The emphasis on our body weight and physical appearance has never been more prevalent, with limitless diets and techniques to achieve and maintain our appearance and more importantly our health.
Here we go into the science between CBD and its ability to communicate with our Vagus nerve.
What’s a Vagus nerve? If you’re like me and the existence of our “Vagus nerve” is a new concept, here is a simple explanation.
The Vagus Nerve
The Vagus nerve is basically a communication super-highway and one of its routes runs between the gut and the brain. Researchers believe that messages from the Endocannabinoid systems use this super-highway to communicate between our stomachs and our brains.
Balance is the key
Some important points to mention when it comes to the Endocannabinoid system is that after a period of fasting the levels of anandamide (affectionately known as the joy molecule) increase. By the same token, when extra Anandamide is introduced to our system, increased food intake was observed. Simply put our Endocannabinoid system will react to a period of no eating with a response that actively encourages us to eat! This research illustrates the possibility that an Endocannabinoid system imbalance could encourage excess food searching behaviour or the opposite.
Let’s face it…most people like fat. Fat has even been added to the 5 primary tastes recently (so now we have sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami and oleogustus – the taste of fat)
The Endocannabinoid system appears to be intimately involved in the regulation of our intake of fat from our diet, by utilising our ability to taste fats when we eat. Studies demonstrated that after consuming fat, within half an hour the intestinal levels of the Endocannabinoids 2-AG and anandamide doubled.
Different types of fats
We know that the Vagus nerve is involved in this response, since when the Vagus nerve is severed, intake of fat doesn’t lead to the same intestinal rise in Endocannabinoids. The type of fats ingested also seem to be important, with the fatty acids oleic (monounsaturated omega 9) and Linoleic acid (polyunsaturated omega 6) producing the doubling of Endocannabinoids. But not Stearic (a major component of cocoa butter and shea butter) or Alpha-linolenic (omega 3) fatty acids.
Interestingly, just thinking about fatty or sugary foods such as chocolate have the same effect on our Endocannabinoid levels.
What does it all mean?
Thinking about or eating certain fatty foods increases levels of Endocannabinoids which can them prime us to seek our more food by stimulating CB1 receptors. It has also been found that the Endocannabinoid system encourages the storage of this consumed fat. In the past, when we were hunter gatherers, this was a useful effect because we needed to consume plenty of calories when food was sparse. These days we rarely have a lack of food and every opportunity to feast!
Research shows that “overactive CB1 receptors were lean and did not trigger diet induced obesity, meanwhile inhibition of these receptor signals is associated with an anti-obesity action”.
These research findings might leave you wondering whether taking CBD oil, stimulating your CB1 receptors and increasing your levels of Endocannabinoids is wise if obesity is an issue. Or whether taking CBD oil might help your struggle with low weight.
Whole plant CBD oil does not spark hunger as seen with high THC formulations (the infamous munchies) though it may promote your appetite by managing symptoms and issues which suppress it (like pain and nausea)
Empirical evidence provided by those frequently prescribing CBD oil is that significant and unwanted weight gain isn’t a common side effect.
So, NO…CBD doest give you the munchies but it may help regulate your bodies response to food in a healthy way.