In 2007, he was investigated by the California Medical Board and in 2008, his license to practice was suspended. He fought this in court, losing his house to pay legal bills, and in 2011, his license was reinstated. During those “hard years,” he said, he hired other doctors to write recommendations for medical marijuana licenses, then Frankel advised the patients how to treat their ailments. “I could have quit and taken a job that paid well, but I kept asking myself, what’s the best thing I can do for my patients?” He thought about what his parents had suffered in Auschwitz. “Why should I crumble because the medical board takes away a piece of paper? I was willing to fight for something I feel is absolutely good—because of its efficacy and lack of side effects.”
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system; this system exists to keep our bodies in balance. Most of the time when someone is overweight there is one main culprit that leads to them struggling with weight loss: metabolism. Metabolism and weight loss are very connected because your metabolism is what converts food into energy in the body. It’s also responsible for the body’s ability to burn calories and the rate at which it does so.
Frankel had rarely tried cannabis until he was 49. He was a partner in one of the most successful practices in West Los Angeles and a clinical professor at UCLA Medical School. He’d been my family’s internist for 15 years, and I found him a skilled diagnostician, who listened carefully, and who cared. He had to quit practicing in 2000, after he’d suffered a disabling back injury, then developed a viral infection of the heart and was told he had six months to live. Some of his cancer and AIDS patients urged him to try cannabis. “They did a reverse intervention,” he said, and a year later, his heart was normal. He can’t be certain how or if cannabis healed his heart. “I’d been depressed and CBD stopped the depression,” he said. “It gave me something to look forward to. My brain was turned on.”
Correcting a calorie excess with a calorie deficit sometimes works for weight loss, but it can be difficult. First of all, reducing calories leaves people feeling hungry, which can be incredibly uncomfortable. Second of all, weight gain can cause changes to hormone levels and balance, metabolic patterns, inflammation status, and balance within the endocannabinoid system.
Frankel grew plants, crossed strains, and tried them on friends as well as himself. Working with chemists and professional growers, he developed formulas for whole plant oils, which are manufactured independently and for which he receives no compensation. In 2006, Frankel felt he’d learned enough to open a new practice as a cannabis medical consultant.
Before using CBD for weight loss, it is vital to ensure that you are using a quality product, as this has a significant impact on how much it can aid you in losing weight and maintaining what you lose. A company using domestically sourced organic hemp that has been grown in clean soil is your best choice. You also want to make sure third-party lab testing is done on a regular basis and that the extraction methods used in the manufacturing process are clean and solvent-free.
The previously mentioned study which established improved mitochondrial function with CBD use also observed that CBD stimulates gene expression within white fat cells. This initiates the “browning” of these cells. This mechanism shows promise with converting hard-to-lose white fat into a more easily burnable form. Additionally, researchers found that CBD decreased the rate of new fat cell creation.
Moreover, the inconsistency (to put it mildly) of the weight loss industry is probably more sketchy and less regulated than the current state of the cannabis industry. Google ‘weight loss scams,’ for instance, and you’ll get 5.76 million search results! There have been some shocking scams over the years, including vibration machines, weight loss pills (containing poisons such as arsenic), and ‘Vision-Dieter Glasses,’ just to name a few.
Another study published in 2012 by Farrimond et al. examining the effects of different phytocannabinoids, such as cannabinol (CBN) and CBD, on feeding patterns in rats supports the theory that different cannabinoids modulate CB1 receptors and enhance appetite and metabolism with opposing effects. This study demonstrated that cannabinol increased food intake and body weight gain, while CBD decreased food consumption and weight gain. If your guess is that in this study CBD was also working by “tanning” WAT to BAT, then you are likely spot on.
Alicia Salazar, a New York state board certified health coach, uses CBD with her clients to maximize their health outcomes. “I don’t look at CBD as a magic bullet for weight loss,” she said. “But CBD along with a healthy diet – one that contains healthy fats, whole grains, grass-fed meat and dairy, and plenty of greens, without processed foods and sugar – sets the tone for a healthy weight. And for some, that can naturally include weight loss.”
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I asked if he knew why CBD is so broadly effective. Could it be a gigantic, all-purpose placebo? He shook his head. His theory is that it’s an essential nutrient, like vitamins and amino acids, and when there’s a deficiency of CBD, people get sick. Because CBD brings the body into homeostasis, or balance, it can work in two directions: cutting appetite in people who over-eat, and increasing appetite in those who need to eat more.