How does CBD affect our appetite?
A healthy appetite remains key for physical wellbeing, regulating a healthy immune system,
and a whole host of other benefits related to a healthy lifestyle. Many of us often struggle to
regulate appetite due to many factors such as work-related stress, depression, anxiety, physical
pain, and immune-suppression. This month, we’re examining CBD and its relationship to
regulating appetite. The subject is complex and takes a bit of fleshing out to fully understand,
but overall, we find that CBD’s adaptogenic properties help our bodies regulate hormones
responsible for appetite. This article will look more closely at this process as well as provide a
more in-depth discussion about the benefits of CBD for a healthy lifestyle. Let’s first dive into the
biology of hunger so that we can better address how CBD can stimulate our appetites.
So what regulates our hunger? Scientists have shown that an area of the brain known as the
hypothalamus controls our sensations for needs including thirst, energy levels, body
temperature, sex drive, our sleep cycles and even - you guessed it - our appetites. Each of us is
genetically programmed, based on our individual weights, to maintain each of these functions of
our bodies, keeping us within the ideal range (i.e. turning on and off hunger cues, craving
specific foods due to a lack of a nutrient, when we’re tired we go to sleep, etc.). The body’s
blood sugar (glucose) levels directly let the hypothalamus know when it’s time for us to eat, thus
increasing our energy reserves after a meal. When blood glucose levels are low, the body
produces a hormone known as ghrelin which alerts the hypothalamus, giving us a feeling of
hunger. Many of us struggle with poor ghrelin-production due to a variety of health concerns that
we’ll go over more below. All-in-all, our appetites are essential for survival. We need this cue so
that we can renourish our bodies - especially after times of stress. Without it, health problems
can be exacerbated by our lack of nourishment. Scientists have found that cannabis can
alleviate our lack of appetites and contribute to better health. Below, we’ll begin to understand
this more comprehensively.
First, let’s go over a brief introduction of the primary active ingredients we see in cannabis.
Marijuana has over 100 cannabinol compounds, but the two that have been most heavily
researched include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These compounds are
closely linked to therapeutic properties that have been shown to offer a wide range of health
benefits for people. The former is psychoactive and makes the user high. The latter isn’t
psychoactive but still offers powerful health benefits.
Cannabis and Hunger
It comes as no surprise to most that the average cannabis user describes an oft intense
appetite condition known as “the munchies”. This is because THC can increase the production
of ghrelin, the hormone mentioned above that tells the brain to create a sensation of hunger.
When our stomachs are empty, ghrelin is naturally produced to let us know that our bodies are
in need of energy. THC also affects parts of the brain that are directly responsible for this
appetite-promotion known as CB1 receptors. These factors contribute to THC’s effect on
But what about CBD? We know that it has a number of many benefits including pain relief,
improved heart and cognitive health, as well as reducing anxiety. We know that much of THC’s
psychoactive properties are responsible for boosting appetite, but CBD isn’t psychoactive. So
does CBD have any effect on hunger? The answer is yes, but it affects hunger in a starkly
different way than its THC counterpart. Unlike THC, CBD does not cause “the munchies”
because it isn’t psychoactive and it also doesn’t affect the production of ghrelin. Understanding
the difference between both compounds and their effect on appetite is crucial for helping get
you on the right path. Let’s dive into CBD and how it can promote a healthy appetite.
As mentioned earlier, CBD does in fact promote appetite, but in a wholly different way than
THC. Although THC boosts the production of ghrelin to increase our appetites, studies have
shown that it also increases our desire to eat fattier and unhealthier foods too. This means that
using THC as an appetite booster is a double-edged sword for those wanting to increase
appetites without elevating the desire for unhealthy foods. However, we find that CBD can boost
our appetites without increasing our cravings for greasy, unhealthy foods, making it a better
regulator for appetite without the extra fatty baggage.
By understanding the multitude of benefits from CBD in aggregate, we find that this
cannabinoid increases appetite through a synergistic effect. Fortunately, as we mentioned
above, CBD alleviates many health-associated problems that are also directly correlated with
poor appetites. This means that CBD provides a natural boost to our appetites indirectly, by
curing other symptoms we may have that create the conditions for our lack of hunger.
Synergy & CBD: Alleviating Symptoms, Regulating Hunger
We know that many factors contributing to poor appetites include anxiety, depression,
inflammation, inadequate energy due to sleep, and distraction from discomfort. Studies have
shown that CBD is an excellent supplement for alleviating many of these symptoms. CBD quells
pain and nausea which are often responsible for a lack of appetite, it regulates a molecule
responsible for inflammation known as cytokines, boosts our mood, supports healthier sleep
cycles, and soothes tense muscles. People experiencing these types of symptoms are often
given CBD by clinicians to help the body naturally increase appetite stimulation. Furthermore,
CBD boosts the body’s metabolism. This means that the time it takes to break down foods into
nutrients speeds up at a more efficient rate.
Two Other Factors: Hypothalamus Sensitivity & Mitochondrial Efficiency
There are two other contributing factors to increasing our appetites that CBD affords us. FIrst,
CBD has been shown to improve hypothalamus sensitivity. As discussed earlier, the
hypothalamus is responsible for regulating many of our internal processes such as body
temperature and hunger. By increasing its sensitivity, CBD allows the hypothalamus to be in
better tune with natural needs and desires that it may have otherwise ignored beforehand.
Secondly, CBD may boost mitochondrial functionality. Known as the ‘powerhouse of the cells’,
mitochondria is the production center of ATP, the energy proteins required for bodily function.
Studies on the relationship between CBD and ATP-production have shown that CBD regulates
calcium levels in the blood, a much needed nutrient for ATP. This means that boosting the
ability of mitochondrial ATP production is correlated with our ability to digest food at a more
efficient rate - the very definition of a higher metabolism.
CBD Types and Dosage
So what’s the best way to take CBD for regulating our appetites? This largely depends on the
option you choose to ingest it. There are a few options that we’ll go over here including CBD Oil,
softgels, and gummies. Typically, CBD oil is versatile, efficient, and can be taken with drops on
the tongue or added to smoothies, tea, or even baked goods too. Most people typically find that
20 mg of CBD oil per day is a great starting dose, and it’s recommended to take it in the
morning so that you can see how you feel throughout the day. After a week or so, you should
increase the dosage by taking an extra 20 mg at night before bedtime. Softgels are also useful
and quick for experiencing CBD benefits. Each cap is generally 25 mg and makes it easy for
properly measuring the right dosage. CBD topicals should be avoided if you’re looking for CBD
to regulate your appetite or metabolism as CBD needs to be ingested through the digestive tract
in order to receive those benefits.
CBD is quite an interesting cannabinoid for a whole host of reasons. It is safe, reliable, and well-
tolerated among many frequent users. Because of its psychoactive effects, THC is not the best
remedy for those of us with a lack of appetite. Additionally, THC causes cravings for fatty and
greasy foods that are not very good for us. However, CBD is a great source of appetite
regulation because it alleviates so many symptoms that could be causing the lack of hunger in
the first place. Additionally, it isn’t psychoactive and doesn’t make us crave those nasty foods.
Using CBD for increasing our appetite can provide us with a whole host of great benefits by
helping us get the energy we deserve. See what CBD can do for your hunger pains!