monitored for 24 weeks. At the end of the study, there was no difference in BMI between the chromium picolinate and placebo groups.
- Garcinia cambogia: Animal studies have shown that garcinia cambogia may help to inhibit the production of fat. In 1998, though, the Journal of the American Medical Association ran a study in which 135 people were given either hydroxycitric acid – the active ingredient in garcinia cambogia – or a placebo. The subjects were also put on high-fiber, low-calorie diets. Both groups lost weight, but those in the garcinia cambogia group did not lose significantly more weight than those in the placebo group.
- Caffeine: Caffeine is a powerful stimulant, and you’ll find it in many weight loss supplements. Caffeine will give you the jitters if you consume too much of it, and it’ll give you a powerful headache when you stop using it. Otherwise, coffee and tea have been important parts of the human experience long enough to suggest that caffeine is a relatively safe way to give your metabolism a boost. Stay away from green tea extracts, though; they’ve been linked to liver failure. A 2005 study published in Obesity Research found evidence that caffeine works as a weight loss aid for overweight individuals.
- Orlistat: Orlistat is a drug – available by prescription or over the counter under the brand name Alii – that causes you to excrete dietary fat rather than absorbing it. Orlistat can cause uncomfortable issues in the bathroom for those who take it without reducing their fat intake. Studies show, however, that it works. A 2004 systematic review by Cochrane found a significant correlation between orlistat use and weight loss.
- Raspberry ketones: In 2005, the journal Life Sciences published a study in which mice were given large doses of raspberry ketones and fed high-fat diets. The raspberry ketones appeared to prevent the mice from gaining weight. It is important to note, though, that raspberry ketones for weight loss have not yet been evaluated in a clinical trial with human subjects.
- Konjac: Konjac is a plant with an edible tuber that consists mostly of fiber and has almost no calories. It’s cut into cakes and added to meals. It’s also used as a nearly calorie-free substitute for pasta. You can even buy konjac’s active ingredient – glucomannan – as a weight loss supplement. Glucomannan absorbs water. It takes up space in your stomach and may potentially reduce the amount of food that you need to eat to feel sated. Konjac can cause gastrointestinal problems if you eat too much of it, but it does work for weight loss. In a 2005 study published in Medical Science Monitor, 176 subjects were put on reduced-calorie diets and given fiber supplements. The subjects in the glucomannan group experienced the most weight loss.
- L-carnitine: This amino acid has become a hot product among those looking for the latest natural weight loss supplement. In 2016, Obesity Reviews published a review of nine studies with 911 total participants to gauge the effect of l-carnitine on weight loss. The researchers compiling the review found that test subjects given l-carnitine supplementation lost an average of 2.9 more pounds compared to control groups. However, the potential weight loss benefit of l-carnitine appears to decrease the longer you use it.
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