This is likely why CBD is capable of stimulating appetite among people that are in dire need of nutrition (such as cancer patients on chemotherapy), while at the same time suppressing appetite in those who need to lose weight. The active compound helps keep the body in balance, so if you need weight gain it can help you improve your appetite, but if you are overweight, it may be able to help curb your desire to eat.
While overstimulation of the CB1 receptor may lead to symptoms such as high blood pressure and abnormally high cholesterol levels, CBD is a CB1 antagonist, so it is not likely to cause such issues. Furthermore, the World Health Organization has recently issued a global report on CBD, claiming that it has a good safety profile and minimal adverse public health effects.
The next two patients were women, Brigitte Bedi, a slim, blonde yoga teacher, who suffered severe brain damage in a car crash, and Tanya Lynn, from Canada, who had myasthenia gravis (MG), an autoimmune disease that weakens the face and throat muscles, so it’s hard to speak, swallow and breathe. Both had been given meds by their doctor that caused unpleasant side effects, and had been told they would not get any better. Frankel treated them with different cannabinoid oils, and within 12 to 18 months, both were better and leading normal lives.
CBD’s effect on homeostasis is believed to be why those in need of nutrition can experience an appetite increase and those with excess weight can experience an appetite decrease. The reason for this is that CBD is an adaptogen. Referred to by some scientists as “the boy scout molecule” because it always does the right thing in any given situation. The Journal of Psychopharmacology tested this theory on rats in 2012. The researchers wanted to see how three common cannabinoids, including CBN, CBD, and CBG, affected the appetite of the rats. The study concluded that both CBD and CBG worked to reduce the rat’s appetite.
During a day at his office, I saw three patients who’d had success with CBD. The first was Sawyer Maddox, five, from Atlanta, who’d been diagnosed at three with a rare form of epilepsy, Doose Syndrome, which is resistant to medication. He was having more than 200 seizures a day, where he’d drop face first on the floor. His parents fitted him with a catcher’s mask for protection, and carpeted their home with foam to cushion his falls. The pediatric neurologist they saw in Atlanta gave him meds that made things worse. Desperate, the Maddoxes, a conservative Baptist family, flew to California to see Frankel. He started Sawyer on #1 oil, and three months later, the boy was seizure free.
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.
The CB1 receptors are mostly present in the brain, but some are located throughout your body. These receptors deal with movement and coordination, emotions, thinking, memories, pain, mood, appetite, and other function. The CB2 receptors are mostly in the immune system. They affect pain and inflammation. CBD works in two ways. It attaches itself to these receptors while stimulating the body to produce more cannabinoids on its own naturally. Amazingly, CBD assists the body in learning to heal itself.
He did exhaustive research. He found there’d been decades of scientific studies on the effects of THC and CBD on cells and animals, but few trials with humans, because the FDA classifies cannabis and all its components as Schedule 1 drugs, which have “no accepted medical treatment use.” It took Sue Sisley, an Arizona physician, seven years of struggling with bureaucratic hurdles before she received the first FDA approval for a study, just beginning, of marijuana with vets who have PTSD.
Frankel also asserts that CBD reduces appetite—the opposite of THC, which triggers hedonic over-eating. I hadn’t read this anywhere, so I invited two friends, Tina and Cha Cha, to try it with me. We would soon be calling ourselves the Ladies Weed Detective Society. We squeezed a few drops of CBD-infused oil under our tongues and waited. An hour later, at the time we’d planned to have dinner, we noticed we weren’t especially hungry. All thoughts of food had been swept away. If this effect were widely known, Tina said, “Cannabis would be legal in twenty minutes.”
The endocannabinoid system appears to have an essential role in regulating basic human functions like sleep, eating, metabolism, and more. When this system is not functioning correctly, weight gain can occur. CBD helps to restore homeostasis to the cells of the body and can be very useful in reducing fat accumulation and subsequent health risks related to excess body weight.
Another marker of obesity and diabetes includes damage to liver cells. The liver is a major organ in the conversion between stored energy forms and useable energy forms in the body. Overburdening that system, such as with high fructose intake, can have disastrous effects. Inflammation within the liver indicates the onset of dysfunction, and possibly non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Frankel runs GreenBridge Medical, which he founded in 2006, like an internist’s office. He begins with a one-hour consult, comes up with a treatment plan, and recommends products for which he designed the formulas: ten oils with different combinations of THC and CBD. (THC gets you high; CBD doesn’t, but is alleged to have strong healing properties) The #1 oil is almost all CBD, #10 is almost all THC, and #5 has equal amounts of both. So the doctor, patient, and dispensary know how many milligrams of what chemicals the patient is taking, and the doctor can adjust the dose as needed.
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.”
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.”