Can CBD oil be taken when fasting or will it break a fast?
- Fasting may help people lose weight. Moreover, a 2019 research by scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) and Kyoto University shows fasting may also promote human metabolic activity, produce antioxidants, and help reverse some effects of aging(1).
- CBD oil may help make it easier for an individual to stick to a fasting schedule. In a 2008 animal study published in the PLOS One Journal, it was shown that CBD inhibits a receptor in the brain so that ghrelin, which stimulates the appetite, is unable to act(2).
- According to the authors of the book Ketogenic Diet, when the body is deprived of carbohydrates due to a reduced intake of fewer than 50 grams per day, insulin secretion is significantly reduced(3).
- Always check the nutrition information on CBD product labels. It is widely believed among fasters that consuming under 50 grams of carbohydrates or up to 50 calories of any food or beverage does not break a fast.
Why People May Be Thinking of Taking CBD Oil When Fasting
People have been fasting for several reasons, the most popular of which are for improved health and weight loss.
With the emergence of CBD as an alternative supplement or remedy for specific medical conditions, people may be curious whether or not CBD can be taken when fasting.
It is essential to look at how CBD may impact fasting to understand how the health benefits of fasting intersect with that of CBD.
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
In a 2008 study, which was published in the PLOS One Journal, researchers investigated the interaction between ghrelin and the cannabinoid systems on the mechanisms underlying appetite regulation(4).
The researchers found that CBD blocks a receptor in the brain so that the neurotransmitter ghrelin, which stimulates the appetite, is unable to act.
They also found that the effects of ghrelin require an increased release of endocannabinoids to stimulate the appetite.
Given that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a role in regulating several other systems, including the endocrine system, taking CBD may theoretically help support the hormone-regulating processes of intermittent fasting (IF).
A 2001 animal study published in Nature Journal has shown that CBD could increase the levels of the leptin in the brain(5).
Leptin is the hormone which makes an individual feel full or satiated. When CBD is taken at the end of an eating period, cravings may be eased for a stress-free fast.
A 2016 study, conducted by researchers from the Department of Biotechnology in Daegu University in Korea, found that CBD might have some impact on turning white fat to brown fat, a process called ‘fat browning’ that purportedly promotes a healthier metabolism(6).
As the ECS also plays a vital role in insulin regulation, the added boost from CBD might support this action.
CBD and Insulin Sensitivity
Gerald Reaven, MD, in a 2004 study, defines insulin resistance as the impaired sensitivity to insulin-mediated glucose disposal(7).
According to a 2016 review by Dr. Jason Fung of the Department of Medicine in Scarborough Hospital in Canada and Amy Berger of the Nutrition Institute in University of Bridgeport in the U.S., there are multiple mechanisms through which insulin resistance may be responsible for the development of Type 2 diabetes (T2D), cardiovascular disorder (CVD), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and male and female reproductive abnormalities(8).
In conditions when eating patterns frequently provide excess glucose, the body’s metabolic system becomes exhausted. Body cells are unable to take on more glucose, and they become resistant to insulin’s signal to let the simple sugar into the cell.
It is dangerous for blood glucose levels to remain high. Thus, the pancreas secretes more insulin to shuttle glucose to the body cells. The cells then use glucose to make energy.
When glucose levels plummet from the unusually high levels of insulin, an individual is left feeling sluggish, hungry, and vulnerable to repeat the cycle.
Dietary changes can help individuals stop the cycle, and CBD may help in the process.
A 2018 study showed that the phytocannabinoids THC, CBD and CBN enhance cells’ ability to take up glucose, demonstrating the mechanism of action of these cannabinoids as antidiabetic and anti-obesity agents. The researchers also indicated that THC, CBD and CBN may perform better than metformin, a conventional pharmaceutical prescribed to reduce blood glucose level(9).
CBD on Mitochondrial Dysfunction
Metabolism is the chemical processes that occur within a living organism to perform its normal functions and maintain life. On the cellular level, as well as the whole-body level, maintaining a healthy metabolism is essential.
Fasting may help people lose weight. Moreover, a 2019 research by scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) and Kyoto University shows fasting may also promote human metabolic activity, produce antioxidants, and help reverse some effects of aging(10).
Mitochondria are the cells’ energy factories. Healthy mitochondria are essential for lasting vitality.
When insulin transports glucose to the cells, the mitochondria transform it into energy. However, when insulin resistance sets in, the mitochondria experience dysfunction.
In 2016, through a lab study that examined the impact of CBD on the metabolic function of fat cells, researchers noted an improvement in mitochondrial function with the application of CBD(11).
According to the researchers, CBD may be explored as a potentially promising therapeutic agent for the prevention of obesity.
CBD on Inflammation
CBD and intermittent fasting both have anti-inflammatory effects. When used in conjunction, both could provide significant relief from inflammatory conditions.
A 2019 study published in the Cell Journal shows that fasting reduces inflammation and improves chronic inflammatory diseases without affecting the immune system‘s response to acute infections(12).
The researchers, led by senior author Miriam Merad, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Precision Immunology Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, worked with human and mouse immune cells.
The authors showed that intermittent fasting reduced the release of monocytes, which are pro-inflammatory cells in blood circulation.
Data revealed that during fasting periods, these cells go into sleep mode and are less inflammatory than monocytes found in subjects who were fed.
In a 2017 review in the Annual Review of Nutrition Journal, researchers indicate that modified fasting regimens seem to promote weight loss and may improve metabolic health(13).
Like IF, CBD may also help reduce inflammation.
Research has shown that CBD, which may interact with the endocannabinoid system, is a promising prototype for anti-inflammatory drug development(14).
CBD and Neurogenesis
Both intermittent fasting and CBD may also provide some support to the creation of new brain cells and the protection of old cells.
A 2015 study on cannabinoids, which was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, and a 2014 review on intermittent fasting, which was published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, showed their impact on neurogenesis and neural protection(15).
In a 2010 review published in the Autophagy Journal, it was shown that short-term fasting leads to a dramatic upregulation in neuronal autophagy(16).
Autophagy (“auto” means self and “phagy” means eat) is a cell repair process wherein the body cleans out damaged cells to regenerate newer, healthier cells.
Researchers of a 2017 study published in the Frontiers in Pharmacology Journal found that CBD modulates autophagy for neuronal survival, suggesting the potential benefit of CBD treatment for psychiatric or cognitive symptoms associated with neurodegeneration(17).
Can CBD Break a Fast?
The aforementioned studies support CBD’s potential benefits in weight loss and improved health. However, when taken during a fasting period, can CBD break a fast?
The basic principle is that as long as fasters stay under 50 grams of carbohydrates, they remain in the fasted state.
According to Wajeed Masood and Kalyan Uppaluri, authors of the book Ketogenic Diet, when the body is deprived of carbohydrates due to a reduced intake of fewer than 50 grams per day, insulin secretion is significantly reduced(18). Then, glycogen stores are expended, forcing the body to go through specific metabolic changes.
The authors say that as long as the body is deprived of carbohydrates, the metabolism remains in ketosis.
Ketosis is a metabolic process that occurs when the body begins to burn fat for energy as it does not have enough carbohydrates to burn.
When a nutritional ketosis state is sustained, hunger pangs subside, and an overall reduction in caloric intake helps to further weight loss.
Since it is widely believed among fasters that consuming up to 50 calories does not break a fast, determine the calorie content of a CBD oil product by checking the label —assuming that it is accurate. Then, compute for the dose that would provide fewer than 50 calories for every intake.
The calorie content of the carrier oil affects the overall calorie count in a CBD dose. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil and coconut oil are typical CBD carrier oils.
For those who are concerned with breaking their fast with tinctures or contents in CBD capsules, CBD may be applied transdermally through a CBD patch.
By using a CBD patch, CBD enters the bloodstream without going through the digestive system. The transdermal method would likely avoid the consumption of over 50 calories of CBD, making it easy not to break a fast.
How CBD Oil Works When Taken While Fasting
Two types of fat exist in the body: white fat and brown fat.
According to a 2015 study, which was published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology, white fat or white adipose tissue (WAT) represents approximately 10% of the body weight of healthy adult humans(19).
WAT is responsible for storing and supplying energy while insulating and cushioning your organs.
It is also the type of fat that, when accumulated in excess, is mostly associated with chronic illnesses, like heart disease and diabetes, as studies indicate.
On the other hand, brown fat, also called brown adipose tissue (BAT), is a special type of body fat that is activated when the body gets cold.
Brown fat produces heat to help maintain body temperature in cold conditions, says Donald Hensrud, M.D. in a 2018 article posted by Mayo Clinic(20).
According to Hensrud, brown fat has generated interest among researchers because it appears to be able to use regular body fat as fuel. In addition, exercise may stimulate hormones that activate brown fat.
Individuals with a healthy weight are more likely to have more brown fat than overweight people, as the 2015 study above had shown(21).
White fat can be converted to brown through exercise, adequate sleep, and exposure to cold temperatures, according to studies.
Interestingly, CBD may also aid the browning process of adipose tissues. A 2016 test-tube study, which was published in the Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry Journal, found that CBD led to “browning” in white fat cells and improved the expression of specific genes and proteins that promote brown fat(22).
Results of the said study suggest possible roles for CBD in browning of WAT, including an amplified breakdown of fats (lipolysis), increased heat production (thermogenesis), and reduced formation of fat (lipogenesis).
The authors of the study concluded that, given the data they were able to gather, CBD might be explored as a potentially promising therapeutic agent for the prevention of obesity.
The potential ability of CBD to help with the browning process of adipose tissues would make it an excellent supplement to a fasting regimen.
With the effects of CBD oil and intermittent fasting combined, the body’s ability to shed weight and improve health may be increased.
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil When Fasting
- When taken in doses of 50 calories or fewer, CBD does not break a fast.
- CBD is non-addictive, says Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in a 2015 article(23). This characteristic makes CBD safe for daily intake when fasting for an extended period.
- CBD “is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile,” as the World Health Organization (WHO) stated in a critical review(24).
- CBD oil may be purchased without a prescription in locations where they are legally available.
- CBD patches, the ideal CBD form to use when fasting, are usually more expensive than other CBD products. A CBD transdermal patch costs $15 to $20 each.
- As with the use of any natural chemical compound, there are risks involved in using CBD. According to the Mayo Clinic, possible side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, diarrhea, fatigue, and reduced appetite(25).
- Dr. Doris Trauner, professor of neurosciences and pediatrics at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and a physician at San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital, cautions that CBD products marketed online and in dispensaries are mostly unregulated(26).
The lack of regulation makes it difficult to determine whether the CBD gummies, tinctures, patches, balms, and gelcaps contain what the product label claims.
A 2107 review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed labeling inaccuracies among CBD products. Some products had less CBD than stated, while others had more(27).
How CBD Oil Compares to Other Oils Taken When Fasting
It is widely known among fasters that a recommended supplement to support intermittent fasting is MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) oil.
MCTs are metabolized differently from other fats, as they are converted into ketones for energy almost instantly and are not stored up like other fats.
Fasters add MCTs to their diet while observing the intermittent fasting routine as MCTs help reduce hunger, allowing them to extend the fasting period without the hunger pangs and cravings.
Coconut oil has been known to be one of the richest sources of MCT. Virgin coconut oil boosts energy levels and provides the body with fatty acids, which also act as fasting and cleansing agents for the body when consumed properly.
CBD oils are made by extracting the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids from the cannabis plant. The extract is then added to the carrier oil.
Different brands use different carrier oils. Different oils have slightly different nutrition profiles, which technically changes how many calories are in CBD oil.
CBD is a highly lipophilic molecule, which means it is made from fats. While the calories in CBD oil almost entirely come from fat, these types of fat can help burn more calories compared to the same number of calories from longer-chain fats, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics(28).
How to Choose the Right CBD to Take When Fasting
Transdermal CBD patches are ideal to use when fasting. Still, regardless of the form of CBD products, careful consideration must be employed in selecting the best CBD oil form to take when fasting.
The following factors are essential to ensure the safety and reliability of the CBD products purchased:
- Research on the exact legal stipulations applicable to CBD in the area where it would be purchased and used.
- Purchase only high-quality CBD products from legitimate and reliable brands. The majority of companies that manufacture the best CBD oil products grow their hemp from their farm, or they purchase from licensed hemp producers.
- When buying from an online store, do some research on product reviews first. When buying from a physical store or dispensary, check whether the store is authorized by the government to sell CBD.
- One important thing to look for in CBD products is certification codes. Several certification authorities approve certain products only after some thorough screening tests.
- Compare company claims about their products’ potency with that of the third-party lab reports. Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all phytonutrients from hemp, including trace amounts of THC, terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils. Meanwhile, a CBD isolate carries only pure, isolated cannabidiol.
- Consulting with a trusted medical professional who is experienced in CBD use is ideal before one purchases his or her first bottle of CBD.
How Much CBD Oil Should Be Taken When Fasting
CBD oil from most CBD products is hemp-derived. Based on the nutrition information on product labels of tinctures and depending on product quality and purity, hemp oil has about 125 calories and 15 grams of fat per tablespoon.
It is widely believed among fasters that consuming up to 50 calories does not break a fast. Also, as long as fasters stay under 50 grams of carbohydrates, they remain in the fasted state.
Always check the nutrition information on product labels to determine how many calories are in every CBD dose.
How to Take CBD Oil When Fasting and Why
A transdermal CBD patch may contain anywhere from 10 mg to 120 mg of CBD, depending on the brand.
By using a CBD patch, CBD oil is applied transdermally to prevent consuming more than 50 calories, the threshold for staying in the fasted state.
Transdermals are not the same as topicals. Topicals are applied to the skin, and they only work on the specific area of the skin where the product was applied.
Transdermals, on the other hand, are products applied to the skin but get absorbed into and penetrate through the skin into the bloodstream, benefiting the whole body.
It takes special emulsifiers and chemical compounds to make CBD product transdermals which is why they are usually more expensive than topicals.
CBD patches contain a measured dose of CBD molecules, usually infused in an isolated solution, oil, or gel. Together with carriers and permeation enhancers, the patch’s high CBD concentration and the skin’s low CBD concentration help move the cannabinoids out of the patch and into the body.
Currently, there are two different types of CBD patches on the market: matrix patches and reservoir patches.
- Matrix patches usually contain five layers. The adhesive layer holds the matrix layer (infused with CBD) to the skin, and the CBD molecules move from the patch into the skin’s capillaries and then to the bloodstream.
- Reservoir patches’ key element is the CBD reservoir’s permeable release membrane through which manufacturers can control the CBD delivery rate. Thus, CBD is released at a steadier, more controlled pace.
To use a CBD patch, remove the protective film, apply the patch to the skin and wear it for the time frame indicated on the packaging.
Time frames refer to the period the patch is actively releasing CBD into the skin, and they can vary from 6-12 hours up to 96 hours.
Patches work best on venous parts of the body, the area where capillaries and blood vessels are underneath a thin layer of skin. The wrists, ankles, upper arms, shoulders and the back of the neck are ideal locations.
CBD tinctures that are low in calorie content may also be taken when fasting. Check the product label to ensure that one dose of CBD oil would not exceed 50 calories.
Intermittent Fasting and Its Evidence-Based Benefits
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern, and there are various ways to do it. In a 16:8 pattern, for instance, people eat within an eight-hour window and then fast for 16 hours of the day. Some people fast longer, for a day or days at a time between eating.
A 2017 study published in the International Journal of Obesity suggests that intermittent fasting leads to more significant weight loss and fat loss in men with obesity than regular calorie restriction(29).
Research from 2016 indicated that men who followed a 16:8 (16-hour fast, 8-hour eating window) approach for 8 weeks while resistance training showed a decrease in fat mass. The participants maintained their muscle mass(30).
Insulin helps regulate the blood sugar level to keep it from getting too low (hypoglycemia) or too high (hyperglycemia).
During fasting, blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning(31).
The blood levels of human growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold(32). Elevated levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, as well as have numerous other benefits(33).
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, contributing editor of Harvard Health Publishing wrote in an article about IF the opinion of metabolic expert Dr. Deborah Wexler, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School(34).
Circadian rhythm fasting, which is a form of intermittent fasting, can be a practical approach to weight loss when it is combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, Tello says.
However, she cautions people who are on diabetes medications or with advanced diabetes, people with a history of eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia, and pregnant or breastfeeding women not to attempt intermittent fasting without the advice and close supervision of their doctor.
Meanwhile, CBD may help sustain a fasting period and when taken in doses of 50 calories or less, does not break a fast.
The potential ability of CBD to help with the browning process of adipose tissues make it an excellent supplement to a fasting regimen.
Like fasting, CBD is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly advises women to avoid using CBD, THC, or marijuana in any form during pregnancy and while breastfeeding(35).
Before experimenting with different CBD products and dosages, it is essential to speak to a doctor about a CBD treatment for a medical condition or using CBD oil when fasting.
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