DOES CBD PROVOKE THE MUNCHIES?
Most of us know that THC-rich cannabis can cause a spike in hunger known as the "munchies". But what about CBD? Does cannabidiol provoke cravings or stimulate appetite?
One of the stereotypes about cannabis is that it can cause a strong increase in appetite. This is not always true, since experienced users usually don’t feel the same cravings they once did, or maybe they just learned how to keep them under control. Moreover, inhaling any kind of smoke actually lowers the hunger sensation, at least for a short time. Finally, longing for sweet and fatty food after smoking might also depend on personal eating habits. Apart from all this—the munchies seem to be a real phenomenon.
While aromatic terpenes contained in cannabis flowers can increase the senses of smell and taste, making them appetite-stimulators, science is actually telling us that THC is the main culprit—not only for the psychoactive effects, but also the increase in appetite. Taking high enough doses of THC influences our endocannabinoid system to stimulate hunger. Good to know, now what about CBD?
More and more people are taking CBD products for various health reasons. Knowing how this beneficial cannabinoid can influence appetite is crucial for optimizing a healthy CBD routine. Many people want to know if CBD either increases or decreases one’s will to eat. Here’s what science has discovered so far.
HUNGER AND THE ACTION OF THC ON THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
THC produces cravings for food known as the “munchies” by activating several biochemical mechanisms. This cannabinoid increases production of the hormone ghrelin, which causes you to feel hungry. The effect is mediated by CB1 receptors located in areas of the brain involved in appetite control. THC also boosts dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in reward-motivated behaviours, such as eating.
These effects don’t automatically translate into fat stoners. Studies indicate that regular, heavy cannabis users tend to be leaner than nonusers. High-THC cannabis use is associated with a lower body mass index, and the most interesting thing is that psychoactive cannabis may help increase weight in people who are low-weight, but not in normal or overweight individuals. That’s cool, but do the non-psychoactive cannabis strains and their derivatives rich in CBD exert similar effects?
CBD AND WEIGHT CONTROL
The endocannabinoid system interacts with several metabolic functions. Researchers are trying to figure out exactly how cannabis increases appetite, and also if it might be possible to reduce appetite-modulating CB1 receptors. This would help develop cannabis strains, or most likely cannabinoid drugs, able to reduce appetite with few side effects.
As opposed to THC, CBD doesn’t trigger the brain mechanisms that activate the munchies. This cannabinoid acts instead as an antagonist of the CB1 receptor, softening some effects generated by THC, included the craving for food. Consequently, high-CBD strains do not stimulate cravings, and it’s unlikely that using CBD products such as oils, tinctures, or capsules would either.
Researchers have also discovered that CBD stimulates the production of substances that help increase the body’s breakdown of fat and ability to burn calories. Cannabidiol also seems to reduce the expression of proteins involved in creating fat cells within the body. Needless to say, more research is needed. Still, from what we know thus far, both from lab results and anecdotal accounts, CBD in any form should not cause users to crave junk food, fats, or sugars. It will instead help metabolise food in a proper way.
CBD AGAINST LOSS OF APPETITE
In many cases, CBD can increase hunger in a natural way, which means without cravings. Loss of appetite is often a consequence of medical problems, uneasy states of mind, or medications. Chronic conditions that cause appetite loss include chronic pain, cancer pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and multiple sclerosis. Mental health problems such as chronic stress and anxiety also cause appetite loss by affecting both brain receptors and the digestive system.
CBD can calm the nervous system and improve one’s mood, thus being useful against stress and anxiety. A more relaxed state of mind helps naturally stimulate appetite. Likewise, a patient who can benefit from the analgesic and antiemetic properties of CBD feels less pain and nausea. An improved condition with minimal pain can boost appetite, allowing patients to be more able to enjoy food. In addition to relieving nausea, CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects can help an irritated digestive system tolerate food.
Based on the information available, we can assume that CBD doesn’t affect hunger in a disadvantageous or unhealthy form. This cannabinoid can be safely used in hopes of improving metabolism, burning calories, and increasing appetite when this stimulus is reduced by particular conditions.