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    by Sebastiano Battaglia December 19, 2023 12 min read

     

    The effects of THC on hunger are well-known, but does CBD make you hungry too? Although it affects appetite in different ways, its interaction with the endocannabinoid system does not send the same signals that would make you reach for snacks.

     

    TL;DR

    • Unlike another part of the cannabis plant called THC, CBD doesn't usually make you feel hungry.
    • CBD might help to manage your eating habits and how fast your body uses energy, which could be beneficial for people trying to control their weight.
    • The benefits of CBD include lessening stress and improving mood, both of which can help reduce emotional appetite and hunger.
    • We need more research to fully understand how CBD impacts hunger, as things like the amount you take and the form in which you take it can alter the results.
    • CBD has been shown to promote brown fat production and increased lipid metabolism, functions that are associated with weight loss, or  weight management.
    • There might be some negative effects of CBD on hunger and digestion, and these effects can change depending on how much you take.

     

    does CBD make you hungry - hungry man looking at pizza

     

    While some people associate cannabis use with increased hunger, evidence suggests that CBD alone may not have the same impact. In fact, research suggests that CBD affects appetite, playing a role in regulating feeding behavior and metabolism, potentially offering benefits for those looking to control their appetite and manage weight.

    Your experience with CBD can vary based on individual factors, including the type of CBD product you use and your unique physiology. Full-spectrum CBD products contain a range of cannabinoids, including trace amounts of THC, but usually not enough to impact hunger levels. On the other hand, CBD indirectly influences appetite by potentially reducing stress or improving mood, which are common appetite disruptors. As your understanding of CBD and its relation to hunger expands, you'll be better equipped to decide if CBD aligns with your health and wellness goals.

     

    Understanding CBD and THC

     

     

    Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, has therapeutic potentials and non-psychoactive by nature. To be more exact about the term psychoactive, CBD does affect your brain, technically causing changes. This would label it as psychoactive; however, it is not a state of high (or stoned), rather, it does so promoting calmness and reducing stress. As you learn more about CBD and hunger, it's crucial to grasp its chemical makeup and the historical differences that separate it from other cannabinoids.

    Chemical Profile and Origin

    CBD is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant, specifically abundant in hemp varieties. As one of over a hundred cannabinoids, it interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it does not produce psychoactive effects, making CBD a safer molecule than THC for humans and pets. This means that CBD does not alter your state of mind when consumed. The concentration of CBD in the cannabis plant can vary, but it's typically extracted from hemp due to its higher CBD and lower THC content.

    Comparison with THC

    While both THC and CBD are cannabinoids, they have different effects on your body. THC is the main psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. It is responsible for the 'high' associated with cannabis. In contrast, CBD is non-intoxicating and is often appreciated for its possible therapeutic benefits without the psychoactive effects.

    • THC can trigger an increase in appetite, and directly impact your weight, while CBD does not influence hunger directly.
    • CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system differently than THC, potentially affecting factors that may indirectly influence appetite, such as stress or mood.

     

    CBD and Appetite... What Should You Know?

    does CBD make you hungry - man sittign at table with cbd and food

     

    CBD's properties cluster far away from inducing the 'munchies' often associated with smoking or eating weed. But what does science say? Does CBD make you hungry? 

    Studies have shown that CBD suppresses, at least partially, the effects of THC. In this context, while THC may work as an appetite inducer, CBD could be used as an appetite suppressant. But before we get there, let's take a quick peek at the underlying biological facts surrounding this fascinating system.

    Hunger and Endocannabinoid System

    The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a significant role in regulating your appetite. This system includes receptors, such as CB1 and CB2, which are found throughout your body. The CB1 receptors are especially concentrated in the brain and central nervous system and can bind to endocannabinoids produced by your body, influencing various physiological processes.

    When you consume cannabis high in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), it can stimulate CB1 receptors and potentially trigger the release of the hunger-promoting hormone ghrelin, which might increase your appetite.

    A study from Farokhnia et al. in 2020 showed that THC increases ghrelin levels:

    A significant drug main effect, but no drug × time-point effects, was found on blood total ghrelin concentrations. Post-hoc analysis showed that total ghrelin levels during the oral cannabis session were significantly higher than the smoked and vaporized cannabis sessions. Ghrelin levels during the oral cannabis session were also higher than the placebo session (Translational Psychiatry volume 10, Article number: 71 (2020))

    On the other hand, CBD does not directly stimulate these receptors. Instead, it is believed that CBD works by interacting with the ECS in more complex ways that may influence hunger indirectly, without actually increasing your appetite. This may be due to CBD's ability to partially inhibit the CB1 receptor, resulting in a suppression of ghrelin's functions (PLoS One. 2008; 3(3): e1797.).

    Research Findings

    The relationship between CBD and appetite is as complex as the ECS itself. Recent research suggests that while THC may have a direct impact on stimulating appetite, CBD has a more nuanced role. You might find some studies, such as the one highlighted by Healthline, indicating no direct increase in hunger from CBD use, while others suggest variable effects on weight and appetite control.

    A study referenced by Purekana points out that CBD could both suppress or increase the appetite of participants. It's also a mention of the potential benefits for weight management.

     

    CBD and Weight Management

    does CBD make you hungry - girl holding large pants after losing weight

     

    A systematic review from 2022 analyzed data from 11 clinical trials to evaluate the effects of CBD on appetite and body weight. Most of these studies reported CBD causing a reduction in appetite and/or body weight. However, some found no significant changes, and one study even reported an increase in appetite.

    An underlying trend evidenced that CBD has an anti-hunger effect in certain individuals, suggesting that some research studies revealed potential positive impacts where CBD administration led to a decreased desire to eat, increased feelings of fullness, and decreased weight. Contrarily, one trial observed potential increase in appetite after CBD administration, while other studies found no significant impact.

    A more objective way of measuring appetite changes and consequently the potential impact on feeding patterns would have been the assessment of body weight changes but unfortunately only three trials reported on this outcome. In these three trials, no significant difference in appetite between the groups correlated with no difference in body weight. However, it is worth mentioning that, in one of these studies, although no difference in body weight was found between groups, participants in the CBD group with a higher BMI at baseline had a more prominent decrease in body weight following CBD treatment (the decrease in BMI was positively correlated with baseline BMI [p < 0.05]) (Clin Drug Investig. 2022; 42(11): 909–919)

     

    Using CBD to Boost Fat Browning

     

    CBD influences the process known as "fat browning"—the conversion of white fat, which stores energy, to brown fat, which burns it. Brown fat has been associated with increased metabolism and weight loss due to its ability to burn calories. A study published in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry reports that CBD promotes brown fat production and lipid metabolism:

    CBD enhanced expression of a core set of brown fat-specific marker genes [...] the current data suggest that CBD plays dual modulatory roles in the form of inducing the brown-like phenotype as well as promoting lipid metabolism. Thus, CBD may be explored as a potentially promising therapeutic agent for the prevention of obesity. (Mol Cell Biochem 2016 May;416(1-2):131-9)

    Overall, this study suggests that taking CBD has the potential to assist people needing help with weight management.

    CBD and Appetite Suppressant Functions

    Unlike THC, the effect of cannabidiol on appetite is the opposite, aka, if you are asking, does CBD make you hungry? The answer is no, itdoes not typically induce hunger. Instead, it may offer appetite suppression benefits. Some individuals experience a decrease in cravings when using CBD products. This can be particularly useful if you are looking to control calorie intake as part of a weight management strategy. Healthline reports that preliminary research supports the idea that CBD could reduce food intake and enhance metabolism, which may contribute to weight loss.

    By understanding and leveraging CBD's potential in these areas, you may find a place for it within a broader approach to maintaining a healthy body weight.

     

    Adverse Effects and Considerations

    does CBD make you hungry - plate with eatable food and cbd oil

     

    When considering CBD for its potential health benefits, you must be aware of its possible adverse effects on appetite and digestion. It is also important to understand how dosage and the lack of FDA regulation could impact your experience.

    Appetite Control and Digestive Concerns

    CBD is generally not associated with the kind of appetite stimulation seen with THC, but some individuals report an increase in appetite after use. This may be due to CBD's indirect effects on the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in regulating hunger cues. However, you might experience digestive issues such as nausea, an upset stomach, or bloating as side effects of taking CBD. These symptoms are typically mild and can often be managed by adjusting the dosage.

    Dosage and Regulation

    The appropriate dosage of CBD varies widely depending on the individual, and because CBD is not currently FDA-approved, there are no official guidelines for its use. A general guideline of 20-30 mg of CBD for an adult weighting 180 lb is a starting point, even when doses up to 300 mg were shown to be safe. This means that the effects of CBD, including potential side effects like gastrointestinal discomfort, can be dose-dependent. Start with a low dose and gradually increase it while monitoring your body's response to find what works best for you. 

     

    Different Forms of CBD

    When you explore CBD products, you'll encounter various forms, each with unique attributes and potential benefits. 

     

    Full Spectrum CBD vs. Broad Spectrum CBD vs. CBD Isolate

     

     

    Full Spectrum CBD includes all the natural compounds found in the hemp plant, meaning it contains a trace amount of THC, although typically under the legal limit of 0.3%. Because it comprises multiple cannabinoids and terpenes, you may experience the "entourage effect," where all ingredients work synergistically. Full spectrum products are often recommended for a more comprehensive effect.

    In contrast, Broad Spectrum CBD offers a middle ground. It contains multiple cannabinoids and terpenes like full spectrum products, but without any detectable levels of THC. This can be a preferable option if you are sensitive to THC or are concerned about it due to drug testing yet still wish to benefit from the wide array of cannabinoids.

    CBD Isolate is the purest form, completely free of other cannabis plant compounds, including THC. It usually comes in a crystalline or powdered form and can be ideal if you're looking for the sole effects of CBD without additional cannabinoids or THC.

     

    Delivery Methods

    The effectiveness of CBD depends greatly on the chosen delivery method, directly influencing how it interacts with your body.

    • Oils: CBD oil is typically taken sublingually, allowing for fast absorption into the bloodstream. It's an efficient option for systemic effects and dosage can easily be adjusted.
    • Topical CBD: For localized issues, such as muscle soreness or skin conditions, topical CBD products may provide targeted relief. They are applied directly to the skin, and their effects are generally confined to where they are used.
    • Vaped: CBD is also included in vaping products, and while we recommend avoiding vaping of any kind (that's bad for you, period), vaped CBD has the potential to affect your appetite, and its bioavailability could be higher than in ingested products. Yet

     

    Role of Cannabinoids in Medical Conditions

    Does CND make you hungry - man doing research

    CBD has been tested in several clinical trials for its effect on pain, inflammation and behavioral issues. Studies span from humans, to dogs, cats and other animals. Overall, there appears to be a consensus suggesting a potential therapeutic use of CBD, but more research is needed to draw conclusions that could help the FDA in approving CBD as a therapeutic agent for conditions different from epilepsy. Yet, let's explore, very briefly, what's been done so far.

    CBD use in Clinical Trials

    Clinical trials are crucial for determining the efficacy and safety of treatments, including the use of cannabinoids like CBD. In the context of appetite, you may be interested in how CBD affects eating behaviors and cravings. Some studies indicate that CBD does not act as a typical appetite stimulant. Rather than increasing hunger, CBD has been observed to potentially regulate appetite by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system.

    Epilepsy and Chronic Pain

    In the realm of neurological disorders like epilepsy, especially conditions such as Dravet syndrome, CBD has shown promise. The role of CBD here extends beyond appetite, with clinical research supporting its use in reducing the frequency of seizures. When it comes to chronic pain, the analgesic properties of cannabinoids may help alleviate pain symptoms, which in turn could improve quality of life. Notably, some individuals experience symptoms of depression due to chronic pain, and managing these symptoms can be as crucial as the pain itself. While the relationship between CBD and appetite in chronic conditions is complex, understanding how CBD might help realign your body's natural balance is key to comprehending its full therapeutic potential.

     

    Conclusions

    Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive component found in cannabis. Unlike its counterpart THC, CBD does not typically induce hunger. Research indicates that CBD might interact with the body's endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in maintaining homeostasis, including appetite control.

    • CBD and Appetite: You may find that CBD does not cause an increased appetite; evidence points towards its potential role in appetite regulation rather than stimulation.

    • Cannabinoid Receptors: CBD interacts with your body's cannabinoid receptors, which may influence various bodily functions, potentially including the mechanisms that manage hunger and fullness.

    • Indirect Effects: While CBD does not directly make you hungry, it may help alleviate symptoms such as anxiety and stress. For some individuals, reducing these symptoms might indirectly affect their appetite.

    For accurate, detailed information, consider these insights from respected sources:

    • Appetite Regulation: A study from University College London suggests that CBD decreases the "attentional bias to drug and food stimuli" related to THC (The CBD Insider).

    • Emotion-based Eating: While CBD does not inherently stimulate hunger, it could play a role in emotion-based eating patterns by regulating stress levels (Purekana).

    In summary, if you're concerned about CBD increasing your hunger, the evidence suggests this is not a direct effect of CBD itself. Your appetite might be influenced by a complex interplay of CBD's interaction with your endocannabinoid system and your personal health circumstances.

     

    FAQs

    Q: Does CBD make you hungry like THC does?

    A: No, CBD does not make you feel the "munchies" like THC does. While both substances come from the cannabis plant, they have different effects on your body. THC is the psychoactive compound that gives you the "high" and often leads to increased appetite, but CBD doesn't have this effect.

    Q: Could CBD oil suppress my appetite instead of making me feel hungry?

    A: Some research has shown that CBD acts as an appetite suppressant in some people. However, everyone's body reacts differently to substances so the effects can vary among individuals. CBD users may experience decrease in appetite, but more research is needed to confirm this.

    Q: How does Cannabis and particularly CBD, affect the feeling of hunger?

    A: The THC in cannabis can make you feel hungry, which is known as giving you the "munchies", but CBD doesn't have this effect. Instead, CBD seems to interact with other receptors in the brain that can lead to feelings of calm and relaxation without increasing appetite.

    Q: Can taking CBD oil lead to weight gain?

    A: There's no evidence that CBD directly leads to weight gain. Some people might experience an increase in appetite when they use CBD, but this isn't a common effect. If you're concerned about weight gain, make sure you're maintaining a balanced diet and taking your dose of CBD as recommended by a healthcare provider.

    Q: Does the use of CBD give you the “munchies” like THC does?

    A: No, CBD does not give you the "munchies" like THC typically does. THC stimulates appetite while CBD generally has no effect on hunger. Some studies even suggest CBD may act as an appetite suppressant, not a booster.

    Q: How can CBD help you lose weight?

    A: CBD stimulates genes and proteins that enhance the breakdown and oxidation of fat, increase the number and activity of mitochondria (which increases the body’s ability to burn calories), and decrease the generation of fat cells. This may affect positively body weight or fat composition by increasing fat burning rate.

    Q: Can taking CBD orally affect my appetite?

    A: The effects of taking oral CBD instead of vaped can vary from person to person. While some people don't experience any changes in their appetite, others have reported feeling less hungry after consuming CBD. More research is needed to fully understand these effects.

    Q: What's the difference between CBD and THC in terms of increasing appetite?

    A: The main difference between CBD and THC in terms of increasing appetite is that THC tends to increase appetite, while CBD usually doesn't. THC binds with the CB1 receptors in our brain, which control our appetite and food consumption. On the other hand, CBD does not bind strongly with CB1, thus not leading to increased food consumption.

    Q: Can CBD Gummies stimulate my appetite?

    A: Although some CBD users experience a change in their appetite with gummies, CBD infused gummies do not typically stimulate appetite in the classic "munchies" way associated with THC. Some individuals might experience a slight increase in hunger, but it tends to be minor.

    Sebastiano Battaglia
    Sebastiano Battaglia

    Seb has been a research scientist for the past two decades and is the founder and owner of My Blissful Pet. Seb grew up with cats and dogs and married his passion for science and animals with My Blissful Pet by wanting to help dogs and cats live healthier lives.

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