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Obesity & CBD Oil: Research on Managing Appetite & Transforming Fat

Obesity is characterized by the presence of excessive body fat. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), between 2015 and 2016, 93.3 million adults—almost 40% of the adult population—in the United States were classified as being obese.

With conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and metabolic syndrome all associated with obesity, it is causing problems at epidemic proportions. At first glance, cannabidiol (CBD) may not seem like a good candidate to help fight the obesity epidemic, but research is stating otherwise.

While the cannabis plant and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have long been associated with overeating (i.e. the “munchies”), CBD in isolation may work differently

Benefits of Using CBD Oil for Obesity

Ultimately, for one to escape the clutches of obesity, weight loss is paramount. It is well known that sticking to a healthy diet and increasing physical activity are the most effective ways to lose weight, but these methods require consistency and determination that often proves difficult for many to maintain.

Weight-loss drugs such as lorcaserin (Belviq), topiramate (Qsymia), and orlistat (Xenical) are available to help make the weight loss battle a little easier, but these all come with unpleasant side effects that many would rather do without.

CBD oil may present a viable alternative to weight loss medications, if taken with proper lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. If you’re on one of these common weight loss medications and considering taking CBD oil, speak to your doctor first, and keep this chart in mind.

Weight Loss Medications Potential Side Effects Potential Side Effects of Combining CBD Oil w/ Weight Loss Meds Potential Benefits of Using CBD Oil
Topiramate (Qsymia) Increased bleeding or bruising; tingling in arms and legs; loss of appetite; nausea; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness Using CBD oil with Topiramate can increase the likelihood of experiencing dizziness and drowsiness.   Always consult a doctor before using CBD oil CBD oil has been shown to reduce nausea
Orlistat (Xenical) Oily stool; an urgent need to make a bowel movement; stomach pain; flatulence; rectal pain; vomiting; diarrhea; headache; back pain; skin rash Using CBD oil with Orlistat can increase the risk of damage to the liver.   Always consult a doctor before using CBD oil CBD oil has been shown to reduce pain and nausea

In contrast to the strange and unpleasant side effects associated with weight loss medications, CBD has very few. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that “no public health problems… have been associated with the use of pure CBD [oil]” making it an appealing alternative.

Effectiveness of CBD Oil for Obesity

Because of the way CBD oil acts in the body, researchers believe it may carry significant potential as a weight loss tool.

The endocannabinoid system regulates various bodily functions through interactions at the cannabinoid receptors known as CB1 and CB2.

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CB1 receptors typically reside in your central nervous system and brain, while CB2 receptors are fairly evenly distributed throughout your body. For those suffering with obesity though, CB1 receptors begin to redistribute throughout the body and appear in greater concentrations in fatty tissue. Due to this redistribution, researchers believe CB1 activation may play a part in obesity. CB2 activation, however, seems to increase thermogenesis and decrease food intake through its effect on brown adipose tissue. It may be through this peripheral CB2 activation that CBD has a beneficial effect in the management of obesity.

In animal studies, researchers found that cannabinoids affect weight through their interaction with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain and lymphoid tissue. Through these mechanisms, CBD may be able to regulate food intake and improve metabolism.

In a 2012 study performed on rats, CBD was observed to have potential appetite suppressing effects. For the study, adult male rats were treated with various cannabinoids and food consumption was measured following treatment. For the duration of the test period, CBD was found to significantly reduce chow consumption.

CBD oil may also be effective for combating obesity through the “browning” of fat cells. The body has both white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue, or white fat and brown fat. White fat is used primarily to store energy and is related to many chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Brown fat, sometimes called the “good fat” specializes in converting calories obtained from food into heat released by the body. Individuals at a healthy weight will typically have a higher percentage of brown fat than obese individuals..

In one in-vitro study on the subject, CBD was found to transition unhealthy white fat cells to the more favorable brown fat, leading researchers to conclude that CBD should be explored as a “promising therapeutic agent for the prevention of obesity.” As of yet, there are no clinical studies (with humans). Animal studies look promising, but there is further research needed before you can draw conclusions.

How to Use CBD Oil for Obesity

Before you begin using CBD oil for obesity, it is important to talk to your doctor. CBD oil can interact with some common medications, including blood pressure medications, so it is important that you have medical supervision in order to use it safely.

If you are interested in taking advantage of CBD oil to fight obesity, there are many different products to choose from. Options include edibles, vapes, capsules, topicals, and tinctures.

For obesity-related uses, it is unlikely that a topical will be a good choice. CBD oil topicals take time to show effects and are best used when spot treating pain, inflammation, or skin irritation.

A CBD capsule or an edible will provide the most consistent dose. These delivery formats are discrete, familiar, and easy to use. The effects usually appear within an hour of consuming and can last between 4 and 6 hours.

For people looking to reduce appetite or combat the sudden appearance of anxiety that could lead to overeating, CBD vape oil or CBD flower may be good to have on hand. These inhaled formats allow the CBD to be absorbed directly through the lungs, and produce effects within minutes.

For a middle ground between these formats, try CBD oil drops or tinctures. Drops and tinctures go to work within 30 minutes and can last for several hours. They are discrete and can be used for relief of sudden symptoms. They also allow for easy dosage control so should you need a little more or a little less, it is to manage.

CBD Oil Dosage for Obesity

There is no one universal dose of CBD oil for obesity. CBD oil will impact different people in different ways. Before you start, talk to your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to use and together you can work out a potential starting point.

Typically, you will want to begin with the lowest recommended dose listed on your CBD oil product. It is always best to start slowly until you know how CBD oil will impact you.

To help simplify things, we at CBD Oil Review have used our experience analyzing hundreds of CBD products and come up with the following suggestion:

The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25mg of CBD, taken twice daily

If this dose does not provide the desired effects, increase your dose by 25mg of CBD every 3 to 4 weeks until you find the relief you are looking for.

For more dosing recommendations, check out our dosage guide or speak to a naturopathic doctor.

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+ 10 sources


  1. Adult Obesity Facts - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
  2. (2021) Side Effects of Weight Loss Drugs (Diet Pills) - Drugs.com https://www.drugs.com/article/side-effects-weight-loss-drugs.html
  3. CANNABIDIOL (CBD) - World Health Organization https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf
  4. Francesca Rossi et al. (2018) Role of Cannabinoids in Obesity - National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6163475/
  5. Francesca Ross et al. (2016) Cannabinoid Receptor 2 as Antiobesity Target: Inflammation, Fat Storage, and Browning Modulation - Oxford University Press https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/101/9/3469/2806822
  6. Marco Koch (2017) Cannabinoid Receptor Signaling in Central Regulation of Feeding Behavior: A Mini-Review - National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5442223/
  7. A. N. A. Verty et al. (2015) Anti-Obesity Effect of the CB2 Receptor Agonist JWH-015 in Diet-Induced Obese Mice - National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4654496/
  8. Jonathan A Farrimond et al. (2012) Cannabinol and cannabidiol exert opposing effects on rat feeding patterns - National Library of Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22543671/
  9. Liangyou Rui Brown and Beige Adipose Tissues in Health and Disease - National Library of Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28915325/
  10. Hilal Ahmad Parray et al. (2016) Cannabidiol promotes browning in 3T3-L1 adipocytes - National Library of Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27067870/

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