Hemp oil is a popular CBD product that many people use not only to maintain general wellness but also for medical purposes. It helps relieve chronic pain and promotes better sleep, while its anti-inflammatory properties help fight inflammation associated with various conditions.
It seems like hemp oil has found its purpose, but we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Recent research dives deeper into the potential uses of hemp oil and one of them is weight loss. We know that cannabinoids can influence many important processes in the body, so let’s see if losing weight is one of them.
Where Does Hemp Oil Come From and What Are Its Health Benefits?
Hemp oil comes from the hemp plant, which is a subspecies of the cannabis plant. The hemp plant has a different ratio of cannabinoids compared to other species of cannabis; it’s abundant in CBD (cannabidiol) and has low levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), making it therapeutic rather than psychoactive.
Therefore, the hemp plant is a major source of CBD for hemp oil. In fact, the terms hemp oil and CBD oil are often used interchangeably because they refer to the same thing. The CBD is extracted from the hemp plant and it’s then infused into a carrier oil such as MCT or olive oil to make it more bioavailable for the human body.
However, hemp oil shouldn’t be mistaken for hemp seed oil. The latter is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant and does not contain any cannabinoids. It’s still highly nutritious, though, as it contains considerable amounts of fatty acids, amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber.
CBD, the Therapeutic Cannabinoid
The health benefits of hemp oil or CBD oil are numerous. First of all, CBD is known as a fairly safe cannabinoid that causes very few side effects. It’s therapeutic and it doesn’t produce any psychoactive effects because of its low THC concentration, making it suitable for people sensitive to THC.
Additionally, the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD make hemp oil a good adjuvant therapy for numerous conditions, such as sleep problems, depression and anxiety, and chronic pain. The FDA even approved a prescription CBD oil for the treatment of two rare forms of childhood epilepsy.
What’s Important for Weight Loss?
When talking about weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise and a healthy diet go hand in hand as they’re the two basic elements. The mathematics of weight loss is simple: you should burn more calories than what you take in through food.
However, sometimes there’s more to a person’s body weight than just the food intake and calorie expenditure. The body’s ability to burn fat on a daily basis can be affected by a variety of other factors that will differ from person to person such as hormonal imbalances, genetic predispositions, and different metabolic processes, to name a few.
The endocannabinoid system has also been observed to have a role in regulating body weight, so let’s talk about its correlation to hemp oil.
Hemp Oil and Weight Loss – What Has Been Discovered So Far
Like its sibling THC, CBD interacts with the body through the endocannabinoid system and its two cannabinoid receptors, the CB1 and CB2 receptors located in different parts of the body.
The ECS regulates key metabolic processes, including energy storage and expenditure, and nutrient transportation. When CBD interacts with the cannabinoid receptors, it can influence these key processes and thereby help with the process of weight loss.
Let’s see how CBD can aid with weight loss.
CBD Can Suppress Appetite and Boost Metabolism
You probably already know that marijuana can give you the munchies and actually increase appetite, which is why it’s commonly given to people who need appetite stimulation. However, this is all THC’s doing as marijuana contains larger amounts of THC.
CBD, on the other hand, is a different story. Scientists believe that CBD acts more like an appetite suppressant. An animal study from 2018 indicates that by acting on CB2 receptors, CBD can aid weight loss as well as help regulate body weight.
Similarly, a different animal study from 2012 found that compared to other cannabinoids, such as cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN), CBD led to a notable reduction of food intake.
CBD Can Convert “Bad” Fat Cells Into “Good” Fat Cells
In case you didn’t know, there are two types of fat cells in the human body: white fat cells, or “bad fat” and brown fat cells, or “good fat.”
The role of white fat cells is to store energy and supply the body when it needs more energy, and it also envelops the inner organs. It’s called “bad fat” because when present in excess, it can lead to chronic diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
Brown fat cells, on the other hand, generate body heat by burning off stored calories. When you exercise regularly, you convert white fat to brown fat, a process also called fat browning. People who maintain a healthy weight have a significant amount of “good fat” in their bodies.
CBD has been observed to also be able to promote fat browning of the white fat cells. A 2016 test-tube research discovered that CBD can support calorie burn by activating some types of genes and proteins that play a role in fat browning. According to the study, this makes CBD a potential therapeutic agent for obesity.
CBD Can Help Insulin Regulation
Insulin is an important hormone produced by the pancreas that helps to regulate the levels of blood sugar. What happens is the pancreas releases insulin to move blood sugar to the cells where it gets converted into usable energy.
Sugar is present in different forms in most foods, so we consume it constantly. However, excess sugar can cause the system to start functioning irregularly. The insulin won’t work anymore, which will cause the blood sugar levels to rise, also called insulin resistance. When the blood sugar levels are high, the body is unable to burn fat effectively.
The findings of a 2018 animal study indicate that CBD—along with THC and CBN—can aid the cells in absorbing blood sugar and converting it to energy, thereby improving insulin resistance and regulating insulin levels. According to the study, CBD has “antidiabetic and anti-obesity properties.”
CBD Can Reduce Chronic Inflammation and Metabolic Disorders Associated With Obesity
CBD is well-known for its anti-inflammatory effects, and obesity is also known to lead to increased inflammation in the body. Obesity is also linked to several other types of metabolic disorders such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes, which seems to be connected to the overactivation of the CB1 receptors.
According to a 2017 review, animal studies demonstrated that CBD reduced high cholesterol levels by 25% in mice with obesity (and also increased blood sugar levels)and its anti-inflammatory effects promoted liver health.
The Bottom Line – Should You Use CBD Oil for Weight Loss?
While there is a lack of human studies on the connection between CBD oil and weight loss, the information we do have and the anecdotal stories indicate that CBD has the potential to aid weight loss and lead to an overall improvement of metabolism. That being said, using CBD oil alone for weight loss may not be the best idea. Many factors come into play for weight loss, so because it’s not confirmed yet, it’s better to not rely on it completely.
However, CBD oil or hemp oil is a product that’s usually very well tolerated, so you can try using it as a supplement, as you’ll surely benefit from it in many other ways. Make sure to always buy from licensed vendors who sell high-quality, lab-tested CBD oil, and if you’d rather avoid THC in any concentration, opt for full-spectrum CBD oil.