The “munchies” are a common side effect of cannabis. Logic dictates that it can only worsen the risk of diabetes and other metabolic conditions. However, science proves the opposite true. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is able to influence appetite and metabolism, but in a unique and different way to tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Science shows CBD safe for combating both diabetes and obesity.
Since metabolism has a direct effect on diabetes, the effect of CBD on metabolism is crucial. Research shows CBD able to influence metabolism directly. Korean researchers conducted a study in 2016, published in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, that proved CBD having not one, but three different mechanisms for inducing what the medical world calls “fat browning.”
The research team discovered that CBD has the potential to stimulate both the proteins and genes responsible for breaking down fat cells. Additionally, they noted that CBD boosts the number and activity of mitochondria, which enables the body to burn calories even faster. Interestingly, the group also found CBD lowering the expression of those proteins responsible for manufacturing new fat cells.
The scientific community has long been blaming white fat cells for heart diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other metabolic conditions. The ability of brown fat cells to burn energy means they are able to promote weight loss and effectively treat obesity. The research team concluded that CBD has the potential to induce “fat browning,” or in plain speak, convert white fat into brown fat.
The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is the mechanism that allows CBD to interact with the body. It contains specific receptors and neurotransmitters, as well as a large number of metabolic enzymes. Science suggests that the endocannabinoid system has a direct association with all metabolic functions, including the transportation of nutrients and the storing of fat cells.
Data now provides conclusive evidence that the endocannabinoid system plays a direct role in creating insulin sensitivity. Because science already shows that THC stimulates appetite to affect metabolism, we know that it prompts us to eat more calories than we would without it. However, a 2008 study suggests that cannabis, most notable cannabidiol, can stimulate other metabolic functions, besides hunger alone.
THC has the job of increasing metabolism in the endocrine pancreas, the skeletal muscles, the gastrointestinal tract, and more. The endocannabinoid system has the same function, and it does so with two of its own endocannabinoids, called anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol. Both of these endocannabinoids interact with specific receptors, namely CB1 and CB2, in the body and in the brain.
CBD interacts with these exact same receptors, just differently. As opposed to increase calorie intake, CBD stimulates these receptors to metabolize them quicker. As nice as this is, it is crucial not to overstimulate the endocannabinoid system, as it can cause the opposite to occur instead, ultimately leading to more fat storage, increased abdominal obesity, and further resistance to insulin.
When stimulated too much, the Endocannabinoid Research Group says that CB1 receptors can heighten the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a condition with a direct link to causing excess body fat, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Despite this, CBD, which is an antagonist to CB1 receptors, has the opposite effect. In fact, science shows CBD with the ability to treat these illnesses.
Despite CBD able to lower appetite, decrease weight gain, and reduce intake of calories, many other cannabinoids do the complete opposite, such as THC and CBN. The School of Pharmacy at the United Kingdom’s University of Reading conducted a study in 2012 that shows CBD effective at both reducing risk and treating diabetes on its own, but other cannabinoids may render it redundant as treatment.
For this reason, when you buy CBD oil online, get pure oils instead of those that contain THC and other cannabinoids, such as buds and THC-rich oils. Strangely, despite this, evidence suggests that frequent pot use lowers Body Mass Index scores in users. This may seem confusing, but what it does indicate is that, although CBD has vast antidiabetic effects, more study is necessary to understand its mechanisms.