Today you’re going to learn whether CBD can make you lose weight or gain weight.
While this isn’t a well-researched topic, there have been a few studies that looked at the effects of CBD on weight gain.
Most of these studies are animal studies.
There are also a few human studies that looked if CBD had any effects on weight as part of their study. These human studies looked at the effects of CBD on weight gain mostly within the context of side effects, but that doesn’t make the study results less relevant.
Like with many questions related to how a compound affects a physiological metric, there’s no easy answer.
How does CBD affect weight gain? Well, it depends.
Some studies suggest that CBD affects weight gain differently based on the dose, and the type of diet the user eats.
Let’s dive right in!
Table of contents:
Does CBD Have Any Effect on Weight?
A few animal studies that looked at the effects of CBD on weight gain found that CBD had no effect at all.
For example, a study published in 2018 that looked at the effects of CBD on sexual behavior and fertility in male mice found that:
Doses of 15mg/kg/day and 30mg/kg/day given for 34 consecutive days did not result in significant changes in body weight gain (1).
Another study published in 2018 that looked at the effects of CBD on an animal model (Wistar rats) of schizophrenia found that CBD had no effects on body weight gain (2). The rats were given 0.5, 1, or 5 mg/kg/day CBD for 30 days. None of the doses had a significant effect on body weight gain.
Do these studies mean CBD does not affect weight gain/loss?
These are only two studies that found no effects.
Some studies did find effects, both when it comes to weight gain and weight loss.
Can CBD Help with Weight Loss?
There are a few studies that suggest CBD could help with weight loss.
For example, a study published in 2011 found that CBD decreases body weight gain in rats (3). The rats received intraperitoneal injections of CBD at doses of 2.5 and 5 mg/kg/day for 14 consecutive days. The researchers hypothesize that CBD may have this effect on body weight gain through its effects on the cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptor.
They came to this conclusion as follows:
CBD is an inverse agonist of the CB2 receptor, which means that it depresses/normalizes the activity of this receptor. The researchers found that ‘AM630’, which is a CB2-receptor antagonist blocked the CBD-induced bodyweight decrease. Antagonists can block the activity of both agonists and inverse agonists.
AM630 blocked CBD’s effects on the CB2-receptor, and with it, it blocked the CBD-associated decrease in weight.
Since we know CBD is an inverse agonist of the CB2-receptor, this study suggests that CBD’s effects as an inverse agonist on the CB2-receptor may be responsible for its weight decreasing effects.
A more recent study published in 2018 that looked at the long‑term safety, tolerability, and efficacy of CBD in children with refractory epilepsy found that:
10 out of 26 (38.4%) experienced decreased appetite, and 8 out of 26 (30.7%) experienced weight loss as a side effect (4). In one extreme case, an already underweight patient experienced a weight loss of 16.4% and returned to baseline after stopping the use of CBD.
Important to note with this study is that the patients received relatively high doses of CBD:
Between 5mg/kg/day and 25 mg/kg/day.
This means that a 60kg person would take up to 1500mg CBD in a single day. These doses are significantly higher than the average dose of over-the-counter CBD products like oils or gummies, of which the dose hovers between 20mg and 50mg CBD in total.
THC is a known appetite stimulator. And some studies found that chronic THC can lead to body weight gain. Related to this, there’s one study that found that CBD can inhibit body weight gain caused by chronic THC consumption in rats (5).
The bottom line:
There are at least 2 studies that found CBD use can lead to weight loss. And at least 1 study found CBD can block THC-induced weight gain.
Can CBD Help You Gain Weight? Does It Make You Hungry?
Some studies found the opposite effect of CBD on weight.
Some studies have found that it can increase body weight.
An animal study published in 2020 found that CBD (10 mg/kg body weight) injected in Wistar rats that were subjected to daily anxiety-inducing stressors, led to a 5.94% increase in body weight compared to the control group that didn’t receive CBD (6).
Since this study was done within the context of anxiety, it’s unclear whether CBD had a direct weight-increasing effect or whether CBD had a weight-increasing effect because of its anxiety-reducing and anti-depressant properties.
A different study done back in 2007 found that CBD led to weight gain in schizophrenia patients (7). Weight gain was identified as a side effect. It’s unclear how many of the patients and how much exactly the patients gained weight.
A more recent human study published in 2020 also found that CBD led to an increase in body weight in 4 out of 13 Parkinson’s Disease patients (8). The patients received a highly purified form of CBD (Epidiolex) in doses of 20–25 mg/kg/day for 10–15 days.
Keep in mind 20–25 mg/kg/day is a very high dose, significantly higher than the average dose of an over-the-counter CBD product.
Another human study done in 2015 found that two of the main side effects associated with CBD use in epilepsy patients were:
- Increased appetite, and;
- Weight gain.
The actual increase in appetite and weight gain wasn’t perceived as severe by the patients as none of them reported discontinuing the use of CBD because of these side effects.
The bottom line:
According to multiple studies, including human studies, CBD use can lead to an increase in appetite and weight gain.
Important to mention is that most of these studies were done within the context of a different condition like anxiety or epilepsy. It could be that CBD simply normalizes appetite and body weight in cases where appetite and weight are negatively affected by a condition that CBD is found helpful for.
Based on the current scientific literature, it’s unclear what effect CBD exactly has on appetite and body weight.
- Some studies have found no effects.
- Some studies have found CBD can decrease body weight.
- And still, others have found CBD can increase appetite and body weight.
There are almost no studies that looked at the effects of CBD on body weight as the main study objective. Most data come out of studies that briefly looked at the effects of CBD within the context of side effects.
Most studies found CBD can lead to increased or decreased bodyweight within the context of conditions like anxiety, psychosis, etc.
Although one study hypothesized a mechanism of action that could explain CBD’s effects on appetite and body weight, more studies are needed to ascertain how exactly CBD affects these.
Based on the current scientific literature we can’t support the idea of using CBD for weight loss, unless you suffer from anxiety that leads to overeating, for example. What also makes sense to us, is that CBD could lead to increased appetite and body weight gain when these are negatively affected by a condition like anxiety, depression, or psychosis.
Go to our CBD Hub to learn more about CBD-related topics.
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Gáll, Z., Farkas, S., Albert, K., Ferencz, E., Vancea, S., Urkon, M., & Kolcsár, M. (2020). Effects of Chronic Cannabidiol Treatment in the Rat Chronic Unpredictable Mild Stress Model of Depression. Biomolecules, 10(5), 801. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10050801
Leweke, F., Koethe, D., Gerth, C., Nolden, B., Schreiber, D., Gross, S., . . . Klosterkotter, J. (2007). Cannabidiol as an antipsychotic agent. European Psychiatry, 22, S21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eurpsy.2007.01.084
Leehey, M. A., Liu, Y., Hart, F., Epstein, C., Cook, M., Sillau, S., . . . Bainbridge, J. (2020). Safety and Tolerability of Cannabidiol in Parkinson Disease: An Open Label, Dose-Escalation Study. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 5(4), 326–336. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2019.0068