Excess body weight can be a challenging issue for many. Weight gain can occur for many reasons – genetic factors, stress, having a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet as well as underlying problems like thyroid disorders. It has dire consequences for our health. Heightened weight and BMI is linked to heart diseases, high blood pressure, reduced insulin sensitivity and reduced immune function. If you’re worried about your weight and looking for support on your weight loss journey, CBD oil may be able to help. Why is this? CBD is strongly anti-inflammatory and reduces anxiety plus stress due to being anxiolytic. It’s able to support immunity and overall recovery from training to enhance your workout performance. It also helps improve sleep and metabolism, helping you relax and stick to your diet while maintaining healthy hormone function.
Its estimated that two thirds of Australians are overweight or obese. Weight gain across society is becoming a crisis with significant impacts to the health system, individual wellbeing and quality of life. While diet and exercise are critical and at the core of managing weight, certain supplements and health products can also help many. Full spectrum CBD oil among many other products like ashwagandha, caffeine, protein products and other supplements can help in optimizing lean body mass and minimise fat stores in the body. Let’s explore this new and upcoming product that’s natural and extracted entirely from plants and how it can support you in your weight loss journey.
What is CBD oil for weight loss?
By now you’ve probably heard of cannabidiol or ‘CBD’. It’s one of the many cannabinoid compounds that occurs naturally in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are compounds that are produced by this plant and have many different therapeutic benefits to the mind and body. Some of these compounds are psychoactive such as THC which makes its use much riskier for many due to potential to aggravate underlying mental illnesses. Others however such as CBD, CBN, CBG and CBDA are non psychoactive and can’t get you high, but still confer immense health benefits to users. Discovered decades ago, cannabinoids were researched extensively in the late 20th century to understand more about their potential medicinal benefits. Today we have a highly developed body of knowledge on these compounds and their metabolic interactions. When consumed cannabinoids like CBD bind with cannabinoid receptors in the body known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Located throughout the brain, body and organs, these receptors contain binding sites that CBD can attach to. Once bound to the receptor, the cannabinoids trigger the release of enzymes known as endocannabinoids. These are very anti-inflammatory compounds the body produces naturally, they aid in improving metabolic health, immune function, reducing stress and counter acting aging factors. Some of these compounds can assist with weight loss. They’re able to both improve the body’s ability to recover from exercise by fighting bodily inflammation in the tendons and tissue, as well as reducing over-eating by lowering stress levels. The added benefit of using CBD oil which is making it increasingly popular in the natural health world is that it has very few side effects. Side effects are rarely encountered – even at high dosages – and are generally mild such as dry mouth or a mild upset stomach. This makes it safe to use daily to extract maximum benefit. For many it also offers an ideal alternative to many pharmaceuticals like ibuprofen or benzodiazepine for their health condition without the risk of addiction or liver toxicity. It has a wide range of health benefits as it helps in easing physical pain, supports metabolism, eases stress, depression, and anxiety, and also helps in supporting cardiovascular function.
Why do people gain weight?
Managing weight is a complex task. Many factors are at play when it comes to an individual’s metabolism and body weight. Fundamentally weight loss or gain is determined by energy balance in the body. When you consume more calories than your body burns, excess calories will be converted into fat mass and stored in the body as fat cells. Your body’s base metabolic rate is determined by a combination of your resting metabolism, activity levels (calories burned actively) as well as digestive energy use (it takes energy to digest food). It’s this metabolic rate which determines how many calories your body expends each day – and accordingly how many it needs to function optimally. Consuming above this level leads to weight gain in fat or muscle mass. When over eating behaviours become chronic, over time individuals will inevitably gain weight as their caloric intake is in a surplus.
What leads to overeating? There can be many underlying causes. Let’s take a look at some of the top contributors to weight gain.
Genes undoubtedly play a huge role in the variance between body weights of individuals. It can affect both the propensity to gain and hold onto fat, basal metabolic rate, tendencies around hunger and over eating behaviours as well as risk exposure to depression and eating disorders. While it’s not something we can control, our gene makeup forms a significant point of influence in our numbers on the bathroom scale. Nevertheless there are many other ways we can work with or mitigate the effects our genes have on our weight by being more disciplined about diet, sleep, exercise and supplementation.
- Depression & anxiety
Almost half of Australian adults will experience some form of mental illness in their lives. Depression and anxiety are now the most common diseases in the world and affect up to 3 million Australians per year. At core depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain leading to chronic feelings of helplessness. Anxiety is an entirely separate, although often linked condition. It causes the chronic expression of the stress response due to negative thought patterns and excessive worry. Both of these conditions can lead to weight gain. Many affected by these conditions eat to provide pleasure that they are not deriving elsewhere in their lives. Food can often become a substitute for healthy relationships, mood and life satisfaction which results in excess body fat.
- Lack of exercise
Outside of our base metabolism which is largely determined by genes, physical activity each day represents a significant proportion of our total energy expenditure. It’s this total which is what comes out of your daily caloric intake to determine whether your body is in a caloric deficit or surplus. For those who don’t get much movement each day, it becomes harder to maintain a healthy weight as the body simply burns fewer calories. Typically around an hour of moderately intense exercise per day is recommended to maintain optimal health. Exercise also increases your basal metabolic rate due to the caloric demand increased muscle mass and cell activity has. Those with sedentary lifestyles are at higher risk of weight gain as a result of lower energy output daily.
- Thyroid issues
The thyroid is a gland located in the centre of the neck near the vocal box. It is responsible for producing enzymes that regulate a number of key bodily functions. Of these the most important is regulating metabolic activity. Metabolism is broadly defined as the cell functions your body uses to convert food into body energy within your muscle cells. Thyroid issues can cause overeating and excessive hunger or thirst. Many with hyperthyroidism or similar diseases experience significant weight gain as their metabolism goes haywire. It can also contribute to or cause depression and anxiety symptoms to worsen, leading to further cycles of over eating and excess body weight. If you experience symptoms of thyroid disorders, seek assistance from your doctor. These conditions usually need specific forms of treatment involving certain hormones or drugs to get your thyroid back on track.
Stress is the body’s flight or fight response – a natural biological function that’s purpose is to protect the organism from attackers or threats. It triggers the release of adrenalin to help you either fight or escape. But in the modern age we rarely encounter true danger. Stress today is usually caused by social factors, work related, underlying mental conditions or other factors like hormone imbalances. When it gets out of control it leads to constant over stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system which controls the fight or flight response. Not only does this system trigger adrenaline release – it also releases cortisol which is the stress hormone. Cortisol is inflammatory – it aggravates the body’s tissue and cells, causing damage, reduced function and longevity in the organs and strains the system.
Health risks of excess body weight
It’s no secret now that being fat and carrying excess body weight carries serious risks. It can both cause, as well as exacerbate many health conditions both chronic and short term. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of contract heart diseases, diabetes, thyroid and hormonal issues, reduced immune function and reduced insulin sensitivity. Any of these factors would be bad news for your health. But weight gain can cause or contribute to all of them. It also heightens your risk of blood pressure issues as well as strokes, impacting the overall cardiovascular system negatively and making it harder to get and remain fit. Being overweight can also strain the joints, knees and contribute to arthritis. As you can see it exacerbates many different negative health issues and must always be avoided.
How CBD oil helps with weight loss
CBD primarily aids weight loss efforts by lowering stress, reducing anxiety & depression symptoms (which is often a key contributor to weight gain) as well as improving hormone and homeostatic balance in the body to improve metabolic function. It’s important to note that every individual is different and improvements in weight from using CBD don’t come by themselves. It must be in combination with a high quality protein rich diet and daily exercise to shift back the caloric needle and shed those extra kilos. So how exactly does CBD oil help with weight loss?
- Reducing Overeating from Stress
The main hormone which regulates hunger is known as ghrelin. When the body needs more energy in the form of calories from food, the brain will release this hormone to signal that it’s time to eat. However many external factors can influence the release of this highly important hormone. For example – genetic factors can mean the ghrelin hormone in some individuals is more or less sensitive and can be released in too great quantities leading to overeating and weight gain. Similarly, the stress response is a major culprit for many in causing unwanted and unnecessary eating. When we get stressed, the nervous system triggers the fight or flight response. This is an ancient biological defence mechanism which is designed to protect us from danger. It causes the release of adrenaline as well as other hormones like cortisol, used to help us keep alert and ready to respond to imminent threats.
The problem with this is that we rarely encounter significant physical dangers today in our modern lives. However, the stress response can still be activated by emotional situations, tough conversations, looming deadlines or workloads that are too high. Because of this, many people are exposed to chronically high stress levels due to environmental or lifestyle factors. High stress jobs, too much screen time and feeling overwhelmed by day to day life cause excessive cortisol to be released and can wreak havoc with our ghrelin hormone. This can lead to overeating and weight gain. CBD oil is able to calm the mind and mitigate the effects of stress. Receptors in the brain known as CB1 receptors bind with cannabidiol when it enters the bloodstream. Once they reach the binding sites of the receptor, endocannabinoids are released which reduce stress markers and help prevent overeating. Hormonal imbalances from stress can be hard to manage but CBD is offering one method of bringing back balance to your diet and control of your weight.
- Helping with anxiety & depression
It’s well known that anxiety and depression are linked to overeating and weight gain. Similarly to the stress response, when our neurochemistry is out of balance it can lead to hormone changes that mean we overeat. Anxiety and depression are typically caused by underlying neurochemical imbalances – whether this is related to serotonin or other neurological signalling mechanisms. This can cause issues with impulsiveness as those who are depressed or anxious frequently seek out food to provide pleasure they are otherwise missing in their day to day lives. There’s a reason the term ‘comfort food’ exists – dopamine and endorphin release in the brain from food consumption – particularly from fatty or sugary foods – can cause an addictive feedback loop. Those who use food as a stress release and pleasure mechanism from its endorphins can quickly find themselves overeating. What’s more – cortisol release caused by the stresses of being depressed or anxious can further exacerbate over eating tendencies. As full spectrum CBD oil is anxiolytic, it can help those who are chronically anxious to calm down and avoid overeating. This is how it helps many lose weight. Relaxing the mind is key to staying in control and managing urges which might otherwise be too strong to resist.
- Improving metabolic function
CBD oil acts on the endocannabinoid system in the body. This little known metabolic system has many functions including the ability to act on our metabolism, immunity and homeostasis. Its effects on metabolic function are strong. With a range of plant phytonutrients and antioxidants, hemp oil is rich in compounds like lignin’s, beta caryophyllene and cannaflavins that are powerful at protecting our cells and supporting their function. These compounds occur in many plants and vegetables, assisting in reducing arterial plaque, preventing cancer and raising our immune system function. By improving these critical components of our health, full spectrum CBD oil aids us in keeping healthy holistically, maintaining a healthy weight range, avoiding sickness and finding balance in the mind and body. A number of studies are indicating cannabidiol may assist in the metabolism of fats and sugars. In other words it might support improved digestion and satiety, helping you stay fuller for longer. This is great news if you’re overweight. You’ll be less hungry and over time eat less food, supporting lower weight levels.
With its renowned antioxidant properties and ability to reduce inflammation in the body, CBD oil is already in use by many athletes for its recovery improving properties. It helps many reduce joint inflammation and muscle soreness that can occur after intense exercise. This applies whether it’s used topically on the skin or joint to help soothe soreness or taken orally. It is highly effective at enhancing recuperation while supporting sleep for better total recovery. While this is important for athletes to increase their body’s power output and physical performance, it’s also great for those seeking to shed those pounds. If you can recover better and faster, you’ll be able to work out harder and more frequently. Over time you’ll burn more calories and also see improvements in mood, body composition and your weight. For this reason, full spectrum CBD oil helps many in improving their weight loss outcomes by lifting their exercise performance and recovery. The analgesic (pain relieving) effects are also key to this product’s effects in improving exercise performance. Exercise can result in pain – either directly from damage to the body’s muscles, tendons and joints or through injuries for those who are unlucky. As such for many, CBD can be a sensible choice to help both with exercise related pain and recovering from injuries – all of which will support you in your weight loss journey.
Sleep is critical for the proper function of our brains and bodies. In particular, it’s essential for the regulation and functioning of our hormones. Largely this is done via the endocrine system in the body, which signals the body to produce various hormones and consists of a number of glands. Some of these hormones like cortisol, insulin, hunger hormones and sex hormones like oestrogen and testosterone are critical to managing our weight as well as overall health. Poor sleep patterns can disrupt the signalling of the endocrine system and cause our hormones to go haywire. Many of our hormones are highly dependent on sleep to replenish and regulate their release. As such, missing sleep will firstly mean you’re more stressed. Cortisol levels will be heightened and your body will be more sensitive to the release of the stress hormone, creating adverse effects including increased hunger in many. Similarly poor sleep will result in issues with hunger hormones and insulin levels. It can cause the mis-signalling of these hormones, resulting in heightened hunger, over consumption of calories and extra fat storage. CBD oil is known for its sleep improving qualities. It’s able to assist in both improving sleep length and quality, plus assist with minor sleep disorders. Again it is a great item to pick up for those looking to lose weight, helping you calm down before bed and get a great night’s rest to ensure your hormones are running smoothly.
CBD is great if you’re looking for weight loss support. While you’ll still need to maintain a consistent diet, exercise regularly and watch your calories, it’s a hugely beneficial health promoting supplement that will reinforce your overall health and recovery. We’ve examined the key reasons people gain weight – from genetics to stress, anxiety, thyroid problems and other lifestyle factors. There are many reasons people put on excess body fat – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be lost. Losing and maintaining a healthy weight is critical to long term health, life span and cardiovascular health. We covered how CBD can support you in your weight loss journey. It’s able to help lower your stress levels, bringing about better mental and physical balance. This can aid in reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression which are a major cause of weight gain for many. Finally, hemp oil’s properties as a metabolic and homeostatic balancing product are key to its efficacy in improving overall health and weight loss outcomes. It will keep your cell health strong with plant antioxidants while reducing strain and inflammation throughout the body. While more research and clinical studies are needed on this promising product, it’s clear from many users’ anecdotes that it’s already having a strong positive impact on the health of many.