Using CBD as a Tool for Weight Loss

Losing weight is simple. Just burn more calories than you consume.

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight before, you know it’s not that simple. Between this obvious fact and the pursuit of your ideal body weight, there are a million diets and exercise plans, boatloads of grief over poor body image, and a merry-go-around of weight loss and weight gain that many of us can never seem to escape.


So, what’s the best diet for losing weight? Experts say it’s one that works for your particular body type, metabolism and needs. Preferably one that’s healthy and easy to maintain.

You may want to consider speaking to a nutritionist or wellness coach to help you develop a plan that works best for you. And when creating that plan, you may also want to incorporate the appetite-reducing benefits of marijuana generally and cannabidiol (CBD) in particular.

Cannabis—and CBD in particular—can help folks lose weight? So it seems. There are some promising studies and lots of anecdotal evidence about the efficacy of CBD for weight loss. According to three female friends experimenting with CBD for appetite reduction:

We squeezed a few drops of CBD-infused oil under our tongues and waited. An hour later, at the time we’d planned to have dinner, we noticed we weren’t especially hungry. All thoughts of food had been swept away. If this effect were widely known, Tina said, ‘cannabis would be legal in 20 minutes.’”

Quelling Food Cravings With Cannabis

Of course, taking any form of cannabis for weight loss flies in the face of popular perception. This is because marijuana is often times associated with increasing food cravings. Also, because the plant has been used medically to help people put on weight when, say, faced with the poor appetite that may come with cancer treatments.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive cannabinoid, works on the part of the brain that controls hunger and boosts dopamine, the feel-good brain chemical, helping increase your pleasure from eating.

Even so, consuming marijuana doesn’t necessarily equate to weight gain. “Studies indicate that regular heavy cannabis users tend to be leaner than age- and gender-matched groups of nonusers,” says George Kunos, scientific director at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the National Institutes of Health.

It seems that high doses of THC could serve to suppress the number of CB1 receptors that are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors found throughout the body, and its receptors are split into two types: CB1 and CB2. Researchers have found that the CB1 receptor is often linked to obesity.

There’s also a lesser-known cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), which is showing promise as an appetite suppressant. However, since THCV is only present in small quantities in cannabis plants, it’s difficult to extract and process into commercial quantities.


This is where CBD comes in. It doesn’t directly activate the CB1 receptors, and so doesn’t bring on the munchies like THC can. And while more research is required, there are tantalizing suggestions that CBD may serve as an appetite suppressant that could come into wider use.

The Evidence for CBD in Promoting Weight Loss

Like much of the cannabis research out there, assessing CBD’s hunger-killing capabilities begins with rats. One study showed that rodents injected with CBD experienced significant weight loss. And in another study, CBD reduced appetite in rats more than that of other cannabinoids, including cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN).

CBD may also play a role in converting white fat to brown fat. While white fat is associated with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, brown fat actually generates heat by burning calories.

A 2016 study suggests that CBD wears a number of different hats when interacting with fat in your body—converting white fat to brown and stimulating the body to break down fats more effectively.

Then there’s the 2018 “Role of Cannabinoids in Obesity” study, published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, which documents CBD’s role in the browning of fat cells and makes the connection to burning calories.

CBD as Part of a Sensible Weight Loss Regime

So, is CBD a miracle weight-loss solution? Probably not. Miracle cures are few and far between. But, with more in-depth human research, it may turn out that CBD does have a role to play as a useful tool in a larger, well-thought out diet and exercise plan.

As the Mayo Clinic points out:

“Hundreds of fad diets, weight-loss programs and outright scams promise quick and easy weight loss. However, the foundation of successful weight loss remains a healthy, calorie-controlled diet combined with increased physical activity. For successful, long-term weight loss, you must make permanent changes in your lifestyle and health habits.”

Such lifestyle changes include:

  • Making a long-term commitment to weight loss
  • Finding the right motivation
  • Setting realistic goals
  • Eating healthier foods
  • Staying active
  • Changing your perspective

The last point may involve a shift from hating the way you look and wanting a fast change to being more accepting of who you are and your appearance. Try simple and achievable steps to commit to a healthier lifestyle—including adding CBD to your daily routine—plus being kind to yourself when you stumble.

Photo credit: Tropical studio/

If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 index of articles. And if you have questions about cannabis, ask them and our community will answer.


Related Articles

The perfect dose of cannabis content

Delivered right to your inbox.

Scroll to Top