You’ve heard or read a lot about it, but you’re still not sure how CBD works. First things first: Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural substance found in the cannabis plant. It is one of over 60 cannabinoids – the compounds responsible for the health benefits of cannabis. The best-known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, unlike THC, CBD does not make you high.
This makes CBD an excellent option for getting all of the benefits of cannabis without any psychoactive effects CBD is typically taken in the form of CBD oil, but can also be taken in other ways, such as edibles, capsules, vape e-liquid, app-enabled vaporizers, and creams.
CBD is used to help with a wide range of conditions, but three areas, in particular, have caught the eye of researchers: stress, anxiety and depression, and weight loss.
How CBD Works
Like other cannabinoids, CBD works primarily by interacting with body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system uses cannabinoids produced by the human body, and can also be activated by plant cannabinoids such as CBD and THC.
The ECS helps the body maintain homeostasis—a healthy state of balance. For example, it helps regulate metabolism, stress, anxiety, mood, and many other processes.
These effects explain why taking CBD works when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression.
Aids in Weight Loss
Early research indicates that CBD has the potential to aid in weight loss. Much of the hype surrounding CBD and weight loss comes from a promising Korean study.
In this 2016 study, researchers applied CBD to isolated immature fat cells from mice. This stimulated the “browning” of the cells, meaning that they took on characteristics of brown fat rather than typical white fat.
To understand what this means, let’s quickly define what brown fat is. Put simply, our bodies have two types of fat: white and brown. White fat is the one most of us are accustomed to: it is the fat under our skin and around our organs that we want to lose.
Brown fat, on the other hand, is a special type of fat that produces heat. It helps keep us warm, and is particularly abundant in babies. Because it burns energy to keep us warm, brown fat can help us lose fat. In fact, researchers are currently investigating brown fat as a new way for addressing obesity and diabetes.
This means that CBD works as an aid in weight loss by encouraging immature fat cells to take on characteristics of metabolism-boosting, heat-producing brown fat cells.
In addition to this study, two more studies examined the effects of CBD on appetite and body weight in rats. In the first study, rats injected with CBD saw a reduction in body weight gain compared to those who weren’t. Meanwhile, in the second study, rats given CBD experienced a reduction of appetite leading to reduced food consumption.
Finally, a 2017 review of scientific literature found that weight loss was a common side effect of CBD in people who took it for seizures. Together, this research evidence indicates that CBD holds real potential to help people lose weight through multiple ways.
Stress is a wide-ranging issue that involves anxiety, mood issues, poor memory, sleep problems, and many other symptoms. Although having some stress in our daily lives is normal, it can easily become too much.
Stress can throw us off balance by overwhelming the body’s capacity to cope. This is where CBD can offer help by providing a boost to the endocannabinoid system’s natural ability to resist stress and maintain a healthy state of balance.
Research shows that CBD works wonders for stressed people. For example, one study showed that CBD affects brain areas involved in regulating and responding to stress. In addition, CBD can help with insomnia and reduce anxiety and depression — issues closely linked to stress.
Relieves Anxiety & Depression
An increasing number of people are taking CBD to help alleviate anxiety and depression. This use is supported by a growing volume of research evidence.
According to a 2015 review paper, researchers believe that CBD has the potential to help with a wide range of issues related to anxiety.
CBD can help with panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Several studies have shown that CBD can reduce anxiety. In one study, people suffering from social anxiety disorder (SAD) were given 600 mg of CBD oil, resulting in a reduction of anxiety during public speaking. In addition, CBD has been shown to counter the anxiety induced by its psychoactive cousin THC. Furthermore, these findings are backed by animal studies showing alleviation of anxiety in mice and rats.
CBD and depression
Considering that depression often goes hand-in-hand with anxiety, it’s not surprising that CBD can be helpful here as well. Although the research evidence for CBD’s effects on depression is not as strong as for anxiety, the findings are promising.
In particular, multiple studies in rats report that CBD can reduce depression. In these studies, rats given CBD performed better in various tests of depression, such as the forced swimming test.
Early research indicates that CBD has real potential to help people lose weight, combat stress, and relieve anxiety and depression. Although more research is needed to conclusively prove CBD’s health benefits, the current findings are promising.
This amazing natural compound does not make you high and does not carry any serious side effects, making it both safe and effective. This helps explain why it has rapidly grown in popularity over the past several years as the non-psychoactive alternative to THC and whole cannabis.
There are many ways to add CBD to your daily routine, such as CBD oil, capsules, edibles, and creams. Most people find CBD oil the most convenient option because it is easy to take, works quickly, and has potent effects.