Humans have practiced fasting throughout history, whether by choice or not. In today’s world, some people around the world are left with no choice but to fast due to a lack of access to food. But for others, they opt for strategies like intermittent fasting as a way to maintain a healthy weight. In the case of those who choose to fast intermittently, CBD can be a useful tool to encourage results and keep hunger at bay.
Understanding Intermittent Fasting
With the rise of intermittent fasting as the preferred diet for many people, it is wise to understand what it entails before looking into how CBD can assist with it.
The idea behind this type of fasting is that historically, especially in man’s early history, people did not eat more frequently than they eat at present. The human body is capable of lasting for a long time without any food. Everyone does this at night, and as humans sleep, the metabolic enzymes that respond to food and light become less active. Intermittent fasting extends this period of fast.
16/8 or 18/6 Fasting
There are two main categories of fasting intermittently, including 16-hour fasting, followed by an eight-hour eating window. Many people who choose to skip breakfast will use this option, or its closely related alternative of fasting for 18 hours, then eating for 6. Those who follow this schedule do not constantly eat during the eating window. Instead, they ensure that all meals and snacks fall within the period.
The other main category is eat-stop-eat, which divides the fasting and eating periods into larger chunks of time. Two common schedules include fasting for 24 hours one or two times each week or fasting for two days, then eating normally for five. Some people use longer fasts of at least three days, but this is not as intermittent anymore.
How It Works
When fasting, the body typically enters ketosis after around 12 hours. This is when the liver breaks fat down into ketone bodies. When a person reaches ketosis, the body will break down fat, burning it as a replacement for glucose.
When a person has fasted for 18 hours, they enter a fat-burning mode in which they generate significantly more ketones.
Those ketones signal the body to increase the stress-resistance pathways known to repair damaged DNA and old cells and to reduce inflammation.
Those who fast for stretches of over 24 hours will begin to see the cells recycle even older cellular components. The cells will also start breaking down the proteins that misfolded and connected to diseases like Alzheimer’s.
After 48 hours into a fast, a person’s growth hormone levels can reach five times the original amount. These levels can help reduce the accumulation of fat tissue and preserve lean muscle mass.
Why People Engage in Fasting Intermittently
There are many reasons that someone may choose to engage in intermittent fasting. Some appreciate the simplicity of it as a person does not eat for some time. There is no need to count calories, and there are no special foods to buy to enjoy the health benefits of fasting.
Others appreciate it as a simple method to reduce the amount of calories consumed. This caloric reduction can boost norepinephrine and insulin sensitivity. That, in turn, boosts energy metabolism as well as human growth hormone levels.
Additionally, the reduced calories encourage autophagy, the process that human bodies use to recycle old and damaged cells. The conversion of fat into ketone bodies is also a strong reason for many intermittent fasters. These ketones activate genes to reduce inflammation, burn fat, and enhance neuroplasticity and stress resistance. There are also connections between fasting and improving the immune system and fat loss.
While the idea of fasting is fairly straightforward, most people are not sure what CBD is, other than that it is related to the cannabis plant. CBD stands for cannabidiol, and this is a cannabinoid, one of the types of elements in the plant.
Source, THC, and Psychoactivity
CBD can be extracted from either hemp or marijuana, as the two are closely related plants. The main differences between the two sources are THC content and legality. The first of these is the abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the source of marijuana’s psychoactive effects. Pure CBD will not get the user high. In terms of legality, hemp is legal at the federal level, while marijuana is not. Each state has its own regulations, creating a complicated framework.
How It Works
CBD works via its interactions with the endocannabinoid system, which is crucial for regulating many of the body’s systems.
Benefits Associated With CBD
CBD is known for its numerous helpful attributes, including anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It can assist with the symptoms of depression, anxiety, pain, seizures, and arthritis.
How CBD Enhances This Type of Fasting
Combining this type of fasting with CBD oil can enhance the benefits for many people. Essentially, it combines the benefits of the natural substance with those of fasting.
During fasting, CBD can assist with the regulation of hormones. This is done via interactions with the body’s hormonal system.
It can also supplement the anti-inflammatory benefits that someone into fasting is already getting. This is important since chronic inflammation is connected to stroke, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders.
There is also some evidence that CBD can reduce cravings, which is a significant benefit when a person is fasting for at least 16 hours at a time. At the same time, CBD can regulate appetite.
Full-spectrum CBD with terpenes such as humulene can further help suppress the appetite.
There is also some early research indicating that CBD may be able to increase the quantities of leptin, a neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of fullness.
Fasting can help prevent type 2 diabetes via the changes in insulin sensitivity and the loss of weight. There is early animal research that shows diabetes may play a role in preventing diabetes as well, allowing the two compounds to work together to control insulin levels and body fat.
Types of CBD – And Which Do Not Break a Fast
Most people do not consider small quantities of CBD to break the fast, and taking it does not seem to limit the results associated with intermittent fasting. This is particularly true when using small quantities of CBD oil sublingually.
Those who do not want to use the oil will also have several other options for using CBD.
Oil Variations – Vaping, Sprays, and Mixing
Instead of simply placing several drops of oil underneath the tongue, users could also utilize the oil in other ways. During the time periods without fasting, it is possible to mix the oil into a favorite food or drink. During the fast, it can be mixed in water.
Alternatively, users can opt for an oil spray, which is designed to be sprayed into the mouth instead of being placed under the tongue. There is also the option of choosing an oil designed for vaping and inhaling it via a vape pen or similar device.
Those who do not want to ingest any additional items during their periods of fast can also opt for topical applications of CBD. Many creams and lotions contain CBD and are easy to apply. Alternatively, there are patches that will slowly release the CBD. Those transdermal methods have the skin directly absorb the CBD into the bloodstream. The digestive system is not involved, but there is a lower bioavailability.
Those who are willing to consume vitamins and medications during their fasting may also want to use CBD capsules instead of oil. These come in softgels and capsules, and a person takes them just like any other vitamin. Some people, however, will avoid this method during the fast periods due to the digestion involved.
There are also numerous edibles containing CBD, with CBD gummies being among the most popular. Of course, these will only be used during the eating period for most people into intermittent fasting.
CBD Isolate or Full-spectrum?
There are two categories of CBD oil available: isolates and full-spectrum products. The former only contains CBD and carrier oil. The latter comes from the whole hemp plant and also includes other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. It can also include the psychoactive element.
There are a few factors to consider when choosing between the two categories of oil. Some people may want to avoid the full-spectrum products as they may show up on a drug test due to the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol. There is also a concern that that ingredient would give a person the munchies, making it harder to stick to the fast. At the same time, all of the elements of the hemp or cannabis work together, enhancing their effects.
Those who need to pass drug tests or are concerned about munchies making it harder to fast should stick to pure CBD products.
Choosing a CBD Product
When selecting the CBD product to take while fasting, people should pay close attention to a few concerns.
CBD oil is legal at the federal level in the United States if it comes from hemp and has less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol. If it comes from cannabis or has more than this, it will be illegal at the federal level. Those in a state allowing legal marijuana, however, can legally use any CBD products.
Unfortunately, it is challenging to determine the quality of CBD due to the lack of regulation by the FDA. Companies make up for this by offering certificates of analysis that include third-party independent testing. All reputable CBD retailers will offer these certificates, and they are usually right on their websites. Sometimes, shoppers will need to send a message to the company to request the information.
The certificate should confirm that the concentrations are listed accurately on the bottle and that there are no harmful ingredients or chemicals.
Most people who use CBD in conjunction with fasting will want to choose a product with as few ingredients as possible. This will reduce the disruption to the digestive system and help ensure that the product does not break the fast. It is also possible to choose products with added flavorings, typically natural.
Individuals in search of CBD to use while fasting should also consider how they want to ingest the oil. Those designed for vape pens will be slightly different than those only for sublingual use as they typically contain glycerin. Many oils for vaping are also safe when consumed orally. Be sure to read the product description to ensure that it works for the intended use.
Other Pieces of Advice When Fasting
When combining CBD with fasting, individuals should be sure to stick to their schedule of CBD. Options like sublingual oil and topical applications will not interfere with the fasting.
During both the eating and fasting periods, those who fast should ensure they drink enough water. While the body can last for a reasonable amount of time without food, it cannot do so without water.
When in the eating stages, those who follow this plan should try to eat healthy foods that are not high in sugar or processed.
It is also important to stay active during the fasting period. Weight loss requires both diet and exercise for success.
Additionally, those who fast should get sufficient sleep. The body needs sleep to heal and recover.
Who Should Avoid Fasting and/or CBD
While fasting combined with CBD can work well for a majority of people, there are some groups who should avoid one or both of these things.
Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women – Avoid Both
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not fast or consume CBD. Growing babies, both inside the womb and after birth, require steady nutrients, and it is not possible to meet these requirements when fasting. In terms of CBD, there is still no research into how CBD affects pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding and their children. As such, it is best to use caution and avoid CBD while pregnant or nursing.
Those Taking Certain Medications – Avoid Both
Depending on the medications that a person takes, they may need to avoid fasting, CBD, or both. There are a handful of medications that CBD may interact with negatively. As such, it is important for those considering using CBD to consult their doctor to confirm that it will not produce negative side effects, such as a reduction in medication effectiveness.
In terms of fasting, certain medications require the patient to take them with food. Taking these medicines without food can reduce their effectiveness or cause unwanted side effects. As such, someone on these medicines may not be able to fast. In the case of once-daily medications that must be taken with food, it may be possible to time it properly on the 16/8 or 18/6 fasting plan.
Those With Certain Conditions – Avoid Fasting
People with certain conditions may also need to avoid fasting. Diabetics, for example, must take extra care to ensure that their blood sugar does not drop too much during the 16-hour window for fasting.
Those Who Are Underweight – Avoid Fasting
Underweight people should also avoid fasting, as this will likely lead to weight loss due to decreased calorie consumption. This would likely worsen the issue of being underweight.
Those With a History of Eating Disorders – Avoid Fasting
Those suffering from eating disorders or have a history of eating disorders should also avoid fasting. The fasting periods would likely trigger a relapse, hurting the overall health.
Always Talk to a Doctor – Before Doing Either
Regardless of a person’s situation, they should always discuss fasting intermittently and taking CBD with their doctors. A medical professional familiar with an individual’s history will be better equipped to determine if fasting will pose any health concerns for that person, given the medical history and current health.
The same is true when one is considering consuming CBD. A person’s doctor should also be able to let them know whether CBD will negatively interact with any of their medications. In the case of fasting, a doctor can let their patients know if it is safe to take their current medications while fasting.
Overall, either intermittent fasting or CBD, or both together, can have enough of an impact on a person’s health that they should discuss with their doctor.
Intermittent fasting is growing in popularity, as is CBD. People opt for fasting for a range of reasons, including weight loss and overall health. CBD can supplement these goals and help the body stay healthy during the periods of fast while also suppressing cravings to make fasting easier. Using CBD oil when fasting should be safe for most people, but anyone who takes medications or has medical conditions should consult their doctor first.