As popular culture places extremely unreasonable expectations on women. and increasingly on men, to stay stick thin or rippled with muscle, accepting your body’s natural baseline weight is a laudable goal. We’re all meant to have a little fat on our bodies, especially as we age. If, however, you’d like help with weight maintenance or to lose some pounds for health reasons, you may want to investigate the plant compound CBD for support.
CBD (cannabidiol) is a phytochemical found in the hemp plant. It has no psychoactive properties and is sold all over the United States, usually in oil-based extracts or topical creams. Taken sublingually or topically, CBD is quite bioavailable. When mixed into foods or beverages, you need to take a little more for it to be effective, but it’s still useful. Interestingly, CBD may help with weight regulation for several reasons. Here’s what researchers have found so far:
CBD and Healthy Weight Management
CBD Acts on The Endocannabinoid System.
The body’s own endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps to regulate our uptake and metabolism of fats and sugars. According to a 2008 review, increased abdominal and visceral fat may be the result of a dysregulated endocannabinoid system, which may play a role in the onset of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
CBD acts directly on the endocannabinoid system, binding with our natural receptors. This accounts for many of the health benefits of CBD, and it may be the reason CBD seems to help with weight management as well. In a 2020 animal study, researchers administered CBD to rats for two weeks along with a high-fat diet. The authors found that those rats treated with CBD had improved insulin signaling and glycogen recovery.
Though the results are promising, more study is needed to understand CBD’s effects on human metabolism and weight management. As of now, there are no dosage recommendations. HIgh-quality CBD is non-toxic and generally safe, so it may be worth experimenting to see if it helps you achieve your goals. Talk with your doctor or healthcare provider to be sure CBD is right for you and to determine the appropriate dosage.
CBD May Ease Chronic Pain and Promote an Active Lifestyle.
We all know that sticking with a daily fitness routine greatly helps with weight management. Whether you enjoy long walks, a yoga practice, or weight lifting doesn’t seem to matter much – any kind of regular exercise can be beneficial.
Committing to an exercise routine can be challenging, however, for many different reasons – one of the most common being chronic pain or inflammation. If you suffer from painful joints or muscles, exercise may be more of a struggle, leading to challenges with weight management.
Long used for nerve, muscle, and joint pain, many people find that CBD, administered either orally or topically on areas of discomfort, may lessen symptoms of chronic pain and inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, a 2020 review indicated that a certain standardized preparation of CBD combined with THC was effective against chronic pain, but research stated that there was not enough data to understand whether CBD was effective alone.
While this may seem confusing, preliminary research and anecdotal reports suggest CBD works very well for many people. As long as your doctor agrees CBD may be a good fit for you, experiment with either a quality oil extract taken orally or a topical CBD cream or salve applied directly to sore muscles or joints. A little CBD may lessen pain and help you stick with your exercise routine – making it that much easier to stay healthy at your target weight.
All of us can push back against popular culture’s obsession with unhealthy ideals for bodyweight by proudly accepting our natural, healthy baseline weight. But if you’d like to maintain your weight or lose a few pounds, CBD might be a friend to you. CBD may help regulate healthy fat and sugar metabolism through its actions on the body’s endocannabinoid system. It may also lessen symptoms of chronic pain and inflammation, making it easier to stick with a regular exercise routine.
Talk with your healthcare provider about whether CBD is right for you, and experiment with different preparations. Make sure you choose organic products that are third-party tested and certified for purity and free of harmful chemicals. CBD may help keep you strong, healthy, and pain-free at a weight that is beautiful to you.
- Di Marzo V. The endocannabinoid system in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia. 2008 Aug;51(8):1356-67. doi: 10.1007/s00125-008-1048-2. Epub 2008 Jun 18. PMID: 18563385.
- Bielawiec P, Harasim-Symbor E, Konstantynowicz-Nowicka K, Sztolsztener K, Chabowski A. Chronic Cannabidiol Administration Attenuates Skeletal Muscle De Novo Ceramide Synthesis Pathway and Related Metabolic Effects in a Rat Model of High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity. Biomolecules. 2020 Aug 26;10(9):1241. doi: 10.3390/biom10091241. PMID: 32859125; PMCID: PMC7564398.
- Russo EB. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008 Feb;4(1):245-59. doi: 10.2147/tcrm.s1928. PMID: 18728714; PMCID: PMC2503660.
- Urits I, Gress K, Charipova K, Habib K, Lee D, Lee C, Jung JW, Kassem H, Cornett E, Paladini A, Varrassi G, Kaye AD, Viswanath O. Use of cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of chronic pain. Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2020 Sep;34(3):463-477. doi: 10.1016/j.bpa.2020.06.004. Epub 2020 Jul 2. PMID: 33004159.
Shona Curley lives and works in San Francisco. She is co-owner of the studio Hasti Pilates, and creator of the website www.redkitemeditations.com. Shona teaches meditation, bodywork and movement practices for healing Lyme disease, chronic illness and pain.