CBD, or cannabidiol, is best known for helping with decreasing anxiety and stress, improving sleep, and reducing chronic pain.

Many wonder whether CBD oil can be used to promote weight loss.

The science is still emerging, and the data is very limited, and as such, there’s very little research to suggest that CBD can help with weight loss. But CBD might be able to help indirectly with factors that lead to weight gain, such as pain and sleeplessness.

Here, we explore the limited research on using CBD for weight loss.

Taking CBD without adjusting your calorie intake and exercise plan will not contribute to weight loss. But CBD oil may have an effect on pain, anxiety, and insomnia, all of which may hinder weight loss.

CBD is an active compound in the cannabis plant. But unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another compound in the plant, CBD does not produce a euphoric, or “high,” feeling.

CBD works by targeting your endocannabinoid system, which manages bodily functions like coordination, movement, pain, appetite, moods, and others.

To make CBD oil, a manufacturer will extract CBD from the cannabis plant and then dilute it with a carrier oil like hemp seed oil or MCT oil.

Many people use CBD to help ease stress, minimize anxiety symptoms, and decrease pain. But did you know that some experts also recommend it as an aid for weight loss, if that’s a goal?

Although the research on the role CBD plays in weight loss is minimal and still evolving, some data suggest that it may help:

All these factors can contribute to weight gain.

In fact, research from 2015 reviewed the connection between obesity and chronic pain and found that the two conditions appear to co-occur frequently, with both having a negative impact on one another.

Since CBD oil may reduce chronic pain, using a CBD product to minimize symptoms from chronic pain may assist with weight loss goals.

A study from 2018 noted that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in regulating food intake and inflammation, both of which can affect weight gain. Some animal studies show that CBD may also boost metabolism and reduce food intake by interacting with two endocannabinoid receptors in your body — CB1 and CB2.

The above-mentioned 2018 study also found that CBD may promote browning of fat cells, which is the fat responsible for generating heat by burning calories.

It’s important to keep in mind that no one type or brand of CBD oil is best for weight loss. If you’re hoping to use CBD oil to help relieve pain, stress, or sleep issues that may be contributing to weight gain, focus on choosing a quality oil overall.

We typically choose to recommend products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Every brand and product we feature is vetted by our team for medical and business standards.

However, because there’s a dire lack of research on using CBD for weight loss, we’ve chosen not to recommend any specific brands or products. This is especially because there is no consensus on which type of CBD works best for weight loss — or whether it can help you lose weight at all.

When researching and purchasing CBD oils, be sure to check that:

  • The product is third-party tested. Check to see if the product has a certificate of analysis (COA) from a lab that is not affiliated with the brand you’re buying from. That way, you’ll be able to see whether the oil actually contains the amount of CBD and THC that the label says. You can also use the COA to verify that the product has not been contaminated with molds, pesticides, heavy metals, or other substances.
  • The brand has transparent business practices. The company you’re buying from should tell you where they source their hemp and how they make their products.
  • The brand has a good reputation. Check the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning letter database, do an online search for any pending lawsuits, and read customer reviews before clicking “add to cart.”

Those are the must-haves, but there are still a few other things to consider:

  • CBD type. You can choose from CBD isolate, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum products. Choose isolate or broad-spectrum if you want to steer clear of THC. Choose full-spectrum if you’re looking for added benefits from the entourage effect.
  • Ingredients. Take a quick scan of the ingredients list and see if it’ll work for you. You’ll usually find a carrier oil and sometimes flavorings and sweeteners on the list.
  • Product type. If you decide oil is not your preferred way of taking CBD, you can explore other options like topicals or capsules.

You can use CBD oil in one of two ways:

  • Sublingually. Many brands recommend that you use the included dropper to place the CBD oil under your tongue and hold it there for up to a minute before swallowing.
  • In food or drinks. You can mix the oil into your food or beverage. Some people prefer this because you cannot taste the oil as much. But your body may not absorb as much of the oil this way since it has to pass through your digestive tract.

Each product we included in our roundup comes with instructions for use. That said, a good rule of thumb regarding dosage is to start small, track how you feel, and reassess after a week.

The amount you take will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • your body weight
  • your goals
  • the oil’s potency
  • your body chemistry

With so many variables to consider about dosage and safety, it’s always wise to seek advice from a doctor or another healthcare professional before trying weight loss aids or supplements, including CBD oils, or beginning a weight loss program.

While the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that CBD is generally safe, there are still a few things to be aware of before getting started.

  • CBD may cause mild side effects. These include nausea, fatigue, and changes in weight and appetite.
  • Taking CBD with a high fat meal may increase your absorption. Some research shows that taking CBD with foods high in fat can cause you to absorb more of it. This can increase your risk of side effects.
  • Do not take CBD if you’re pregnant or nursing. The FDA advises against consuming cannabis, including CBD, while pregnant or breastfeeding/chestfeeding.
  • CBD may interact with some medications. This includes medications that carry a grapefruit warning.

Be sure to talk with a doctor or another healthcare professional before taking CBD, especially if you also take any medications or supplements.

Does CBD oil help you lose weight?

There’s limited research in this area. While CBD oil alone probably will not help you lose weight, some people find it helpful as an extra layer of support for their weight loss plan, helping them sleep better and alleviating exercise-induced soreness and inflammation.

Can CBD oil make you gain weight?

It potentially could. Some people find that taking CBD oil increases their appetite. Others find that it reduces their appetite.

Does CBD show up on a drug test?

CBD itself will not show up on a drug test. But some CBD products also contain a small amount of THC. Even though it’s a small amount, it could be enough to trigger a positive result.

If you undergo drug testing, you may want to avoid CBD products altogether.

Does CBD make you tired?

Yes, some people find that CBD makes them feel tired. It depends on how much you take and your body chemistry.

Eating a nutritious, balanced diet, which includes foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, and regularly moving your body are important for losing weight. Although some over-the-counter products or medications may assist in the process, they will not work on their own or instantly.

That said, CBD oil may help reduce pain, anxiety, and sleep deprivation — all of which can hinder weight loss.

Since the research on CBD and weight loss is limited, consider talking with a doctor or another healthcare professional about how to use CBD oil on your weight loss journey.

Any suggestions, tips, or guidance we may discuss are for educational and informational purposes only. Our content should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment, and don’t disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you read. If you have a medical emergency, go to the nearest emergency room, or call 911 immediately.