Eating disorders are more common in women than men affecting mostly girls in adolescence and women at a young age. However, other age groups and men can also be affected. Anorexia and bulimia are the two most common eating disorders and according to the Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 30million people in the US suffer from one of them, putting their lives at risk.
On the other hand, the risk of getting diabetes and other metabolic disorders are greatly increased in people that are overweight.
There is one compound found naturally in the cannabis plant that can help both the sufferers of an eating disorder and for weight loss. Cannabidiol, or CBD as it is commonly known, is one of these compounds.
In this article, we look at how science has helped to back up the hype surrounding CDB in helping people with an eating disorder, while it can also help others that want to achieve weight loss.
What is the difference between anorexia and Bulimia?
A preoccupation with one’s body image can cause one of the two types of eating disorders. Anorexia refers to an extremely restrictive diet, which causes such extreme weight loss and the term literally means severe lack or loss of appetite. Bulimia refers to episodes of binge-purge eating, with the sufferer often eating in secret and preferring to binge on high-calorie foods. Feelings of self-disgust then lead to excessive exercise, vomiting or the use of laxatives which bringing a sense of relief.
The triggers for eating disorders are usually more than one factor and can include genetic, psychological, trauma, family, social or cultural. In groups where a slim physique is important, e.g. dancers, gymnasts, models, etc. there are higher rates of eating disorders.
How does CBD help with bulimia?
In a recent study, it was found that people with eating disorders have elevated levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide in their blood. It has also been proposed that disturbances in the neural circuitries regulating appetite, food intake, energy balance, leptin and the endocannabinoid system play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of all eating disorders.
It has also been discovered that anorexic and bulimic patients are more likely to have mutations in the cannabinoid receptor 1 gene or in the FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) gene, an enzyme that degrades cannabinoids. It was shown that anorexic patients are actually more likely to have mutations in both genes. This degradation leads to an endocannabinoid deficiency.
How can CBD help people with eating disorders?
People with eating disorders are often placed on medication for depression and anxiety and there is no other medication that they can take to actually treat their disorder. Sufferers also undergo psychological guidance in talking therapy sessions and are also provided with a healthy dietary plan. These prescribed medications actually have no effect on the main issues which cause anorexia, namely, lifestyle.
CBD oil or CBD infused products help improve the endocannabinoid deficiency and its use helps to increase the appetite. CBD works alongside the endocannabinoid system to increase the release of natural healing cannabinoids. CBD also helps with anxiety and stress and it can treat the worst symptoms of anorexia without causing toxicity or psychoactive effects.
CBD is proving to be an effective alternative treatment for eating disorders and is helping people regain their weight by taking control of their eating habits.
CBD and Weight Loss
The way CBD works in the body may assist in weight loss. Through the built-in endocannabinoid system, the body has two cannabinoid (CB) receptors, called the CB1 and CB2 receptors and they respond to different compounds.
CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and central nervous system while CB2 receptors exist throughout the body. In people with weight problems, CB1 receptors are more widespread through the body, mostly in fatty tissue. This has led researchers to believe that there may be a link between obesity and the activation of CB1 receptors.
CBD may assist in weight loss and other metabolic functions by influencing the body’s natural cannabinoids to block off or activate the receptors but doesn’t activate them directly.
Research and evidence on CBD
For a long time, it has been believed that CBD helps with weight loss by reducing appetite. This may not be true for THC since people who smoke cannabis tend to have a stimulated appetite as the psychoactive component in cannabis activates the CB1 receptors.
In a 2018 study paper, its authors note that CB1 receptor antagonists may help reduce appetite and control obesity since they influence other molecules to block them off, preventing overeating in some people.
The multiple roles of CBD
Advocates of CBD claim that it also converts white, or “bad” fat, into brown fat, this helps the body to burn calories, while ridding it of the white fat helps to reduce the risks for heart disease and diabetes. These claims were also later proven in a study where the researchers noted that CBD may be a promising treatment for the prevention of obesity and in aiding weight loss.
The fact that CBD melts away fat by breaking it down and helping to eliminate it as waste has also been shown in the recent study. Since brown fat cells are more active, they burn off energy as heat. As CBD turns white cells into brown cells it changes how they act in the body, and they actually burn off calories that in turn leads to weight loss.
CBD alone will not help reduce weight and it cannot replace a healthy diet or regular exercise. Not all bodies are the same and each individual may need a different dose of CBD and those considering its use should consult with their doctor, especially if they are on other medications.
The connection between CBD and weight loss in studies are promising and more research into it will surely follow. In combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise, CBD can help with weight loss by burning calories and suppressing the appetite. CBD oil products are available in various strengths and are also available in tablets form.