As CBD grows in popularity and use, so do the reasons why people are using it. According to polling, 14% of Americans have used CBD products. The top reasons Americans reported for taking CBD are to find relief from pain, anxiety and sleep/insomnia issues. But can CBD offer help when it comes to appetite and cravings specifically? That’s the question we’re going to answer in this article.
What Are Food Cravings and Why Do We Have Them?
Whenever we’re having a discussion, it’s essential to define the terms used, so everyone knows what we’re talking about. And, here, we’re going to take a moment to talk about what food cravings are and aren’t. To begin, being hungry and having a craving are two different things. Hungry is when your body needs food because you haven’t eaten in a while. If you’re hungry, you may notice your stomach is growling. As a result, you may be low in energy, cranky and even weak or dizzy in more extreme cases.
These symptoms of hunger are satisfied when you consume food to the point of being full. After that, you won’t be feeling them anymore. A craving is a whole other thing and, yes, it may coincide with being hungry. Craving is when you want a specific food, flavor or even texture. For example, salty and crunchy chips or a sweet and creamy latte. They may or may not be satisfied by consuming other foods. So why do you have food cravings? While hunger plays a role, so do your emotions, according to findings published in Frontiers in Psychology. When we are stressed, lacking in sleep or in a state of discomfort, our likeliness to crave specific foods to comfort those issues will increase.
CBD and Appetite: What the Research Says
In case you didn’t know, your body is home to a complex cell-signaling network known as the endocannabinoid system, or just ECS for short. (We like to abbreviate things; it makes life easier.) The ECS is made up of three key parts. They include naturally produced endocannabinoids that your body makes, special receptors that the endocannabinoids can attach to and enzymes that break down endocannabinoids once they’ve done their job so your body can dispose of them.
CBD, a cannabinoid derived from hemp plants, is treated by your body in the same way that endocannabinoids are. This means it can interact with those special receptors, of which two are known. CB1 receptors are mainly found in the central nervous system, and CB2 receptors are more localized to immune cells, according to research that began not long ago in the early 1990s.
There is currently a lot of interest by researchers into the role that cannabinoids may play in helping deal with the country’s obesity epidemic. Specifically, how activating CB1 and CB2 receptors may influence the storage of fat. Another area of interest is how targeting CB1 receptors may bring about beneficial anorectic effects, creating satiety feelings. Or, for those of us who prefer plain English, feeling full.
It’s true that more research on CBD and its ability to influence hunger and cravings specifically is still needed. Yet, we see evidence mounting that the ECS may play an important role in appetite and cravings. This is thanks to the presence of CB1 receptors in the hypothalamus, the part of your brain responsible for regulating these functions.
What CBD Can and Can’t Do for Cravings
We can’t say for sure – yet! – that CBD will directly affect a person’s food cravings. But, we know that it can influence a lot of the factors that bring about cravings. This brings us back to those emotional triggers we mentioned earlier.
We know that stress and anxiety and poor sleep hygiene are significant contributors to food cravings. They bring about irregular emotional states that drive us to seek comfort in things like food. Well, according to a large case series, it was found that 79% of patients who took CBD experienced reduced anxiety scores, and 66% improved their sleep scores.
As well, CBD has been shown to have incredible anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. Antioxidants reduce and remove free radicals, which damage your body’s healthy cells. And while inflammation is sometimes necessary for your body’s immune system to help repair and heal, excessive amounts can cause damage to your internal systems. When your body’s immune system is overactive in this way, you may find yourself craving foods that will further damage it. This is especially true when it comes to junk food. So, while CBD may not directly influence the mechanisms responsible for food cravings, it may affect some of the causes.
How to Take CBD to Curb Cravings
When it comes to taking CBD for cravings, you have a ton of options! CBD drops are popular because they come in various flavors and are easy to build into your daily routine. You can take them sublingually, meaning under your tongue, or even use them in your favorite CBD recipes if you’re feeling adventurous.
Suppose you’re looking for something portable or simple to take along with your other supplements and vitamins. In that case, you might want to consider CBD capsules or CBD gummies, which are also a great snack for when you’re craving a sweet treat. These come in pre-measured serving sizes and can be taken wherever you go. And, of course, topical treatments like our rapid relief CBD cream are a great solution if you’re chasing freedom from muscle aches or joint pain. That kind of discomfort is definitely one of our triggers for reaching for our favorite comfort foods.
Whatever path you decide to take, be sure to use the product consistently and as directed. Hopefully, before long, you’ll notice the benefits taking effect, and cravings won’t be on your mind anymore.