Will CBD Make You Hungry? Well, Maybe
You might be curious to know the actual science behind the infamous cannabis-sparked “munchies.” The ability of Cannabis sativa to increase hunger has been well-documented for centuries. The drug reportedly causes intense user cravings for food and a total intensification of the sensory experience of eating a meal.
On a chemical level, this happens due to the reaction tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has with receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system within the brain. CBD has identical molecular components to THC but is arranged differently that changes its ultimate effect on the body.
Recent studies show mixed results. Some show that CBD acts as an appetite suppressant and metabolism booster, while others display CBD enhancing hunger and increasing weight gain.
More research is ultimately needed to be able to determine more conclusive results.
There has been a lot of recent enthusiasm within the medical and scientific communities regarding CBD usage.
The endocannabinoid system, the body’s internal system that manages homeostasis within the body’s organ systems, has been a recent scientific target in managing weight gain and metabolic syndrome.
Much more research still needs to be conducted that specifically studies CBD receptor agonists’ critical actions on psychological influences on appetite.
The Difference Between Hunger, Cravings, And Appetite
To understand how CBD affects hunger, we must first back up and examine the difference between hunger and appetite. By understanding the differences between these two terms, you will be able to begin tuning into your internal hunger and fullness cues with more awareness.
Hunger cues can often be confused by external factors such as diet culture or food advertising. Knowing how your internal systems work will help you get in touch with your body’s cues, eat when you are hungry, and then stop when you are satisfied.
Every single action the body does, both voluntary and involuntary, conscious and unconscious, uses energy. This is everything from taking a step to the rhythmic sound of a heartbeat.
Our energy is sourced through the calories in food. This happens either directly after eating or from the calories already stored in the body. Getting enough energy is imperative for survival, so our brains are programmed to send hunger signals to encourage energy consumption through eating.
Hunger is most often thought of as the discomfort of our body wanting and needing to eat. This is exhibited through symptoms such as a rumbling stomach, experiencing light-headedness, moodiness, nausea, dizziness, and the physiological desire to consume food.
Hunger, when broken down, is a complex system of psychological and physical signals that interact with each other inside of the body. Hunger affects the brain, nervous system, pancreas, stomach, and intestines.
When blood glucose levels drop below a certain number and your stomach is empty, the cells in your GI tract will release a hormone called ghrelin. The ghrelin hormones send signals to your brain to increase gastric acid secretion and GI mobility to prepare the body for feeding.
This starts to make you hungry. Ghrelin production stops when the stomach stretches (because it is full of food) and then sends a final signal to the brain that the body is no longer hungry.
Ghrelin also plays an important role in our bodies’ reward perception center. This is why eating is considered to be a pleasurable experience for most people. Because humans need to eat to survive, our brains have evolved to make eating an enjoyable experience.
Hunger is physiological, meaning it occurs because of biological changes within the body that ultimately signal the need to eat to maintain energy levels. It is all about maintaining balance in the body and mind.
Eating allows your body to have enough energy to live your best life and complete your daily activities while maintaining homeostasis in your bodily functions.
Appetite, on the other hand, is psychological. It is, simply put, the desire to eat. It can sometimes result from hunger, but appetite can also be influenced by other factors such as the environment and emotional state. However, it is much more impacted by external cues.
Hunger’s Pattern and Routine
Feelings of stress, boredom, or upset can increase appetite even if you are not actually hungry. Inversely, feeling depressed, anxious, or distracted can make you lose your appetite.
The desire to eat meals simultaneously every day is more connected to appetite than hunger, acting as an example of the body’s relationship to pattern and routine.
You might have experienced an increase in appetite after smelling warm cookies baking in the oven or noticing your favorite snack has been restocked in the office pantry. Appetite can also be increased by stress levels, regardless of hunger levels.
Dealing with Cravings
Craving is when you have a specifically pointed desire to eat a certain food. A particular craving can increase appetite levels. You can experience a craving whether you are hungry or not. The most crave-inducing foods tend not to be the healthiest and are often high in sugar and salt levels.
If you would consider eating healthy food you generally feel neutral about, you are probably hungry. If you do not want to eat that food but instead wish to eat a slice of pizza from the marinara-scented restaurant you just passed by, it is probably related to appetite.
What Influences Hunger?
Since your body uses food as energy fuel, what you eat has a huge impact on hunger and appetite. Foods that take longer to digest tend to be high in protein, fat, fiber, and complex carbohydrates.
Highly processed foods that contain high levels of simple sugars can make you feel especially hungry due to the rapidly rising and falling of blood sugar levels. Lifestyle factors can also significantly impact hunger levels, such as exercise and stress.
Emotional levels and moods can also affect appetite, either dramatically increasing or decreasing the desire to eat based on the individual. Medications can also affect appetite, whether as a side effect or as a central purpose to its ingestion.
The Relationship Between CBD And Hunger
Study results regarding the correlation between CBD and hunger are ultimately inconclusive. Much more research needs to be conducted, but one study did show less of an increase in appetite through CBD use than THC.
Many trials involving CBD only have a small number of participants, so it is difficult to make a larger conclusion. More individuals would need to be participants in scientific studies. There also needs to be more research on the relationship between CBD and different hormones within the body. The safety profile of CBD has been established in many ways, but there are still several knowledge gaps that need to be filled in.
CBD’s ability to increase appetite may come from its relationship with serotonin receptors, which play an essential role in appetite and digestion. CBD may increase appetite by reducing stomach indigestion instead of relieving symptoms of hunger directly.
There is also research that supports CBD’s ability to decrease appetite, which has more to do with the soothing effects of CBD than influencing hunger directly as well. How we eat is greatly influenced by our psychological state, so the therapeutic qualities of CBD impact appetite on a personal and individualized level.
Hunger and appetite are complicated mechanisms that require daily navigation in the human experience. Our relationship with food is both emotional and physical.
CBD may affect you differently from other people when it comes to an increased or suppressed appetite. Including it as a part of your healthy diet regimen is an excellent way to go on your wellness journey.
Ultimately, CBD will make you feel hungry by relieving unpleasant symptoms that can come with eating, such as nausea or stomach aches. The calming effects of CBD impact both the central nervous system and the digestive system, making it easier for someone to maintain healthy eating habits.
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