You may have heard claims that CBD can lower appetite and support weight loss. But there wasn’t much evidence to support them, at least until now.
According to a new systematic review paper published by Portuguese researchers, there may be some truth to CBD’s appetite-suppressing effects. They examined the results of 11 high-quality human studies, concluding that CBD may reduce appetite.
But it’s not that simple. For one thing, most of the studies used high doses of pure CBD. Read on to learn more about the study and its significance.
The Study Design and Findings
The researchers performed a systematic review, which is where you gather all of the relevant studies and summarize their findings to answer a research question. In this case, the question was whether or not CBD affects appetite and body weight.
They searched for relevant human studies of CBD, making sure to only include randomized placebo-controlled trials (the gold standard for clinical research) which listed the CBD dose, had CBD as the major cannabinoid, and met other criteria.
They settled on 11 studies, finding that 7 of them reported CBD having an anorexigenic (appetite-reducing) effect. One study reported an increase in appetite, while two more reported no effect.
The researchers concluded that “This systematic review suggests that cannabidiol has an anorexigenic effect, correlated with a decrease in body weight.”
CBD May Help but There Are Some Caveats
While these findings are promising, it’s important to highlight that most of the 11 studies used high daily oral doses of pure CBD — anywhere from 5 mg/kg (or 310 mg for a 62 kg person, the average global weight) to 750 mg. These amounts are unrealistic for most CBD users.
Additionally, many if not most people take CBD in full-spectrum extract form, which contains many other cannabinoids and terpenes. Although full-spectrum extracts are considered more effective than pure CBD, they can also have ingredients that may increase appetite, such as THC.
The review also had some limitations, such as the fact that CBD was used alongside other medications, such as anti-epileptic drugs. Also, most of the studies didn’t measure changes in body weight, so we don’t know if the reductions in appetite actually led to noticeable weight loss.
The bottom line is that although CBD may have some weight loss benefits, further research is needed. In particular, we need studies that track changes in both appetite and body weight and test the effects of full-spectrum products and other routes of administration.
Gleb is a freelance writer from Vancouver, Canada specializing in CBD and cannabis. He’s read thousands of studies on CBD and other supplements, helping him translate complex science into plain language. Gleb has tried and reviewed dozens of CBD brands and products, written third-party testing reports, and knows the CBD industry inside and out. When not writing, he likes to kickbox, travel, and tell everyone how awesome intermittent fasting is.