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Does CBD Make You Hungry?

a hungry man with a fork and knife

Source: And-One/Shutterstock.com

As the use of CBD grows more popular, so do the associated questions. There is a lot of information floating around that is based on half-truths and it can lead to some big misunderstandings. That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to answer a very important question in this article: Does CBD make you hungry?

In addition to answering that, we’ll also take a deeper dive into CBD’s potential benefits for your digestive system as well as food interactions and considerations when taking CBD. 

Will CBD give me the munchies?

The short and simple answer here is no. Using CBD, whether it’s a CBD tincture or CBD topical cream, will not make you hungry or give you the munchies. 

What you’re probably thinking about is when people consume another popular cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That’s the one with the reputation for making people hungry. And for good reason because it actually does!

But why does THC cause people to feel hungry while CBD doesn’t? We’ve previously discussed some of the differences between THC and CBD, but let’s take a more specific look at the whole hunger-inducing issue, as we didn’t touch on that before. 

It all comes down to how these cannabinoids function in your endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is a major system in your body composed of three main parts:

  • Endocannabinoids, which your body creates naturally.
  • Receptors that the endocannabinoids bind to in order to produce different effects. We know about two such receptors, CB1 and CB2 receptors.
  • Enzymes that will break down the endocannabinoids after they serve their purpose so that the body can dispose of them properly.

Cannabinoids mimic endocannabinoids and can bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors as well.

What some research has found is that while THC has the ability to bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD will only bind to CB2 receptors. 

This is important because it’s the binding of THC to CB1 receptors that has been found to stimulate the hunger response in some laboratory research. Specifically, it creates a craving for fat. This is why people who have consumed THC products will often crave foods like hamburgers, pizza or greasy snacks like chips.

Because CBD does not bind to CB1 receptors, it will not cause this same hunger response. Even full spectrum CBD products, which by law will have 0.3 percent or less THC, won’t stimulate a hunger response. 

But let’s continue to explore the relationship between CBD and food. 

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Will CBD impact my digestive system?

Some folks have been turning to CBD for relief from digestive issues and there’s research that suggests CBD may help in this area.

This is because CBD shows promise in helping individuals with their intestinal health specifically. And by improving your health in this area, you’ll get more nutrition from the foods that you eat.

a woman tapping on a holographic representation of intestines

Source: sdecoret/Shutterstock.com

One of the main issues examined was irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) because it affects anywhere from 25 to 45 million Americans annually, according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. 

According to recent research, the ECS we spoke about before may have the ability to coordinate gastrointestinal propulsion, secretion, inflammation and nociception, which proves promising for relieving symptoms associated with IBS. These researchers have recommended further investigation into the effects of CBD for this sort of treatment. And if you’re someone who has battled with IBS and getting enough food in your system to stay happy and healthy, you’ll know this is good news. 

CBD has also been researched for the role it plays in reducing intestinal inflammation specifically. 

So, we can see that CBD can promote overall homeostasis by helping out with gut health, which is really important for this.

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Is there anything else I should know about when it comes to CBD and food?

Actually, yes there is. Taking CBD with certain foods may increase or decrease its effectiveness. 

In a clinical trial investigating CBD’s efficacy for epilepsy treatment, researchers made some interesting discoveries. They found that the fat content of a meal can affect the bioavailability and overall drug exposure within a patient when taking oral CBD products. Specifically, high fat foods resulted in significant increases in CBD bioavailability. 

What does this mean? 

When you take CBD after eating a meal with a high fat content, it has the potential to be better absorbed by your body. More CBD will enter your system. 

an avacado, salmon, oil, and various nuts displayed on a platter

Source: Yulia Furman/Shutterstock.com

Does this mean you should run out and buy yourself a greasy burger and bag of fries? Probably not. If you’re thinking about exploring this method, focus on healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, salmon, nuts and seeds.

But it’s also something to keep in mind when you’re figuring out your own personal serving sizes. Depending on what your last meal was and how long ago you had it, you may feel more or less effects from your CBD. 


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