Regardless of where you stand on the debate of whether art imitates life or life imitates art, one can’t deny the impact “stoner culture” has had on Hollywood. Films portraying baked besties—from Cheech and Chong to Harold and Kumar—have long been a hit on the silver screen. By exaggerating characters’ paranoia, hunger, or both, these flicks continue to rack up laughs with plotlines focused on recreational marijuana use. Science tells us THC is the reason why marijuana gives us the munchies, but given the cannabinoid’s chemical composition, it sure got us wondering about others. For instance, what about cannabidiol, also known as CBD? Does CBD make you hungry? We’ve got the answer.
Since both THC and CBD are both cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, it’s easy to see why someone might assume CBD makes you hungry. But before we get to that, let’s talk about why THC gives you the munchies. The CB1 and CB2 receptors are two elements of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates many functions within our bodies and keep us even-keeled and running optimally. THC binds directly to the CB1 receptor and plays an instrumental role in our appetite.
When we eat, there are neurons within the brain’s hypothalamus that activate as we feel full. This action essentially shuts down our desire for more food—but THC’s influence on the CB1 receptor can override that reaction. Remember, THC is also psychoactive, which sends us into a state of euphoria. This high can elevate an experience and make things that smell appealing and taste good, smell and taste even better.
Now that you know why THC causes us to eat—even when we might not be hungry—let’s answer the question you’re here for.
Does CBD make you hungry?
Not usually, at least not because of anything that happens biologically or chemically. Since CBD does not bind to that CB1 receptor, it does not have the same influence on our appetite as THC. Medical research indicates CBD actually acts as an antagonist of the CB1 receptor and can reduce THC’s efforts to stimulate the appetite when the two cannabinoids infuse together.
CBD’s benefits are plentiful and well-documented—including properties to relieve pain, anxiety, and inflammation—but research shows the compound can also have a positive effect on our metabolism.
A study out of Korea closely analyzed CBD’s impact on fat cells and found that it can stimulate the proteins and genes that help to break down fat. In addition, CBD can also be responsible for “fat browning” or turning dangerous white fat into healthy brown fat. White fat can increase our chances of developing diabetes and heart disease, while brown fat burns energy and promotes weight loss.
In sports, there’s an old adage that says if you look good, you play good. A similar occurrence can happen with the use of CBD. Many people who struggle to gain weight either do so because of an illness or a lack of appetite from the accompanying side effects. But CBD can work wonders by relieving symptoms of nausea and leveling out your body (remember the ECS?) to the point that you feel good enough to eat. In the process, it can aid in digestion and ease that discomfort.
As any of us who have recovered from even a minor illness can attest to, when you feel better, you eat better. So, in this case, the answer to “Does CBD make you hungry?” can be a yes—and that’s a good thing for those who need it.
Based on everything we know, it’s pretty safe to assume that using CBD products won’t result in you making a mad dash to your nearest burger joint. Despite the fact that many people assume CBD will have the same effect on our appetite as THC, medical research actually says the opposite can happen.
So, does CBD make you hungry?
Not typically, and the proof is in the pudding (or in this case, not so much with the pudding).