Does CBD make you hungry?

by Laura Howarth April 18, 2023

Does CBD make you hungry?

Perhaps one of the most famous side-effects of cannabis use is the infamous “munchies”. The THC content in cannabis is known to increase appetite and cravings for sweet and salty food. 

Given the close association with CBD oil, it would be natural to wonder if CBD could have a similar impact on appetite. Many CBD consumers are naturally curious about whether CBD could increase their appetite, and if this could lead to weight gain.

Some companies have also given consumers hope that CBD might decrease appetite and that it might one day be used in weight management.

At the moment, we do not have definite proof that CBD will have any impact on appetite. Anecdotally, we know that some people notice an increase and others a decrease in appetite, and some don’t notice any change.

Fast facts about CBD and appetite

  • There is no definite proof that CBD will have an impact on appetite.
  • High doses of THC can boost levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
  • There is no evidence to suggest that the amount of THC in CBD oil produces the same effects.
  • CBD may increase appetite, decrease appetite or do nothing.
  • Research is ongoing to learn how CB1 receptors impact appetite. 

CBD and THC explained

Before we delve into the details of CBD and appetite, we first need to understand the difference between CBD, CBD oil and THC. CBD and THC are two cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant.

CBD vs THC moleculeTHC is the intoxicating compound found in cannabis. Recreational cannabis users smoke, vaporise and eat the flowers of the plant, as the trichomes are rich in cannabinoids – THC being the most desirable because of the “high” it causes.

CBD is another cannabinoid that has a very different impact on the body. It doesn’t get the user high and is sold as a food supplement to support the endocannabinoid system.

CBD oil is a specific type of CBD product which is made of cannabinoids mixed with a carrier oil. It may contain very small amounts of THC, but legally, it cannot contain enough to get you high as the UK limit is set to 1mg

While they are from the same plant, CBD and THC are very different compounds that interact with the body in very different ways. While THC is known to have an impact on appetite, CBD is not known to have the same influence.

Does CBD make you hungry?

Some people assume that taking a CBD supplement will make you hungry because of the association with cannabis and THC.

THC makes cannabis users hungry because it binds to endocannabinoid receptor sites in the parts of the brain that release appetite-stimulating hormones. When the stomach is empty, the brain releases ghrelin, which stimulates our appetite and encourages us to seek out food.

Woman tummyHowever, THC is capable of triggering the release of ghrelin, even when the stomach is already full. It also continues to release ghrelin, even when the person has consumed enough to be satisfied. 

THC also increases dopamine output, meaning we derive more pleasure from our food. This is why cannabis users will often seek out comfort and other high-calorie foods.

CBD is not known to trigger the same response, so there is no reason to worry about getting the “munchies” when taking CBD oil or similar products. 

CBD could only trigger the munchies if it contained illegal levels of THC, so it’s important to check the certificate of analysis to confirm your product is legal.

Will CBD make me gain weight?

If individuals believe that CBD will give them munchies, the logical conclusion would be that CBD could also make you gain weight. There isn’t any evidence to suggest that CBD will make you hungrier or trigger your appetite, so there is no reason to think that CBD will make you gain weight.

If you add CBD to high-calorie foods and consume these in addition to your typical diet, then this could cause you to gain weight. However, this is not because of the CBD content, it’s simply because you are consuming additional calories.

Does CBD suppress your appetite?

At the opposite end of the spectrum, there is also speculation that CBD might suppress your appetite. This is because CBD is thought to be an antagonist for CB1 receptors, which means it could inhibit certain functions, including the release of ghrelin.

Mature man drinking waterWe don’t have any evidence to suggest this is the case, and CBD isn’t a recommended treatment for appetite control.

The role of CB1 receptors in appetite control has been explored in the past but with limited success. In November 2008, clinical trials for a drug called Rimonabant were stopped due to neuropsychiatric adverse effects. In short, it was linked to an increase in anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Rimonabant isn’t a CBD-based medicine, but it is a selective CB1 receptor antagonist, which means it blocks messages on specific receptors. The researchers wanted to know if blocking the endocannabinoid system was a suitable treatment for obesity.

The adverse side effects experienced meant that the clinical trials could not continue. There is still so much we don’t know about the endocannabinoid system and how it impacts the body. But there is no reason to believe that CBD will have a similar effect to this drug.

Could CBD be used to help me lose weight?

We believe CBD can help support healthy lifestyle changes that will allow you to lose weight, but it shouldn’t be treated as a weight-loss tool.

There isn’t enough evidence to suggest that CBD can help you to lose weight, but it can help to support your body in other ways. If you’re making big lifestyle changes, your body will need all the support it can get, and CBD can be the perfect addition to your daily routine in this instance.

CBD can help to support your endocannabinoid system to function efficiently, which will help your body to maintain a sense of balance, or homeostasis.

Conclusion

The question of CBD and its impact on appetite is one best left to the scientists. At the moment, we don’t have enough information to know if CBD has an impact on appetite and how this might be used in the future.

While we can be confident in the role of THC in appetite stimulation, we don’t yet know if CBD might one day be used as an appetite stimulant or suppressant. The best advice would be to pay attention to how CBD makes you feel so you can adjust your serving size and schedule accordingly.

Keeping a CBD diary can help you understand how it interacts with your body and allow you to adjust the serving size as required. However, you should be wary of any CBD seller claiming that their product will help to stimulate your appetite or help you lose weight. These claims are not allowed by law, and you should be wary of any company willing to make such claims.

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Laura Howarth
Laura Howarth

Author

Laura Howarth is a specialist CBD author based in Manchester, UK. She is passionate about sharing her love for CBD through educational articles and in-depth guides.


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