One of the stereotypes about cannabis is that it causes a strong increase in appetite. This is not always true, since experienced users usually don’t feel the same cravings they once did—or maybe they just learned how to keep them under control. Moreover, inhaling any kind of smoke actually lowers the hunger sensation, at least for a short time. Finally, longing for sweet and fatty food after smoking might also depend on personal eating habits. Apart from all this—the munchies seem to be a real phenomenon.

While aromatic terpenes contained in cannabis flowers can increase the senses of smell and taste, making them appetite-stimulators of sorts, science is actually telling us that THC is the main culprit—not only for the psychotropic effects, but also the increase in appetite. Taking high enough doses of THC influences our endocannabinoid system to stimulate hunger. Good to know, now what about CBD? Many people want to know if CBD either increases or decreases one’s will to eat. Here’s what science has discovered so far.

CBD AGAINST LOSS OF APPETITE

Loss of appetite is often a consequence of medical problems, uneasy states of mind, or medications. Chronic conditions that cause appetite loss include chronic pain, cancer pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and multiple sclerosis. Mental health problems such as chronic stress and anxiety also cause appetite loss by affecting both brain receptors and the digestive system.

According to researchers at the University of São Paulo[4], CBD may have the potential to decrease symptoms of social anxiety disorder associated with public speaking. Using a simulated public speaking test on 24 SAD patients, the study found that “pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech”.

Could this principle be applied to those suffering from both pain and nausea? A 2008 research paper alludes[5] to the antihyperalgesic potential of cannabis—specifically CBD. Further studies suggest CBD's antiemetic potential[6].

Based on the information available, CBD doesn’t appear to affect hunger in a disadvantageous form. With much still to learn about CBD's impact on our metabolism, burning calories, and increasing appetite, for now, it's difficult to provide a definitive answer.

External Resources:
  1. Marijuana and Body Weight https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  2. Frontiers | Does Cannabidiol Protect Against Adverse Psychological Effects of THC? | Psychiatry https://www.frontiersin.org
  3. Cannabidiol promotes browning in 3T3-L1 adipocytes | SpringerLink https://link.springer.com
  4. Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients - PubMed https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  5. Antihyperalgesic Effect of a Cannabis Sativa Extract in a Rat Model of Neuropathic Pain: Mechanisms Involved - PubMed https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  6. Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
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