Since CBD comes from cannabis and cannabis (laden with THC, that is) gives you the munchies, CBD should stimulate the appetite, right? It’s not so simple, unfortunately. Dogs and cats both have four legs, but they’re not the same now, are they? Allow us to explain.
How does hunger work?
To understand hunger we have to acknowledge how it differs from appetite. Hunger is a natural, innate need that drives our survival. Appetite is the desire to eat and might team up with a hunger to choose what to eat.
Ideally, appetite and hunger would work the way your gas tank works: Fuel gets low, car asks for fuel. In other words, if your body starts to need a specific nutrient, hunger would signal the need to eat and appetite should drive us toward what we need. But if you’re over 10 years old you know that it doesn’t always work like that. (And if you aren’t, shoo! This isn’t the right website for you).
Hunger is regulated by the interaction of hormones originated in fat cells, the pancreas, and the gut. But it is also processed through cognitive and emotional fillers. Appetite is a mix of psychology and physiology.
And who here can tell me when they feel hungry or when they have an appetite?
From mental health, hypothalamus disorders, insulin, thyroid hormone… too many factors play a role in our hunger and appetite. Including, endocannabinoids.
How can CBD make you hungry?
THC makes people hungry by overriding the signals that would tell us to stop eating.
CBD approaches it differently, by boosting the endocannabinoid system, a series of receptors that helps create balance and regulate things like appetite, sleep, memory, and mood. This way, whether you are having a hard time knowing when you need to eat or when don’t, CBD can help your body regulate its messaging.
If you have been eating too little for what your body requires, you may think that CBD is making you munch more than usual, but it could only be your appetite-regulating. Also, some studies suggest that CBD can help reduce nausea. Therefore, for people dealing with an upset stomach, CBD could also play a role in appetite by reducing the symptoms that would usually stop someone from eating.
Can CBD make you less hungry?
On the flip side, if you have problems with overeating and always feel hungry, CBD might help you, too. By balancing your endocannabinoid system, you may be more aware of your actual hunger and appetite. CBD has also been reported to have soothing properties. For people whose appetite may be influenced by their mental health, CBD could then limit using eating as a coping mechanism.
While CBD can have a positive influence on appetite and hunger, healthy living is not as simple as a health supplement. Make sure to discuss your eating habits and concerns with a medical professional to find what habits are best for you.
Eating can be a sensitive subject for people struggling with an eating disorder. If you have been or think you have been struggling with disordered eating, contact the National Eating Disorders Association or your primary care provider.