We now live in an age where obesity is classified as an epidemic. The United States is one of the ‘fattest’ and unhealthiest nations in the developing world, in spite of the incredible amount of money spent on healthcare. Lack of exercise and poor diet are the twin culprits, although our reliance on prescription medications doesn’t help either.
On the plus side, there is an earnest desire for people to lose weight, which is why the weight loss industry is worth an astonishing $66 billion! But this, added to the fact that fewer people are dieting and more are gaining weight, tells us two things: One, weight loss supplements are fundamentally ineffective; and two, they are very, very expensive.
Moreover, the inconsistency (to put it mildly) of the weight loss “industry” is probably more sketchy and less regulated than the current state of the cannabis industry. Google ‘weight loss scams,’ for instance, and you get 5.76 million search results! There have been some shocking scams over the years, including vibration machines, weight loss pills (containing poisons such as arsenic), and ‘Vision-Dieter Glasses,’ just to name a few.
CBD, the non-intoxicating component in marijuana, is said to decrease chronic pain and alleviate anxiety and depression. Proponents of the cannabinoid also suggest it can serve as an ideal weight loss tool, which has prompted skeptics to claim it is yet another scam.
Is CBD oil to lose weight a scam? Well, there’s no arguing with science (that’s the whole point, right?), so let’s see what some recent research has had to say.
Don’t Fool Yourself: There ARE CBD Oil Scams Out There
First of all, we have to bring it to your attention that there are CBD oil scams out there. However, the unscrupulous companies involved in these schemes don’t use high-quality CBD in their products. Pure CBD oil of the highest quality is extracted from industrial hemp via CO2 extraction, and such organizations that use quality oil also include independent third-party lab testing results of their products to guarantee both purity and content.
Scam CBD sellers tend to include low-grade oil via ethanol (or other solvent-based) extraction, in what is little better than trying to do it yourself in your basement. The result is a liquid that contains a little CBD (along with some other cannabinoids and terpenes), but not in the quantities needed to be effective in terms of any legitimate medicinal function. Moreover, these solvent-based extracts usually contain unnecessary and potentially harmful components — after all, scam artists are not going to reveal the REAL ingredients, are they?
They are also guilty of grossly overstating the possible impact of their CBD oil. Legitimate companies issue disclaimers which acknowledge that cannabidiol is not FDA approved, and is not guaranteed to work for everyone. Scammers on the other hand give their products grandiose names such as ‘Hemp Oil Miracle Pill’!
In summation, when purchasing CBD oil for ANY purpose, make sure it follows these criteria:
- The brand offers a money-back guarantee; usually 30 days.
- The company posts third-party testing data on its website.
- The CBD oil is extracted from the industrial hemp via CO2 extraction with no chemicals or solvents involved.
- The oil is full-spectrum and not isolate (unless you specifically need or are looking for a CBD isolate. Learn what the difference is between the two here).
- Each serving contains at least 4-10 mg of CBD.
- The hemp is grown on an FDA-compliant farm, or by a reputable firm in Europe (the European Union has excellent regulations for organic hemp farms).
Can CBD Help with Weight Loss?
Although CBD is not marketed specifically as a weight loss tool, there is definitely research that backs up assertions that you can use it to shed a few pounds.
The old cliché that weed gives you the munchies and makes you fat has been comprehensively rebuffed in recent years – while some forms of marijuana do increase appetite (and are used to help cancer patients on chemotherapy), there are also strains capable of suppressing appetite and boosting your metabolism.
A study published in the journal Obesity in 2016, for instance, looked at 786 native Alaskan adults in a community known for a high rate of cannabis use. 57.4% of the study population used weed, and these individuals had a lower body fat percentage and BMI than non-users.
Moreover, Murray Mittleman, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, told Time Magazine in 2013 that weed users had lower fasting insulin levels and were less resistant to insulin produced by the body. He was referring to research from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which analyzed 4,600 men and women between 2005 and 2010. 48% of them used marijuana at least once in their lives, and 12% were current weed users.
Unlike so many other studies, this one controlled for various factors such as income, sex, age, alcohol use, cigarette smoking, and physical activity. After appropriate adjustments were made, those who were currently using marijuana had a fasting insulin level 16% lower than the rest of the group.
This is all fine and good, but the above studies related to marijuana use, which includes the psychoactive compound THC. What we want to know is, is CBD capable of producing weight loss effects by itself?
Recent research suggests it can.
CBD as an Appetite Suppressant
Cannabinoids such as CBD work on the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which has been said to be one of the most crucial physiological systems in the human body. It organizes and mediates multiple important functions, including mood, sleep, and yes – appetite.
The two best-known cannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2, and it is now believed that the ECS is vital in preserving homeostasis, a generalized term used to describe keeping the body in balance.
This is why CBD is capable of stimulating appetite in people in dire need of nutrition (such as cancer patients on chemotherapy), while at the same time suppressing appetite in those who need to lose weight. The active compound helps keep the body in balance, so if you need weight gain it helps you eat, but if you are overweight, it curbs your desire to chow down.
A 2012 study published in Psychopharmacology tested the impact of three cannabinoids – CBD, CBN, and CBG – on the appetite of rats. The researchers found that only CBN increased the appetite of the rats, while CBG and CBD both decreased it.
CBD Could Boost Your Metabolism
Another study, published in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry back in 2016, showed that CBD played a major role in the ‘fat browning’ process. Brown fat is a specialized deposit of fat that can produce heat and increase energy expenditure.
There are two types of fat in our bodies: white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue. While babies have brown fat, it usually disappears as they get older, so by the time we all reach adulthood, our bodies are almost entirely comprised of white fat. (This is a shame, because brown fat helps you burn calories)!
In any case, the study involved researching the effects of CBD on immature fat cells known as preadipocytes. Overall, the research team concluded that cannabidiol helps with:
- The stimulation of proteins and fat genes that encourage the oxidation and breakdown of fat.
- Increasing the activity level and number of mitochondria in the body’s cells, which helps burn more calories.
- Reducing the expression of proteins involved in the generation of fat cells (a process known as lipogenesis).
Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Neuroendocrinology showed that the ECS is capable of stimulating specific areas of the body involved in metabolism, such as the skeletal muscles and GI tract. This happens due to anandamide and 2-AG, which are two naturally-occurring compounds in the body that interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. As CBD stimulates receptors in these areas, it could help metabolize the compounds absorbed from food during the digestion process.
While overstimulation of the CB1 receptor can lead to symptoms such as high blood pressure and abnormally high cholesterol levels, CBD is a CB1 antagonist, so it will not cause such issues.
Proper Dosing of CBD For Weight Loss
Due to the uniqueness of everyone’s endocannabinoid system, CBD does not affect any two people in precisely the same way. There are a host of factors that influence its efficacy, including genetics, previous history of use, general health, weight, ethnicity and so on. Therefore, while you may find that 15 mg of CBD a day works wonders for suppressing appetite and boosting weight loss, your friend may require up to 50 mg a day to achieve the same results (or, he could not experience any results at all).
In terms of properly dosing CBD oil for weight loss, it is always wise to start small and adhere to the old medical mantra, ‘minimum effective dosage’.
In this instance, we recommend beginning with as little as 5 mg of CBD, and maintaining the dose for several days. Increase your CBD intake as necessary, and continue upping the dosage every few days if you don’t feel any different. It is normal to take up to 30 days for the full range of CBD’s effects to be felt.
Also, please note that CBD is NOT a miracle cure, and no reputable CBD seller or manufacturer should ever claim otherwise. And of course, if you are using CBD for weight loss purposes, don’t expect it to work if you eat fast food three times a day and your exercise routine consists of struggling to twist the cap off your bottle of beer!
Final Answer – Is CBD Oil for Weight Loss a Scam?
With a relative degree of confidence, we can say that CBD oil for weight loss is NOT a scam. There is enough evidence of CBD’s positive effect on weight loss to suggest that it has potential that warrants further investigation.
And although research is ongoing, studies have shown that CBD could help curb your appetite, boost your metabolism, and control insulin levels in diabetics. Although the compound is not generally used as a weight loss supplement, it is at worst a nice possible side effect if you use it for chronic pain, anxiety, depression, or insomnia.
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