How does CBD affect metabolism?

CBD info

Cannabinoids, along with other compounds found in cannabis plants, have received a lot of attention in recent years. One aspect that has aroused great interest among researchers, consumers, and the general public is the effect of cannabinoids on human metabolism. After all, one of the best-known cannabinoids, THC, produces very obvious metabolic effects, such as increased appetite, a phenomenon known as “munchies”. But what about CBD? Does it also affect our metabolism? Read on to find out.

Can CBD affect metabolism?

The short answer is yes, several studies show that CBD affects the body’s metabolism in various indirect ways. In 2016, Korean researchers from Daegu University’s Department of Biotechnology published an important study exploring the effect of CBD on the formation of “fat browning”. It has been shown that brown fat, unlike White fat helps burn calories and energy, possibly contributing to weight loss, but white fat is thought to increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other ailments.

The study, published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, looked at whether CBD could help convert white fat to brown fat and thus serve as a potential agent to treat obesity.

The study found that CBD had three main effects on fat stores. First, CBD stimulated genes and proteins involved in increasing the breakdown of fat. Second, CBD helped increase the number of mitochondria and their activity, subsequently improving the body’s ability to burn energy. And finally, the study showed that CBD reduced the expression of specific proteins involved in the creation of new fat cells in the body.

Based on these results, the study authors concluded that CBD can help convert white fat into beneficial brown fat.

What is the relationship between the endocannabinoid system and metabolism?

CBD is able to interact with the body primarily through the endocannabinoid system. This system is made up of endocannabinoids, receptors (in the nervous system and throughout the body), and metabolic enzymes, and has been shown to be involved in many physiological processes.

The endocannabinoid system is involved in metabolic functions such as energy storage and nutrient transport. Some studies even suggest that it could be involved in the control of insulin sensitivity.

A 2008 study, published in the Journal of Neuroendocrinology, showed that the endocannabinoid system can stimulate certain areas of the body involved in metabolism. These areas include the gastrointestinal tract, skeletal muscles, and endocrine pancreas, among others.

The endocannabinoid system accomplishes this naturally through two endogenous cannabinoids, called anandamide (also known as the “happiness molecule”) and 2-AG (or 2-arachidonylglycerol). These compounds interact with two types of receptors (CB1 and CB2), which are found in the brain, digestive tract, and other parts of the body.

By stimulating receptors in these areas, CBD could subsequently help metabolize compounds absorbed from food during digestion.

However, it is important to note that overstimulation of the endocannabinoid system is associated with adverse effects, such as increased levels of abdominal obesity, increased energy storage in fat cells, and even insulin resistance.

In fact, overstimulation of CB1s can increase the chances of metabolic syndrome, a condition characterized by a series of co-occurring symptoms such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels, excess body fat around the belly and waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels.

This relationship was established by the Endocannabinoid Research Group, a group of researchers from Italy who also suggested that potential CB1 antagonists (such as CBD) could be useful in the future for treating metabolic conditions, such as metabolic syndrome.

It is also important to mention that the effects of the endocannabinoid system on metabolism can vary depending on the cannabinoids used to stimulate the system. This was shown in a 2012 study, conducted by researchers at the University of Reading School of Pharmacy, UK.

The study found, for example, that cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) produce opposite effects on the eating patterns of rats. CBN stimulated the appetite, increased food intake, and led to weight gain. Instead, CBD reduced appetite and food intake, and helped with weight loss. Interestingly, users of THC-rich cannabis strains have lower body mass indices (BMIs) than non-users.

CBD and metabolism: a new frontier

Research published thus far shows that CBD influences metabolism in a number of ways. However, it is critical to recognize that our understanding of cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system, and their effect on metabolism is not yet broad enough. More and more studies are being developed, with the hope that our knowledge will expand in the coming years.

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