Resolved to lose those extra holiday pounds, or maybe 2021 is just the year to get back into your “fighting” weight? Whatever the reason and whatever your weight loss goal, CBD may be what you need to shed those extra pounds.
What contributes to weight gain, and how CBD help
Sleep deprivation: Sleep deprivation throws off the signals to your brain that you have had enough to eat. This can upset the hormonal balance that controls your appetite and metabolism so that you may overeat even when you’ve had enough food.
Researchers are exploring the benefits of cannabidiol or CBD for a good night’s sleep. CBD is one of over 60 cannabinoids or naturally occurring chemicals found in industrial hemp and marijuana that interact with natural receptors in the brain and body to regulate sleep, appetite, mood, immune function, and pain, as well as other functions. These cannabinoids work with the body’s own endocannabinoid system (ECS), a vital molecular system made up of neurotransmitters that send chemical messages between neurons, which are the cells that transmit nerve impulses. Some research on CBD and sleep indicates that CBD may interact with specific receptors in the ECS to potentially affect the sleep/wake cycle.
Anxiety and stress: Researchers have linked overeating to stress. When you are persistently stressed, your adrenal glands release the hormone cortisol. Cortisol increases appetite and may also ramp up motivation in general, including the motivation to eat. Add to that effects of high-fat, sugary "comfort foods” that push us to overeat.
Many Americans are turning to CBD to reduce anxiety and stress. A recent survey on the use of CBD found that among those that use CBD, about 55% of those who have tried it say they use it to relax, and another 50% said they were looking for stress and anxiety relief. Research suggests that in addition to impacting the endocannabinoid system, CBD may control the release of serotonin, a chemical that has a wide variety of functions in the body and contributes to wellbeing and happiness.
While more research is needed on CBD and anxiety, a 2011 study found that CBD was able to reduce Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). This preliminary study aimed to compare the effects of a simulation public speaking test (SPST) on healthy control patients and treatment-naïve SAD patients who received a single dose of CBD or placebo. Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in the speech performance of control patients, and significantly decreased alert levels in their anticipatory speech. The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels when compared with the control group.
Chronic Pain: Experiencing pain can lead to overeating. Overeating occurs either as a response to pain itself, depression, and/or sleeplessness due to pain. Overeating because of chronic pain is probably even more common than eating during an acute painful episode. Food can make it easier to bear the pain and for some the weight gain may not be as important as having pain-free moments. 
Research indicates that CBD has been effective in pain management. CBD has been shown to increase the body’s levels of anandamide, a compound associated with regulating pain, which can reduce pain perception and improve mood. CBD may also control inflammation in the brain and nervous system to benefit people experiencing pain, insomnia, and certain immune system responses.
Other ways CBD supports weight loss
Other research suggests that CBD may boost metabolic processes. The endocannabinoid system was recently shown to control several metabolic functions by acting on peripheral tissues such as adipocytes (cells for storing fat), hepatocytes (cells in the liver that control a range of synthetic and metabolic functions), the gastrointestinal tract, the skeletal muscles and the endocrine pancreas.
Data from other research on obesity also suggests that CBD is a potentially promising therapeutic agent for preventing obesity by turning white fat into brown fat. Specifically, white, visceral fat is the unhealthy fat that accumulates in obesity and the fat that needs to be reduced in weight loss to improve health. On the other hand, brown fat gets its color from iron-rich mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell. When brown fat burns, a process called thermogenesis happens, and calories in the form of white fat are burned for energy. CBD was found to increase the expression of multiple genes that are involved in the browning of fat.
So besides staying away from the refrigerator, you may want to try CBD to help promote weight loss.
 “CBD for Sleep and Insomnia,” American Sleep Association,” accessed January 3, 2021. https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep-treatments/cbd/
 “Why Stress Causes People to Overeat,” Harvard Medical School, October 13, 2020. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/why-stress-causes-people-to-overeat
 Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, et al. Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011;36(6):1219‐1226. doi:10.1038/npp.2011.6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21307846/
 Wurtman, Judith J. MD, “Relieving Pain Without Gaining Weight,” Psychology Today, May 26, 2026. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-antidepressant-diet/201605/relieving-pain-without-gaining-weight
 “Does CBD Work for Chronic Pain Management,” Medical News Today, accessed January 3, 2020. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319475
 Bellocchio L, Cervino C, Pasquali R, Pagotto U. The endocannabinoid system and energy metabolism. J Neuroendocrinol. 2008 Jun;20(6):850-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2008.01728.x. PMID: 18601709.
 Lagano, Laura, “How CBD Can Potentially Combat Obesity,” Fresh Toast, February 3, 2020. https://thefreshtoast.com/cannabis/the-connection-between-obesity-and-cbd/