If we’re to believe everything the media tells us, cannabis stirs up a hankering for junk food. From Harold and Kumar to Shaggy and Scooby (don’t be so naive…), going to great lengths to feed a craving is a cannabis cliche. Now that CBD’s popularity is on the rise the question is: does CBD oil make you hungry?
Does CBD Oil Make You Hungry? A Summary:
- Hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin play a significant role in our bodies’ hunger sensations
- Your body’s digestive system is closely related to the endocannabinoid system
- THC is known to induce hunger.
- CBD’s effects on their own do not make you hungry
The Hunger Hormones (And How They Pair With CBD)
Eating is as essential to human sustenance as breathing air. If you’ve ever been stuck in a meeting too long past lunch or found your fridge empty when it’s time to eat, you’re familiar with the rumblings that seem to follow in an eerily immediate response.
The stomach can sense an absence of food. Electrical currents work their way through the digestive tract, contracting the muscles as they would when moving food through the body. These vibrations cause the recognizable rumblings of hunger.
But just because your stomach is empty doesn’t mean your body needs fuel right away. Our bodies are (more or less) very well-organized societies. Of the trillions of cells, bacteria, and defenders that work around the clock to sustain our lives, each member of our body’s ecosystem has a unique role.
When it comes to hunger, there’s a complete task force, lead mainly by leptin and ghrelin.
Unlike leptin, which is released through fat cells, ghrelin is released directly from the body’s food-craving noise makers. The stomach and small intestine–also with a little help from the pancreas and the brain–releases this hormone to signal hunger and prepare the body to eat.
But Ghrelin has a tricky little secret; it also may work in the reward centers of the brain. Ghrelin is important to signaling the body when to eat but is less concerned with telling it when to stop. Instead, it lights up the brain’s reward pathways, enhancing the rewarding feeling of eating and indulgence.
Hey, Hey, We’re The Munchies
We got to know the hunger hormones so we can understand their role in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). No surprise here–our eating habits have a direct influence on the ECS. As eloquently stated in this Dutch study, “Endocannabinoid tone seems to influence both the motivation to feed and the hedonic value of foods, probably by modifying palatability.”
In short, using cannabis makes food taste better. Understanding all of the parts of the brain that make eating enjoyable is much more suited for a 3-part Netflix series, but simply understanding the hunger hormones is enough to draw the implication.
The Munchies are real, and countless crave cases and boxes of Scooby snacks have been consumed as a result. But what about if you take out the psychoactive THC–does CBD oil make you hungry? Whereas cannabinoids like THC significantly increase levels of food-loving ghrelin in the body, CBD may have a different relationship.
Scientists found evidence that endocannabinoids are involved with leptin and appetite regulation. But does that mean CBD will make you hungry? Again, not precisely. It’s well-known that CBD is a calmer. It’s considered as an anti-inflammatory, pain reducer, and nausea reliever. It’s these characteristics of CBD could promote inclination for food rather than an all-out craving.
Full-Spectrum CBD Oil
Where some CBD oils may fail, others might possibly have enough push to make you hungry. This is more than a case of your CBD’s potency–although some are known to be higher than others.
While the laws around CBD are still somewhat cloudy, hemp is recognized as a legal commodity in all 50 states. Since hemp is predominantly packed with CBD over other cannabis strains, it’s most commonly used to make CBD products for its promise of low THC.
CBD oil is used for such a wide range of pain and illnesses now that most people are comfortable using it since it doesn’t cause any type of high. Thanks to the entourage effect, full-spectrum CBD, which contains trace amounts of THC, is said to provide enhanced benefits of CBD. While CBD’s benefits are strengthened, they mute the psychoactive properties of THC, keeping you cool, calm, and grounded.
In our case, full-spectrum CBD is more likely to onset some munchies than CBD isolate. Even though you won’t feel high from full-spectrum CBD, the THC still does some work. It’s here that it may be able to work alongside leptin to elbow-jab you into a snack. That said, the THC in most full-spectrum CBD products is so minimal that it’s unlikely to have any noticeable effect.
Feeling Relaxed, Needing a Snack
CBD oil’s effects on appetite might not be outright, but that doesn’t mean they can’t lend a hand in making you hungry. Cannabinoids, and specifically CBD, are being used more and more commonly for their ability to dull pain, ease anxiety, and promote restfulness. In some cases, this includes chronic pain and appetite reducing diseases like cancer and HIV/AIDS.
For those who use CBD for its strictly therapeutic results, you may find that feeling better makes you feel hungrier. CBD is said to suppress nausea. When you aren’t feeling nauseous, it’s much easier to have an appetite. The same can go with joint pain and muscle spasms. And so, CBD making you hungry is more of a byproduct of its effects than it is a direct cause.
Does CBD Oil Make You Hungry? The Answer is No
Whether you’ve made it this far or you scrolled to the bottom for a quick answer, this is it. Does CBD oil make you hungry? Ultimately, no.
The ECS works in part with appetite, and other cannabinoids (THC) likely have a strong pull on leptin and ghrelin (and your refrigerator door), but CBD on its own hasn’t shown much promise for inducing the munchies.
Although CBD isn’t going to make you want to eat a whole roll of Oreos, it could help those who have other issues surrounding appetite. CBD is helpful in suppressing nausea, calming cortisol-creating anxiety, and easing bodily inflammation. These could be underlying problems to a lack of appetite and fixing those could a good start in regulating your diet.
Of all CBD’s goals, to make you hungry is not the main one. It won’t suppress your appetite either, but it may help you to keep a strong hold on when you should eat and when you shouldn’t.
- The Endocannabinoid System as an Emerging Target of Pharmacotherapy
- Ghrelin, food intake, and botanical extracts: A Review
- The endocannabinoid system and appetite: relevance for food reward.
- Everything you need to know about CBD oil
- Ghrelin, Reward and Motivation
- Why does your stomach growl when you are hungry?
- What is Ghrelin?
- What is Leptin?