Can CBD Help With Carb And Sugar Cravings
CBD has been praised for its many health-promoting benefits. And researchers are discovering more benefits at an increasingly fast rate. Now, many people are beginning to wonder if CBD can help with carb and sugar cravings.
First, let’s discuss what CBD actually is.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most prominent phytocannabinoid that naturally exists in the Cannabis Sativa plant. It makes up 40% of the plant itself.
Neurotransmitters and hunger
There are roughly a 100 neurotransmitters in our brain, with less than 20 doing most of the work in sending messages across our neurons. These neurotransmitters include GABA, dopamine, glutamate, acetylcholine, serotonin, histamine, noradrenaline, and others.
Dopamine plays a huge role within our body –– our movement, how we learn, and when and what we eat. Dopamine is the reinforcement of the reward system; it causes you to want to take an action over and over in order to get the same good feeling. For example, dopamine can influence you to reach for another slice of pizza or piece of cake. Serotonin, another neurotransmitter, helps correct the levels of dopamine, and it’s known as the “happy molecule”. Serotonin also plays a huge role in regulating our mood, emotions, appetite, sleep, and more .
In one study, researchers noticed that “Serotonin-releasing brain neurons are unique in that the amount of neurotransmitters they release is normally controlled by food intake,” which is specifically triggered through carbs. They also noticed that because serotonin is released in other functions such as sleep, mood, pain, blood pressure, and emotions, “patients learn to overeat carbohydrates (particularly snack foods, like potato chips or pastries, which are rich in carbohydrates and fats) to make themselves feel better .”
CBD and hunger
Some studies have shown that eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia, revolve around the reward system, which ultimately changes dopamine levels . Additionally, other studies have shown that CBD helps promote a healthy appetite without developing addictive behaviors such as binge eating or craving unhealthy foods . Research has also shown that CBD-high and THC-low products can actually curb carvings of feel-good snacks and carbohydrates.
This is because CBD works within our own Endocannabinoid system (ECS) –– a communication system made up of internal cannabinoids, receptor cells, and enzymes found all throughout the body which promotes and maintains a homeostatic balance.
How CBD works in the endocannabinoid system
The ECS is responsible for regulating our physiological health, including our mood, sleep, pain, appetite, memory, motor skills, digestion, cognitive function, inflammation, reproduction, and immune function. It is the ECS that helps CBD communicate within our body.
When CBD enters the body, it indirectly helps the body create additional endocannabinoids so that the CB1 and CB2 receptor cells can easily be acted upon. CB1 and CB2 receptor cells are found in various parts of our body, such as the gastrointestinal tract (GI) and the brain. However, CB1 receptors are primarily found in our nervous system and brain, and the CB2 receptors are found predominantly in our immune system .
As mentioned before, CBD indirectly activates the production of our own endocannabinoids. However, it also slightly changes the shape of our CB1 receptors, allowing them to be more receptive to our body’s natural endocannabinoids. It’s through this change that CBD actually inhibits the psychoactive effects given by Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
While CBD helps regulate healthy non-additive eating habits, it’s important to know that other cannabinoids, such as THC and CBN found in full spectrum CBD products, may increase appetite and cravings slightly . However, far more research is needed to know just how much of these other cannabinoids are enough to overpower CBD when it comes to sugar and carb cravings. For now, staying at a lower, more consistent dose will help in regulating homeostasis.