Does CBD Make You Hungry?

It does, but it doesn’t at the same time.

Hemp CBD and food

CBD is a non-intoxicating but psychoactive cannabinoid present in all varieties of cannabis, including hemp and marijuana. Unlike THC, CBD does not make you hungry. Instead, it indirectly stimulates your appetite by preventing sickness, nausea, and stomach complaints caused by anxiety, stress, depression, and gastrointestinal imbalances. Conversely, CBD is also a potential appetite suppressant and metabolism booster, which might help with weight loss and prevent obesity.

Does CBD give you the munchies?

No, CBD doesn’t make you hungry, nor does it give you the munchies like THC or its other variants like delta-8, delta-10, and THC-O. 

THC directly induces hunger by activating cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in your brain’s olfactory bulb and hypothalamus, two regions responsible for hunger, thirst, smell, taste, energy, and body temperature. 

THC’s activation of CB1 also releases the hormone ghrelin, a hunger hormone produced by gastrointestinal cells. When your stomach is empty, ghrelin lets your brain know you need food. 

CBD doesn’t activate CB1 receptors or release the ghrelin hormone. However, it interacts with other receptor sites to indirectly boost your appetite and hunger.

How does CBD increase your appetite?

Woman taking CBD oil to suppress appetite

As mentioned, CBD doesn’t directly boost appetite or hunger the same way as THC and other cannabinoids that bind to cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors. 

Instead, CBD indirectly promotes appetite stimulation by alleviating nausea and promoting gastrointestinal health. It does this by interacting with various receptor sites separate from your endocannabinoid system, a complex biological network responsible for regulating hunger and appetite and sleep, pain, stress, immune response, and inflammatory response. 

CBD alleviates nausea to boost appetite 

Nausea is a common but uncomfortable physical sensation characterized by the urge to vomit and a reduced desire to eat. There are many causes of nausea, including anxiety, stress, digestive disorders, medications, or chemotherapy treatment. 

CBD can reduce nausea symptoms, stimulate appetite, and increase food intake. 

Studies on animals show CBD activates serotonin receptors. Activation of serotonin receptors promotes calm and balance while helping to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and stress, which can both cause mild-to-moderate nausea. 

CBD improves gastrointestinal health to stimulate appetite 

Cannabis and its compounds—including CBD—have been used as a viable gut remedy treatment for thousands of years. However, only recently have scientists taken a keener interest, suggesting CBD improves gastrointestinal health with the potential to alleviate inflammatory bowel diseases and gastric inflammation. 

CBD’s gut protection qualities result from its ability to agonize GPR55 receptors, which controls the inflammatory response and activates enteric glial cells, thus inhibiting inflammation. The researchers note that PPARγ mediated the beneficial anti-inflammatory effects.

Does CBD help with weight loss?

Woman in fitness clothes holding CBD flower

CBD could help weight loss, but the research is limited to preclinical studies, mostly animal test subjects. 

One particular study on rat test subjects shows CBD significantly reduced appetite. Cannabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG) increased appetite and induced no changes, respectively. The researchers note that CBD’s ability to decrease appetite could mean a viable future treatment for obesity. 

CBD converts white fat into brown fat 

CBD might also stimulate the breakdown of fat molecules. Research shows CBD might also encourage the conversion of white fat into brown fat. CBD causing noticeable weight loss through white-brown fat conversion in humans is inconclusive. 

There are two types of fat within your body: white and brown fat. White fat is “bad fat”, while brown fat is “good fat”. White fat stores energy and extra calories. Too much white fat can lead to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. 

On the other hand, brown fat breaks down fat molecules and burns calories to encourage heat and maintain body temperature. Many believe the burning of brown fat cells could lead to weight loss. 

Conversion of white to brown fat occurs when the body is exposed to colder temperatures, exercise, and adequate sleep. 

CBD could increase your metabolism and reduce food consumption

CBD might also increase your metabolism. Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories and turns them into energy. The higher your metabolism, the better it is for weight loss. 

CBD potentially increases metabolism by influencing CB1 and CB2 receptors present in your brain and lymphoid tissue. These receptors are responsible for appetite and hunger. 

A 2015 study on obese mice shows CBD specifically targeted CB2 receptors, producing “a profound reduction in bodyweight gain”, even when food intake was reduced. 

CBD regulates insulin levels

Preclinical research suggests CBD might balance insulin levels in mice test subjects. The researchers discovered the incidence of diabetes was only 30% in mice treated with CBD. In comparison, the incidence of diabetes in mice not treated with CBD was 86%

Insulin is a hormone secreted by your pancreas and is responsible for regulating your blood sugar (glucose) level and metabolism. When you eat a meal, glucose levels start to rise, signaling your pancreas to produce insulin and remove it from your bloodstream. Too much insulin can prevent fat burning, leading to weight gain. 

However, research on CBD and its effect on human insulin levels is limited.

Does CBD reduce your appetite and act as an appetite suppressant? 

Woman holding CBD joint

Interestingly, cannabis strains higher in CBD caused appetite reduction, even with the presence of THC. There’s one possible explanation for this. 

CBD is a negative allosteric modulator of the CB1 receptor, meaning it attaches to a different region on the receptor separate from THC. CBD’s modulatory behavior reduces THC’s effects, including its ability to increase your appetite. 

Does marijuana promote weight loss?

There is little research to suggest marijuana use causes weight loss. However, evidence indicates marijuana users typically weigh less than those who don’t consume marijuana.

A compelling 2011 review shows cannabis users have lower obesity rates than those who don’t smoke cannabis. 

The report includes two surveys with a total of 50,736 participants. Only 16.1% of cannabis users were obese, while the prevalence of obesity among non-cannabis users was 22%. 

Likewise, an earlier 2020 research paper indicates obesity among young adults who use cannabis is lower than non-cannabis users. 

Does the link between cannabis users and lower obesity rates mean marijuana is a decent tool for losing weight? No. Not necessarily. Both studies above indicate an essential connection between marijuana users and lower body weight, but they don’t conclusively illustrate why. 

Should you use CBD for weight loss?

Unfortunately, we can’t recommend CBD for weight loss. The research isn’t conclusive. 

However, plenty of anecdotal stories from users claiming CBD, along with a healthy diet and exercise, helped them lose weight. We imagine this is primarily down to diet and exercise, but CBD could be a secondary contributing factor.

Does CBD cause stomach bloating?

No. CBD in itself won’t cause stomach bloating, but other ingredients in a CBD product can. If you’re using CBD oil, the carrier the extract is diluted in can affect your stomach. The most commonly used carrier oil is a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT).

Medium-chain triglyceride carrier oils are sourced from natural coconut oil or palm oil and primarily contain the fatty acids caproic acid (C6), caprylic acid (C8), capric acid (C10), and lauric acid (C12). 

Consuming too much MCT oil can cause gastrointestinal pain, burning, and discomfort. It might also cause diarrhea, loose stools, and anal burning. These gastrointestinal problems result from too much C6, C8, and C10, which the body finds more challenging to digest. 

If you value a balanced gut and consider your anus a best friend, limit the amount of MCT you consume, whether it be in CBD oil or as a cooking ingredient. If you do consume MCT oil, make sure you eat beforehand.

Side effects of CBD

CBD is well-tolerated, and its side effects are mild, temporary, and non-life-threatening. There are no reports of adverse health problems from consuming CBD products unless they’re manufactured by shady, unscrupulous companies with no consideration for your wellbeing. 

Common side effects of CBD include:

  • Tiredness
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach complaints
  • Nausea

CBD can also negatively interact and interfere with prescription and non-prescription medications, preventing them from metabolizing correctly in your body and negatively altering their effects. In rare cases, significant health problems or overdose can occur.

We recommend speaking with a doctor or healthcare physician before taking CBD oil.

Conclusion: More research is needed to uncover CBD’s effects on your appetite 

CBD has conflicting effects on your appetite. Some research suggests CBD can increase your appetite, while other studies show it decreases your appetite. Conflicting research like this is why it’s difficult to recommend a product for weight loss, weight gain, or general appetite problems.