And while all the foods and festivities really are fun, they also make not gaining weight an impressive feat. So much so that many of us are content to focus on damage control, perhaps balancing out that extra piece of pie with a brisk walk or two.
Thankfully, there's a better option. We're not proposing you abstain from holiday sweets altogether - no need to be masochists about it, right? - but we are proposing a way to make staying healthy throughout the holidays a little easier.
It's true: CBD might present the perfect way to keep your metabolism healthy this holiday season.
Interesting, right? Keep reading to learn how CBD could help you - and how it can even be used as part of a larger preventative nutrition strategy.
CBD for a Healthy MetabolismIf you think about it, a healthy metabolism is characterized by a few simple things. One of them is the body's ability to facilitate the flow of energy through itself...while generating as few metabolic byproducts as possible.
In some ways we humans are just like cars - after all, the type of 'fuel' we use to stay in motion determines how well our 'engines' run.
In other ways, however, we differ. Human metabolism is much more complex than your typical motorized engine; we can actually burn the same fuel sources in several different ways.
For example, genetic factors and activity levels go a long way towards determining how much energy we derive from carbohydrates vs. fats. Fat burning is preferable for several reasons, namely because it generates stable energy without many of the metabolic byproducts (i.e, free radicals) we mentioned earlier.
A person whose metabolism is predisposed to burning fat will also tend to keep their blood sugar stabilized...even while eating a sugary meal.
And it's in this area that CBD is looking more and more useful. According to a 2017 study it actually helps fat cells become more metabolically active...and burn other fat cells for fuel. And according to Dr. Bob Melamede, cannabinoids have a two-pronged approach, making fat-burning easier and sugar-burning safer.
CBD vs. SweetsContrast the above good news with its flip-side: the holiday blend of fatty foods, sugary treats, and alcohol-infused drinks can wreak havoc on our metabolism.
A site called Beyond Type 1 puts it honestly: "if your plan is to eat yourself into a food coma, you are not alone."
And while the majority of us aren't diabetic (either type 1 or type 2), hedonistic eating does put us a little closer to being on the insulin resistant spectrum. Just a few days of high fat/sugar/calorie eating is often enough to throw off one's insulin sensitivity and make it harder for their body to process energy.
According to the book CBD: A Patient's Guide to Medical Cannabis:
"CBD on its own was shown in 2006 to lower the incidence of diabetes in lab rats, and in 2015 an Israeli-American biopharmaceutical collective began stage 2 trials related to using CBD to treat diabetes.
Why's that? It goes back to the 2017 study on metabolically-active fat we mentioned earlier:
"Research has demonstrated that CBD helps the body convert white fat into weight-reducing brown fat, promoting normal insulin production and sugar metabolism."
To put it simply, CBD oil may be an effective supplement for anyone who wants to keep their blood sugar levels in check this holiday season.
Liver Metabolism (And Why It's Not As Boring As It Seems)What about the metabolism of CBD itself, though?
Well, CBD is generally absorbed in two ways: through blood vessels in the mouth, and through the liver. And while CBD is generally very gentle on the body, its effects on the liver are powerful enough to warrant a little attention.
It's been known for a while that CBD changes the function of certain liver enzymes (technically speaking, it slows down cytochrome P450 enzymatic activity). This means people on blood-thinning medications like Coumadin should be careful. For the rest of us, though, things change for the better!
CBD may protect the liver from the effects of heavy drinking, for example. Practice moderation regardless, of course...but it's nice to know CBD could be a safeguard. CBD is being studied for its potential ability to protect against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, too.
The Proof Is In The (Low-Sugar) PuddingAll this theoretical stuff may sound good, but how does it work in practice?
We're glad you asked. While there isn't much in vivo evidence that CBD can help a person maintain a healthy weight and avoid metabolic syndrome, the research available looks pretty promising. Let's take a closer look:
"Cannabidiol, a cannabinoid and serotonin receptor antagonist, may alleviate hyperphagia [excessive appetite] without the side effects of rimonabant [a common metabolic drug] "
- NCBI, 2012
Even cannabis that does contain THC - you know, the type of cannabis often associated with the munchies - has been correlated with increased leanness and healthier metabolic markers.
CBD SynergyAs great as CBD is, it's not a panacea. And in some ways it's not even that unique - many other compounds throughout the plant kingdom also exert pro-metabolic, qualities. Just look at curcumin or omega 3/6/9 fatty acids! Even something as common as black pepper (well, the terpenes it contains) may help regulate blood sugar via the endocannabinoid system.
All in all, the holiday season can be a battle of epic (hormonal) proportions. But what's stopping you from using CBD to come out on top?
Thomas Wrona is a cannabis consultant, health + wellness advisor, and former professional athlete. He enjoys writing about all things CBD, both here and at Wrona Inc.