Estimated reading time: 3 minutes 35 seconds
Fasting and cannabinoids make a perfect pair. Why? Because they both encourage fat-burning. CBD fuels the holy fire that is ketogenic fasting. CBD may even increase the same type of autophagy that fasting does! One area where CBD and fasting shine together is dealing with diabetes. And because the concepts in this area hold true for the rest of us, diabetes or not, we will take a closer look.
"…the ketogenic diet alone is beneficial because it turns on fat-burning, which turns on recycling of free-radical-damaged components of the cell […] this could be an essential adjunct to using high-dose cannabis….”– Dr. Bob Melamede
CBD, Fasting, and Diabetes
Much of today’s research on CBD has honed in on its potential ability to alleviate type II diabetes. With over one-third of Americans suffering from type I or II diabetes and almost another third at risk, this research is warranted. CBD may help in two ways: both by promoting fat burning and by sensitizing the liver to insulin. The mechanisms through which it promotes insulin sensitivity are not fully known — but there is strong enough evidence that many people with diabetes notice reduced [exogenous] insulin demands when they start taking CBD.
Diabetes also goes hand in hand with inflammation and oxidative stress, but CBD may come to the rescue again. The US government has a patent on CBD for this very reason! Take a look — we’ve paraphrased it here:
“Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This newfound property makes cannabinoids useful in treating and preventing a wide variety of oxidation-associated diseases[…] and autoimmune diseases. […] Non Psychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol, are particularly advantageous to use….”
By promoting glutathione production, CBD may help one regenerate quicker in the face of oxidative stress and prevent the vicious cycle of type II diabetes from worsening. CBD also shows great promise in helping alleviate the main complications of diabetes. The underlying factor in diabetes is insulin dysfunction, and cannabinoid receptors exist in the pancreas's islet cells that produce insulin. Even the side effects of diabetes may be relieved by CBD. Many people with diabetes experience severe neuropathy or skin conditions. However, CBD’s potential anti-inflammatory properties live using a simple CBD topical. Could the CBD + fasting combo mean better insulin sensitivity for us all? Maybe so. A clinical review from 2008 described how CBD users have 16% lower fasting insulin levels than non-users…and similarly lesser levels of insulin resistance.
CBD, Fasting, and Weight Loss
However, as great as CBD may be, it simply isn’t a sure path to weight loss. Hence, CBD must combine other lifestyle changes — like fasting. And while CBD doesn’t boost one’s metabolism, its more subtle impacts could pay off in the long run. Why? Because CBD may reduce inflammation, which could indirectly lead to weight loss. Dr. Mark Hyman states, “being fat is being inflamed — period!” Inflammation > insulin resistance > obesity. If inflammation makes it into the brain, leptin resistance could also occur. It’s a vicious cycle, one that CBD may help you escape. Another way CBD could help you manage your weight is by helping you stay stress-free! Some studies show that CBD can lower cortisol levels, the body’s primary stress hormone.
Why does that help? Because out-of-control cortisol, much like out-of-control insulin, can lead to chronic weight gain. High cortisol alters hormonal levels for the worse through something called pregnenolone steal syndrome. This is how it all comes together: many people who struggle with weight have high cortisol, ‘stealing’ resources away from healthy hormone levels…and wrecking their body's composition. Thankfully, CBD can help via its gentle impact on the hormone-regulating endocannabinoid system. Finally, CBD might help one’s fat-burning abilities (the same ones initiated by fasting!) become more efficient. How? It seems to stimulate a fat-burning pathway called the PPP, promoting what this study calls mitochondrial bioenergetics. That might sound complex, so know that anything that benefits mitochondria is generally great for health and weight loss.
How to Combine CBD & Fasting
“Fasting,” says Steven Gundry, “allows us to get all the best cells all the time, and that’s what we all want.”If going days without food scares you, don’t worry. There’s a more straightforward solution that seems to work just as well! Welcome to the world of intermittent fasting. First popularized among bodybuilders (who realized it made fighting fat without fighting hunger easy), intermittent fasting typically takes eating for 8 hours per day and fasting for 16. For example, one might break their fast with lunch at 1, then wrap up the day’s meals by 9 pm. The next day they’d do it all again, not eating or drinking anything with calories until lunch at 1.
Simple, right? With the help of engaging activities and coffee, many intermittent-fasters report avoiding hunger entirely. And imagine how easy it could be with the help of some CBD-infused coffee; the science looks good, too. Professor Krista Varady’s been studying fasting for 12 years, and in 2018 she authored a study that found “8:16 style” intermittent fasting helped obese patients lose weight without feeling hungry or deprived.
At its heart, fasting is all about balance. Whether you fast once a week, within each 24-hour day, with CBD or without CBD…it’s all about letting your body’s natural healing properties shine. Unlock the power of you!