CBD typically suppresses appetite, though it may stimulate it for people who are not hungry because of anxiety or pain.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a nonpsychoactive compound in cannabis known for its pain relief, anti-inflammation, anti-seizure, and anxiety-reducing properties. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD doesn’t produce the “high” often associated with cannabis use.

While THC is recognized for stimulating appetite, CBD’s effect on appetite remains a subject of ongoing debate. Individual responses to CBD vary due to differences in the endocannabinoid system and the reasons behind a person’s lack of hunger.

We explore what the research says.

CBD‘s effect on appetite differs from person to person. Some people may feel hungry after use, but most seem to experience a reduction in appetite.

This variation is often due to a person’s unique endocannabinoid system and why they may not be hungry. For instance, when a person has a reduced appetite due to pain or nausea, CBD may help stimulate their appetite.

A 2022 review of 11 randomized controlled trials investigated CBD’s effect on appetite. The findings suggest that most individuals, particularly those with a higher body mass index (BMI), experience appetite reduction.

However, results varied, with some studies reporting no significant changes and one indicating increased appetite. In specific populations, such as healthy males, people with type 2 diabetes, and people with paranoid traits, CBD showed mixed effects on appetite.

Trials involving people with Dravet syndrome, Lennox–Gastaut syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, or COVID-19, also had diverse outcomes, with some reporting decreased appetite and others showing no significant changes.

Unlike psychotropic substances, CBD doesn’t typically cause the “munchies,” a term commonly linked to the increased appetite experienced after consuming THC.

People often use CBD to manage anxiety and improve sleep without the hunger-inducing effects of THC.

CBD vs. THC for increasing appetite

CBD and THC are two different cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant, and they interact with the endocannabinoid system in the body. While both cannabinoids have therapeutic properties, they have different effects, including on appetite.

CBD

CBD isn’t typically associated with stimulating appetite. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t bind strongly to CB1 receptors in the brain, which are known to play a role in appetite regulation.

THC

THC is known for its appetite-stimulating effects, commonly referred to as the “munchies.” It binds strongly to CB1 receptors in the brain, which can increase appetite.

CBD’s effect on metabolism is still an area of ongoing research, and findings aren’t entirely conclusive. Some studies suggest that CBD may influence metabolism in several ways:

  • Fat browning: There’s some evidence from 2016 that CBD can promote fat browning, a process where white fat is converted into brown fat. Brown fat is considered more metabolically active and can potentially contribute to increased calorie burning.
  • Mitochondrial function: CBD has been studied for its effect on mitochondrial function, potentially influencing metabolism. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of cells, responsible for energy production. However, studies have conflicting results regarding the extent and direction of CBD’s effects, possibly due to differences in cells, responses, and doses.
  • Regulation of insulin: Some research indicates that CBD could play a role in insulin regulation, particularly in the context of diabetes. Insulin is a hormone involved in glucose metabolism, and its proper functioning is crucial for maintaining healthy metabolism.
  • Reduced food intake: While the evidence is not entirely consistent, some studies suggest that CBD might influence appetite and food intake. If CBD leads to reduced food intake, it could affect overall metabolism.

CBD’s effect on appetite is complex and varies among individuals. While some report appetite stimulation, most studies suggest a potential appetite-reducing effect, particularly in those with a higher BMI.

However, a person’s specific health conditions and unique endocannabinoid system can contribute to this variability. Further research is needed to understand the mechanisms and individual responses.

Before using any substance, it’s important for people to speak with a healthcare professional, especially if they have any health conditions that may interfere with its effects.