CBD may have a number of benefits, including reduced anxiety, natural pain relief, and improved heart and brain health (1, 2, 3, 4).
However, little is known about the effects of CBD on weight loss.
This article explores the current research on CBD and how it affects your weight.
It’s the second most abundant cannabinoid — after tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — and composes up to 40% of the plant’s extract (6).
Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive effects, meaning that it does not cause a high (7).
However, CBD affects your body in other ways. It’s thought to stimulate certain receptors to reduce pain, anxiety, and inflammation (8).
It stops the breakdown of anandamide — a chemical often referred to as the “bliss molecule” — in your brain. This allows anandamide to stay in your system longer, helping relieve pain and boost brain function (8, 9).
CBD also regulates the production of inflammatory molecules called cytokines, thereby reducing inflammation and pain (8).
What’s more, CBD may also help treat symptoms of depression.
However, because human research is currently limited, the full effects of CBD on health are still unknown (10, 11, 12, 13, 14).
CBD has been purported to improve other aspects of health, including weight loss. A few of its potential effects are outlined below.
May boost metabolism and reduce food intake
Preliminary research suggests that CBD may reduce food intake and boost metabolism, which could promote weight loss.
For example, animal studies indicate that CBD affects weight by interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors in lymphoid tissue and the brain. These receptors are thought to play important roles in metabolism and food intake (15, 16).
In a two-week study, rats were injected with CBD daily at doses of 1.1 and 2.3 mg per pound of body weight (2.5 and 5 mg per kg). Both doses produced significant reductions in body weight, with the higher dose having the most pronounced effect (17).
It’s important to note that CBD was injected, not given orally.
In another rat study, CBD led to a significant reduction in food intake compared to other cannabinoids, including cannabigerol and cannabinol (18).
While such results are promising, not enough human studies support these findings, and more research is needed.
May promote ‘browning’ of fat cells
Two types of fat — white and brown — exist in your body.
White fat is the predominant form, responsible for storing and supplying energy while insulating and cushioning your organs (19).
It’s also the type of fat most associated with chronic illnesses — such as diabetes and heart disease — when accumulated in excess (20, 21).
On the other hand, brown fat is responsible for generating heat by burning calories. Individuals with a healthy weight tend to have more brown fat than overweight people (19).
You can convert white fat to brown by exercising, getting adequate sleep, and exposing yourself to cold temperatures (22, 23).
Interestingly, research shows that CBD may aid this process.
A test-tube study found that CBD led to “browning” in white fat cells and enhanced the expression of specific genes and proteins that promote brown fat (24).
However, human research is needed to confirm these effects.
Marijuana use is associated with lower body weight
For example, a review in over 50,000 people noted an obesity rate of 14–17% among those who used cannabis at least 3 days per week, compared to 22–25% for those reporting no marijuana use in the past 12 months (25).
That said, researchers believe that cannabinoids as a whole — including CBD — affect appetite, metabolism, and other weight-related body functions (26).
Summary CBD may promote weight loss by reducing appetite, boosting metabolism, and encouraging the “browning” of fat cells. However, research is currently limited, and more human studies are needed.
Although CBD may have a beneficial effect on appetite and weight loss, it may conversely cause weight gain.
In one study, researchers interviewed 117 parents of children being treated with CBD to control epilepsy symptoms.
However, studies show mixed results on the effects of CBD on appetite.
One 3-month study gave 23 children with Dravet syndrome — a type of epilepsy — up to 11.4 mg of CBD per pound of body weight (25 mg per kg). Some children experienced increases in appetite, but others experienced decreases (28).
Additionally, a recent review in 2,409 people who use CBD found that 6.35% experienced increased hunger as a side effect (29).
More research is needed to understand the full effects of CBD on appetite, as it seems to vary. Many factors may influence hunger when taking CBD, including genetics and the type of product used (28).
Summary Some studies indicate that CBD use may encourage weight gain by increasing appetite — even though others suggest the opposite. More research is needed.
More research — especially in humans — is needed to determine how this marijuana product affects weight. The findings that exist are relatively weak and inconsistent.
It’s best to try other weight loss tips instead — especially because CBD products can be expensive.
However, current research does not show a clear effect on weight.
Though some studies indicate that CBD may boost metabolism while reducing body fat and appetite, others show an increase in appetite.
Until more research is completed, it’s best to rely on other, more evidence-based methods — such as dietary and lifestyle changes — to lose weight.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.