CBD oil is increasingly becoming some kind of modern-day “miracle” cure.
Many claim that it helps settle stress, anxiety, depression and chronic pain, while there have been a number of cases of epileptic children who have benefited from it.
The one thing you probably haven't thought of cannabis oil treating, however, is weight gain.
Cannabis in its regular form contains THC – the chemical that gets you high. And it's often associated with getting the "munchies".
But researchers have been looking into whether CBD – the element of cannabis associated with relaxation rather than tripping – can actually help with obesity and related metabolic disorders and diabetes.
And there is some evidence to suggest that CBD oil may well help with fat loss.
What is CBD oil?
Cannabinoids such as CBD work on the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which has been said to be one of the most crucial physiological systems in the human body.
The ECS regulates multiple important functions, including mood, sleep, and appetite.
The two best-known cannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2.
It may suppress appetite
A 2012 study tested the impact of three cannabinoids – CBD, CBN, and CBG – on the appetite of rats.
Scientists found that only CBN increased the appetite of the rats, while CBG and CBD both decreased it.
The study demonstrated that while certain chemicals increased food intake and body weight gain, CBD decreased food consumption and weight gain.
CBD oil 'helps to turn bad fat to good'
Another study back in 2016, showed that CBD played a major role in the "fat browning" process. That's the process of turning white (bad) fat into brown (good) fat.
Scientists found that CBD could help to convert white fat into brown fat.
Heat-generating brown fat was only discovered in adults back in 2009 – before then, it was assumed to only be in babies (who don't shiver).
Scientists found that the colder the temperature, the more brown fat mice produced…and later, the same was discovered in human adults.
The more brown fat you have, the better insulin sensitivity you have, which means you're less likely to store belly fat, and the slimmer you tend to be.
A study published in the journal Nature Medicine says that in order to increase your brown fat stores significantly, you've got to spend two hours a day in 18C, dressed so that you're cold but not freezing.
So if you could get the same effect simply by taking a few drops of CBD every day, that’d be quite a big deal.
It could lower blood sugar and blood pressure too
There's some suggestion that CBD may also help deal with the metabolic issues that tend to hand in hand with obesity.
In a review of cannabis and cannabinoid research, scientists found that CBD reduced total cholesterol by 25 per cent in obese rats and the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of CBD also seemed to decrease blood sugar levels.
But it is worth saying that all of these studies were conducted on rodents, so that doesn't necessarily mean that the conclusions would be the same for humans.
But much more research is needed
Integrative Medicine expert, Dr Dani Gordon of Zen Brain Lab told The Sun: “There are no human studies looking at the role of CBD or other cannabinoid-based medications or supplements for obesity.
"However, from animal models, we know that CB1 receptors in the brain play a role in eating behaviours in rats.
"In my clinical experience using medical cannabis – with high CBD low THC content – with patients, I have found, anecdotally, that there seems to be a trend towards weight reduction in obese individuals.
"But whether this is because the cannabinoid medications are helping their pain or other symptoms and therefore leading to more physical activity and healthier habits vs. a primary metabolic effect is still a question mark.
"But I think this is an exciting area for cannabinoid research.
"Ultimately, we're still working out exactly what CBD does and how effective it is in the treatment of lots of different conditions and there isn't nearly enough research to suggest that it's going to be a serious treatment for obesity yet."
CBD has loads of benefits…but there's no weight loss evidence yet
Nutritionist Sarah Flower told The Sun that although she's a fan of CBD, she's not come across it as a weight loss tool.
But it has been linked to soothing a number of chronic conditions
"However, there is a benefit of balancing the endocannabinoid system which controls energy balance, stress and even appetite so I can see the connection.
As it is classed as a food supplement, the manufacturers and retailers cannot make any medical claims, but research has shown it is beneficial for a number of conditions including anxiety, depression, inflammation, sleep disorders, autism, epilepsy, inflammation, migraines, joint pain, MS, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s and even some skin conditions including acne.
"There is talk that CBD oil may start to be classed as a medicine, and in which case it will be subject to many more trials and research in the future.
And it can make you feel good
"CBD does not work in the same way as cannabis and is not addictive. CDB oil will however, stimulate your dopamine and serotonin levels giving you a ‘feel good’ factor which can help when you are suffering with pain, depression and other related conditions. Our endocannabinoid system controls and regulates many functions in our body, from sleep, inflammation, mood and appetite.
"CBD oil has been shown to enhance our endocannabinoid system, restoring balance and harmony in our body.
It's safe, too – but do talk to your GP first
"Although CBD oil is deemed as safe, it can have some side effects and it can interact with some medications. It is advisable to ask your GP before you start taking CBD oil as it can affect some medication, such as anti-depressants, and can also affect some over the counter medications.
"There is often confusion over strength, potency and dosage; everyone reacts differently so it is best to start slow and low and increase as you go along. If you are not clear on what you are purchasing, then I would suggest seeking advice from a professional."
"With more than two in three people in the UK being overweight, it’s not surprising that everyone is always on the lookout for the next miracle solution for weight loss," Dr Sarah Jarvis, clinical director of Patient.info, told The Sun.
"While early animal studies looking at CBD as a weight loss aid do show promise, I would be very wary about recommending anything without good evidence.
"When a treatment has upsides, it invariably means it has downsides too and all but one of the medications for weight loss marketed in recent years have ended up being taken off the market because of safety concerns."
Apart from anything else, many of us swear by the stuff for inducing better sleep – something we know to be crucial when it comes to burning body fat.
When you're stressed or chronically tired, it can be tempting to overeat or snack as a way of keeping our energy levels high.
Some people may not see any benefits at all to taking CBD and at best we've got to think of it as a complementary therapy that works alongside a healthy regime.
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