Cannabis has a bit of a reputation when it comes to your appetite. So much so that its ability to create an unstoppable case of the munchies has led to its use as an effective treatment for the loss of appetite in chemotherapy and other conditions.
What most people don’t realize, however, is that this is mostly due to the effects of THC.
CBD, on the other hand, tells a totally different story when it comes to your insatiable desire to stuff your face with anything and everything in sight.
Differences Between CBD and THC
THC, and CBD, in many respects, have opposite effects on your body and mind. If THC is the party cannabinoid that likes to get wild and have a good time, CBD is the responsible one, helping with recovery and rejuvenation.
How can these two different cannabinoids have such different effects?
It comes down to chemistry and how these two different molecules affect different receptors.
THC stimulates CB1 receptors, largely found in the brain. CBD, however, is a little more complex. While it stimulates CB2 receptors that are found throughout the body and immune system, it also inhibits CB1 receptors by blocking the same place where THC wants to bind.
The Endocannabinoid System and Metabolism
The system of cannabinoid receptors, called the endocannabinoid system, is widely distributed throughout the entire body found in the brain, immune system, spleen, GI tract, liver, pancreas, stomach, skeletal muscles, and even fat tissue.
With receptors acting on every major organ of the digestive system, it’s clear that this system is deeply involved with many aspects of your metabolism, (read more here). Consequently, there are far-reaching implications for cannabis’ therapeutic value for a variety of digestive conditions, but for now, let’s just focus on appetite.
Appetite and the Brain
A region of the brain called the hypothalamus controls appetite which then regulates the secretion of two different hormones: ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin stimulates hunger and appetite. Leptin creates the sensation of satiety, of being full.
The neural circuit in the hypothalamus that regulates Ghrelin is stimulated by CB1 receptors. This is how THC creates such powerful cravings.
It is so effective, in fact, that a pharmaceutical company designed a CB1 blocker as a diet pill to control appetite. While it did work as cannabis for weight loss by suppressing appetite, it was terminated as a drug candidate because of psychological side effects.
Plants, it seems, are still better chemists than humans.
CBD, however, happens to be an incredibly effective CB1 blocker (and unfortunately, for big pharma, non-patentable). Animal studies showed that rats given CBD ate much less food than the control, and CBD has been shown to increase leptin levels.
Cannabis for Weight Loss: Reduce Your Appetite With CBD
So what does this mean for the CBD consumer?
If you take a CBD capsule, you won’t get the munchies and consume an embarrassing amount of granola. You probably won’t think much about food at all unless it is pushed in front of your face.
If you smoke flower or use a concentrate that is more balanced in the THC to CBD ratio, you may still get the urge to eat, the smell and sight may be oh-so tantalizing, but you’ll feel full more quickly.
And if you’re smoking a super-high THC strain, hide any food that you might want for tomorrow!