Does CBD Work as an Appetite Suppressant?

Having trouble staying away from the refrigerator?  Eating too much – as well as eating the wrong foods that add on the pounds – seems to be a chronic problem among Americans.  In some of its latest statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2017-2018, the age adjusted prevalence in adults was 42.4 percent; and there are no significant differences between men and women among all adults or by age group. [1]


There are any number of appetite suppressants on the market, some are over the counter; others require a prescription. All of these supplements work by reducing your appetite, and in turn reducing food consumption to help you lose weight. Now adding to the plethora of appetite suppressants is a natural ingredient that may help curb your appetite. It’s cannabidiol or CBD.

CBD is one of the over 60 cannabinoids or naturally-occurring chemicals found in industrial hemp and marijuana. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is made up of endocannabinoids or neurotransmitters that send chemical messages between neurons, the cells that transmit nerve impulses.  


The ECS stimulates and controls many of the body’s functions, such as sleep, memory, appetite and immune response. The ECS acts to restore homeostasis or balance whenever something happens with those body functions. The ECS has CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system.  When CBD interacts with these receptors, it can help the body achieve homeostasis.


Research on CBD suppressing appetite

One study conducted in 2018 suggests that CBD may be able to help someone reduce their appetite. Cannabinoid receptors (CB) regulate thermogenesis, food intake and inflammation. CB1 inhibition helps to reduce body weight and food intake. Stimulation of CB2 receptors limits inflammation and promotes anti-obesity effects by reducing food intake and weight gain.[2] Another study[3] conducted in 2012, found that CBD reduced food intake in animal models, however, no direct studies show that it reduces appetite in humans.[4]

Other ways CBD could help control appetite

CBD renews energy: When our body’s energy stores are out of balance, our brain tells us that we need more food and that induces hunger. But by taking CBD and restoring “balance,” there is the potential is to consume fewer calories, which could lead to weight loss. [5]

Reduces stress: CBD also reduces stress, which is another reason why we may overeat. We may seek comfort in food when we are stressed.  According to a study conducted by the Brightfield Group, a consumer insights and intelligence firm for CBD and Cannabis Industries, anxiety is the number one reason consumers take CBD. Animal studies have found that CBD can reduce the effects of depression and anxiety. A 2014 review of animal studies found CBD exhibited anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in animal models discussed.[6]

Aids sleep: Sleep deprivation throws off the signals to your brain that you have had enough to eat. This can upset the hormonal balance that controls your appetite and metabolism so that you may overeat even when you’ve had enough food. Some research on CBD and sleep indicates that CBD may interact with specific receptors in the endocannabinoid system to potentially affect the sleep/wake cycle.[7] 

Controlling pain: Experiencing pain can lead to overeating. The overeating occurs either as a response to pain itself, depression, and/or sleeplessness due to pain. And overeating as a result of chronic pain is probably even more common than eating during an acute painful episode. Food can make it easier to bear the pain, and for some, the weight gain may not be as important as having pain-free moments. [8]  


Research indicates that CBD has been effective in pain management. CBD has been shown to increase the body’s levels of anandamide, a compound associated with regulating pain, which can reduce pain perception and improve mood. CBD also may control inflammation in the brain and nervous system to benefit people experiencing pain as well as insomnia, and certain immune system responses.[9]


In summary, while lab research suggests CBD may help as an appetite suppressant directly or control other factors that cause overeating, there currently are no clinical studies that show CBD may be able to reduce appetites in humans.


[1] Hales, Craig, M.D., Carroll, Margaret, M.S.P.H., Fryar, Cheryl, M.S.P.H., and Ogden, Cynthia, Ph.D., “Prevalence of Obesity and Severe Obesity Among Adults: United States, 2017-2018, CDC National Center for Health Statistics, February 20, 2020.
[2] Rossi F, Punzo F, Umano GR, Argenziano M, Miraglia Del Giudice E. Role of Cannabinoids in Obesity. Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(9):2690. Published 2018 Sep 10. doi:10.3390/ijms19092690.
[3] Farrimond JA, Whalley BJ, Williams CM. Cannabinol and cannabidiol exert opposing effects on rat feeding patterns. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Sep;223(1):117-29. doi: 10.1007/s00213-012-2697-x. Epub 2012 Apr 28. PMID: 22543671.
[4] Johnson, Jon, “Can CBD help you lose weight,” MedicalNewsToday, November 3, 2020.
[5] CBD Insider Editorial Team, “CBD for Weight Loss: 5 Reasons Why It May Work,” October 22, 2020.
[6] de Mello Schier AR, de Oliveira Ribeiro NP, Coutinho DS, Machado S, Arias-Carrión O, Crippa JA, Zuardi AW, Nardi AE, Silva AC. Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2014;13(6):953-60. doi: 10.2174/1871527313666140612114838. PMID: 24923339.
[7] “CBD for Sleep and Insomnia,” American Sleep Association,” accessed January 3, 2021.
[8] Wurtman, Judith J. MD, “Relieving Pain Without Gaining Weight,” Psychology Today, May 26, 2026.
[9] “Does CBD Work for Chronic Pain Management,” Medical News Today, accessed January 3, 2020.