There’s a common misconception among new CBD users that they will have an increased appetite because both CBD and THC are in full-spectrum products. It is commonly known that high levels of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, can cause a euphoric “high” along with intense feelings of hunger. But, can CBD, or cannabidiol, do the same? In order to find that out, we need to take a close look at both THC and CBD as there are differences between the two cannabinoids. THC is one of over 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. And while we know that large amounts of THC can cause the “munchies,” research has proven that CBD may have an influence on metabolism. The question here is, can CBD stimulate appetite in the same way that THC can?
Why Does THC Affect Appetite?
THC is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant that’s mainly responsible for stimulating appetite when taken in large amounts. Scientifically, the main reason why THC causes hunger is because it binds to and activates the cannabinoid-1, or CB1, receptor in the body’s endocannabinoid system. While CB1 receptors are primarily found within the brain, they are also found in other areas of the body. Interestingly, these receptors affect both hunger and appetite. Scientists have discovered that CB1 receptors are located in areas of the brain that affect how we think and feel about food. More specifically, some are located directly in the hypothalamus, which is the main appetite regulator that also controls functions like thirst and hunger.
CB1 receptors are also found in the basal ganglia that are linked to our internal rewards system, thus stimulating the feeling of pleasure that we get from eating. THC also plays a role in stimulating our appetite by boosting the levels of the ghrelin hormone that functions to increase our appetite. Ghrelin, a hunger hormone, is produced in increased amounts by the body when the stomach is empty, thus signaling the brain to evoke a sensation of hunger. THC stimulates feelings of hunger by increasing ghrelin in the body, causing you to feel hungry even when you aren’t. While THC can cause feelings of hunger and can stimulate appetite, CBD does not because it doesn’t interact with the CB1 receptor in the same manner as THC. This is a good reason why CBD doesn’t cause you to feel “high” or hungry.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a network of nerve receptors that are found throughout the body. This system, which works to keep the body in a state of balance, consists of CB1 and CB2 receptors that interact with THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. The CB1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system, while the CB2 receptors are mostly found in the peripheral nervous system. The ECS is believed to help balance such systems and bodily functions as:
- Responses to discomfort
- Learning and memory
- Liver function
THC binds to the receptors to help bring about a feeling of relaxation, sleepiness, and a reduction in tension. THC can also bring about feelings of hunger when taken in large quantities. While scientists believe that THC works with endocannabinoid receptors, they also think that CBD may work in the body in a different way. Even though they aren’t completely sure, scientists think that CBD may work in the body by preventing endocannabinoids from being broken down too soon. This allows the endocannabinoid to have more of an effect in the body. Still others believe that CBD adheres to a specific receptor that has yet to be discovered.
The endocannabinoid system also contains enzymes. The two main enzymes responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids once they have done their job are fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglycerol acid lipase. Fatty acid amide hydrolase breaks down the endocannabinoid anandamide, or AEA, and monoacylglycerol acid lipase breaks down the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol, or 2-AG. Both of these endocannabinoids help the body’s internal workings run smoothly. The body will only make these endocannabinoids as needed.
How Does the Endocannabinoid System Influence Digestion and Gut Health?
Most of us know that proper gut health is pivotal in helping us to maintain our health and wellbeing. But what most don’t know is that while the gut is where food is digested, it also communicates with the brain and is directly linked to mood level, immune function, and inflammation control. In fact, 90% of the serotonin hormone is manufactured in the gut. Some issues affecting gut health are diet, stress, excessive alcohol intake, and sleep disturbances. Moreover, some of the ways that you can tell if your gut health is off is by seeing:
- Stomach Bloating
- Stomach Cramps
- Food Allergies
- Brain Fog
- Sleep Issues
- Increase in Weight
Scientists have discovered that the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is responsible for both controlling the workings of the gut and influencing gut health in a great number of ways.
The ECS Can Help to Control Digestion
A properly functioning gut is pivotal for optimum health and wellness. When food can move unobstructed through the digestive tract, the nutrients can best be absorbed by the body, which will help curtail such issues as stomach upset, nausea, constipation, and indigestion. When the endocannabinoid receptors are stimulated in the gut, this may create a positive impact on the gastrointestinal tract.
Gut and Brain Communication May Be Strengthened
It’s no surprise that the gut and the brain have an intimate relationship with one another. Therefore, when the brain isn’t functioning properly, the gut will be negatively impacted. Conversely, when the gut isn’t at peak performance, then the brain will also be negatively affected. The endocannabinoid system facilitates communication between the brain and the gut, therefore, maintaining balance of the ECS will significantly work to improve communication between the gut and the brain.
Will Hemp-Based CBD Make You Hungry?
If you’re looking to use CBD as a means to increase your appetite, then you’ll be disappointed when that doesn’t happen. Some people erroneously believe that CBD increases appetite in the same way that THC does. However, both CBD and THC impact the body in very different ways. While THC affects appetite, CBD may help support balance in the body, which can ultimately help bring about improvements in the health of your gut as well as help to level out your appetite.
Researchers think that even though CBD doesn’t have the same impact on appetite that THC does, it may work to help the body have good digestive health. Therefore, CBD will not make you feel hungry at all. It could, however, help your body sustain a state of balance, which in turn may help bolster a steady appetite. For some people, a simple fine tuning and adjusting of the endocannabinoid system is all that it takes to achieve a balanced and healthy gut.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
Under federal law, specifically the 2018 Farm Bill, only hemp-based CBD products containing 0.3% or less THC are legal throughout the United States. CBD products made from marijuana are only legal in states that have recreational or medicinal marijuana laws in force. But that’s not the only way that hemp and marijuana differ. Because hemp-derived CBD oil has such low levels of THC, there’s no way that anyone can feel “high” or hungry from using them. This is not the case with marijuana-derived CBD oil, as the THC levels are way over the federal limit. Marijuana products high in THC will evoke a “high” as well as intense feelings of hunger.
What’s the Difference Between Full-Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and CBD Isolate Oil?
There are many differences between full-spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate oil varieties. These differences are seen in the basic cannabinoid makeup of the varieties. Full-spectrum oils contain CBD, THC, as well as other cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients. Broad spectrum oil is similar to full-spectrum oil, except for the fact that all of the THC has been filtered out. Lastly, CBD isolate contains only 99% pure CBD because all of the rest of the components of the hemp plant have been removed through a special filtration process. If you’re concerned about the THC in full-spectrum products, then you might want to opt for broad spectrum or CBD isolate oils. Likewise, if you’re subjected to regular drug tests, then it’s important to know that hemp-derived full-spectrum products could cause false positives to occur. Therefore, you also may want to opt for broad-spectrum or CBD isolate products.
Closing Thoughts on CBD and Hunger
Hemp-based CBD oil will not cause you to feel hungry at all. In fact, there’s a big difference between CBD oil that’s made from hemp versus oil that’s made from marijuana. While CBD oil that’s derived from marijuana contains high levels of THC that can evoke intense feelings of hunger, hemp-based CBD naturally contains low levels of the cannabinoid and will, therefore, not make you feel hungry. CBD oil works with the body’s endocannabinoid system to help regulate various systems and functions. So, when you consistently and regularly use CBD oil, you’re helping to support your body’s endocannabinoid system, which can, in turn, help to balance the health and wellbeing of your gut and digestive tract.