The Issues With Appetite:
For most people, eating is an enjoyable part of daily life, but for some, eating can be a daunting task. Having a lack of appetite can be stressful and anxiety provoking as we know we need daily key nutrients to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle. Experiencing a lack of appetite can be caused by many different reasons. Whether this results from side effects of certain medications or treatments like chemotherapy, chronic nausea, mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, or even more serious eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, it can be extremely distressing.
Imagine being at a family or friend gathering where there is an array of snacks, bbq, potlucks, etc. and everyone is eating and enjoying themselves, but something inside is telling you “nope we’re not hungry, we’re not eating that, that sounds/smells gross”, when it’s foods you once normally enjoyed. It’s hard to be 100% present in a situation or social event involving food when a lack of appetite is always sitting on your shoulders, which can cause other anxieties creating a negative perpetuating cycle that can be hard to get out of.
Can the use of CBD oils and other cannabinoid products help appetite stimulation in cases like these? There is not a straightforward or easy answer to this question, but that’s what we will explore today.
CBD and Appetite Stimulation:
The biggest question is: Can CBD help stimulate appetite, or does it do just the opposite? There seems to be a lot of conflicting research and ideas on this topic floating around in the CBD world.
Lack of appetite can present itself in many ways such as nausea, anxiety, aversion to certain smells of foods, malnutrition, and even stomach cramping or pains. Some people have claimed negative side effects of CBD can often present itself in the form of nausea, which clearly isn’t helpful when trying to maintain appetite levels and a regular healthy eating schedule. However, a lot of people find that CBD actually suppresses their nausea and anxiety when it comes to eating times. That brings us to a slippery slope. While CBD may help alleviate nausea and anxiety for some, it could potentially cause or exacerbate exactly those problems for others. We have to remember that everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different, therefore everyone will have differences when it comes to how CBD affects them, whether it be negatively or positively. So what’s actually happening in our gut when we take CBD?
CBD and The Gut:
Most people find a lack of appetite when they’re experiencing nausea, anxiety, depression, pain, etc. So what causes this sensation?
The extremely unsettling feeling of nausea is tied to an elaborate system of receptors in the body, including the endocannabinoid system and CB receptors. Through research and studies, we know cannabinoids interact with our CB1 and CB2 receptors in our endocannabinoid system. CB1 receptors are found in the central and peripheral nervous system, whereas CB2 receptors are expressed on cells and organs of the immune system. The cannabinoid THC found in marijuana plants binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain, creating the euphoric sensation of feeling “high”. This euphoria often leads to increased appetite and the feeling of having the “munchies”. However, CBD rarely, if ever, binds to CB1 receptors. CBD actually is an antagonist of CB2 receptors, meaning it interacts with CB2 but rarely binds. This is one of the reasons why we don’t feel “high” after consuming CBD. So THC is typically more effective in stimulating appetite, but what if we do not or cannot consume THC?
We have to remember that even though CBD doesn’t directly bind to CB2, these receptors are found in the digestive tract and immune system. CBD’s effect on CB2 receptors include production of saliva and stomach acid which contribute directly to digestion, hunger, and appetite. There has been some research suggesting that CBD might help stimulate hunger hormones in our bodies like ghrelin, dopamine, and 5-HTP (serotonin). Clearly THC is more of a direct appetite stimulant, but CBD’s antagonist effects on CB2 receptors can decrease nausea and anxiety that is often present when there is strong lack of appetite, which can make it easier for people suffering to eat. This in turn can make a regular healthy eating schedule, which brings us to The Brain-Gut Connection!
The Brain-Gut Connection:
We all know the brains in our noggins control our everyday functions, emotions, personality, habits, etc. But did you know that you have a second brain? It’s your gut!
Scientists refer to this second brain as your enteric nervous system, or ENS. The ENS is responsible for controlling digestion, nutrient absorption and elimination. Dr. Jay Pasricha, director of the John Hopkin’s Center for Neurogastroenterology, states that “for decades researchers and doctors thought that anxiety and depression contributed to these problems (constipation, diarrhea, bloating, pain, nausea etc.) but our studies and others show that it may also be the other way around. Researchers are finding evidence that irritation in the gastrointestinal system may send signals to the central nervous system that trigger mood changes”. Basically, a happy gut makes a happy person! Using CBD products in a daily regimen may help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. This can create a cycle where overall feelings of joy and happiness leads to a healthy increased appetite, which in turn can create better gastrointestinal health, which helps maintain a happy mood!
There is still a lot of research to be done on the effects of CBD and other cannabinoids on gastrointestinal health. But if decreased or total lack of appetite, nausea, anxiety, and depression are a daily issue, introducing CBD into a daily health regimen may provide a cycle of relief for these symptoms.
Luckily Discover CBD provides a wide variety of CBD products that may help with stimulating appetite while also relieving nausea and anxiety that is associated with eating issues. For fast acting potential appetite stimulant, we have 600mg E-liquid vape juices, that tend to hit the system fairly quickly, but do not last as long. For longer lasting effects, one of the oil or water based tinctures or capsules may be another great option to try.
As mentioned above, everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different, so there is a lot of trial and error that may need to happen before you find the right solution for you.
If you have any questions we are always happy to discuss more if you call our stores or chat with us online!