Does CBN help with weight loss?

Does CBN Help with Weight Loss?

*Despite what you might read elsewhere on the internet, CBN has not been medically proven to prevent, treat, or cure excessive weight gain. This article discusses ongoing research into the endocannabinoid system and should not be the foundation of any medical or health recommendations or diagnosis. If you have or suspect you may have excessive weight gain, talk to your doctor.*

If you've been struggling to lose weight, you might have considered using cannabinol (CBN). It’s natural to wonder, does CBN help you lose weight? CBN might affect weight management. But instead of weight loss, it can help stimulate the urge to eat. In animal studies, CBN increased appetite. CBN might be an option for individuals suffering from unintended weight loss or who have difficulty eating regularly.

Obesity is a serious epidemic in the US. The number of overweight and obese individuals has consistently risen since 1999. There are wide differences in weight measurements in different groups of people and across geographical areas. 

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases defines obesity as someone whose weight is higher than normal when weight is adjusted for height. In 2017-2018, obesity had risen to a 42.4% rate from 30.5% in 1999-2000. Obesity increases your risk for other health conditions. These include stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

These rising numbers have led to a growing weight loss and diet control market. Weight loss products reached a record $78 billion in sales in 2019 but suffered a slight loss during the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. Experts expect the market to rebound. Some of the most popular diets include ketogenic diets and intermittent fasting. Meal replacements are still selling strong, but retail diet pills are not. More people want healthier ways of losing weight.


Endocannabinoid System and Weight Management

Your body has an endocannabinoid system made up of receptors, enzymes, and chemicals that scientists identified in the 1990s. Receptors are structures on cells that bind with neurotransmitter chemicals to signal a cell to take action. The receptors in the endocannabinoid system are called CB1 and CB2. 

These receptors interact with cannabinoid-like chemicals your body produces naturally. The medical term for these chemicals is endogenous cannabinoids. Your endogenous cannabinoids bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout your body.  The most abundant cannabinoid receptor is CB1, found mostly in your brain, spinal cord, liver, and adrenal glands. CB2 receptors are typically found in immune cells and bone tissue.

It’s important to remember that your body is hard-wired to interact and depend upon the cannabinoid-like chemicals it produces. When your body makes enough, the system helps maintain many physiological processes. Over the past three decades, researchers have just scratched the surface of understanding this system. Research continues to discover how the endocannabinoid system modulates the neurological system, the immune system, and helps maintain homeostasis (stability).

Research suggests that when the endocannabinoid system is dysfunctional, it can negatively affect your health and wellness. Researchers are continuing to evaluate the structure and function of a variety of cannabinoid chemicals. To date, they have identified over 100 cannabinoids from the Cannabis sativa plant. 

Your cannabinoid receptors help regulate how much food you eat and how you process it. They are also responsible for managing fat cells.  Higher activity of the endocannabinoid system in animals increases their food intake and, therefore, their weight gain. Scientists believe that overactivity of the system may contribute to obesity in humans.

Researchers attempted to block CB1 receptors using the anti-obesity drug rimonabant. While the results were somewhat successful, the drug also induced severe psychiatric side effects. It has become apparent that the endocannabinoid system may not be manipulated easily.

Is There Evidence CBN Helps with Weight Loss?

CBN is found in small amounts in the cannabis plant. The concentration of CBN increases as the plant undergoes oxidative stress and ages. This means that as the plant is exposed to heat or oxygen it converts the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to CBN.

Researchers initially believed that CBN was inactive. Later, researchers found it has a three-times higher affinity for CB2 receptors than does THC. CBN is now being studied for its potential to improve rest and reduce wakefulness.

It’s also possible that CBN activates stem cells in the bone. This may stimulate the production of more bone. The chemical has an analgesic effect which means it helps reduce discomfort the same way as THC but without the psychoactive effects. 

Ultimately, while there is no conclusive evidence either way, one might infer that an increased appetite and potential to increase bone growth would lead to weight gain instead of weight loss.

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