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Inflammation & Obesity: Can Cannabis Help Break The Cycle?

To kick-start quelling inflammation, adding cannabis cultivars (strains) that are high in CBD may be just what the dietitian ordered.

Like most chronic lifestyle-related diseases, inflammation is at the core. Obesity is no different. When it comes to obesity, many doctors often prescribe a slew of medications to treat the accompanying co-morbidities of obesity, such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and dysregulated blood glucose. Inflammation, of course, is at the root of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar.  

Substancescalled cytokines, which are secreted by immune system cells, can create other health issues, including insulin resistance. Insulin resistanceprecursor of type 2 diabetes, which is frequently (but not always) related to obesity. Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, do not happen overnight. They happen over a lifetime of lessthanoptimal lifestyle habits. A habitual diet high in sugar and processed food raises blood sugar, which tells the body to make insulin to clear glucose from the bloodstream.

Chronic consumption of these foods forces the body to produce increasing amounts of insulin in order to keep up with the increasing influx of sugar. Eventually, the body becomes desensitized and insulin stops responding. The result is high blood sugar, which causes more inflammation, further exacerbating insulin resistance. And, so the vicious, unhealthy cycle continues.   

RELATED: How CBD Can Potentially Combat Obesity

Reaching for sugary, processed foods becomes the routine way of eating, which may be related to endocannabinoid (ECS) signaling. All roads lead to the endocannabinoid system.  ECS signaling involves the activation of receptors by endocannabinoids, triggering specific actions in the body.

American Toddlers Are Eating More Sugar Than The Adult Recommendation
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Signaling in the gut may drive overeating of the Standard American Diet (SAD) of processed, low-nutrient foods, which leads to elevated levels of endocannabinoids and potentially more overeating. What eventually happens when consumption of processed, sugary foods increases? Insulin resistance. Now, we are back at the beginning of the cycle again.

The question is: how to reduce the inflammation? Changing eating habits to follow an anti-inflammatory food plan is vital. For those with endocannabinoid system dysfunction and resultant food addiction, changing lifestyle routines can be challenging. Consulting with a nutritionist who is well-versed in the endocannabinoid system is helpful.

RELATED: The Connection Between Intermittent Fasting And Your Endocannabinoid System

To kick-start quelling inflammation, adding cannabis cultivars (strains) that are high in CBD may be just what the dietitian ordered. CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory compounds in the plant world. In fact, the US government has a patent on this cannabinoid as an anti-inflammatory. Because the ECS is involved in the modulation of many physiological systems, CBD can work to combat inflammation throughout the entire body. Ultimately, CBD may help reduce disordered food consumption, lower inflammation, and help manage obesity.   

You can catch Laura speaking about the interaction among the endocannabinoid system, eating behavior, and cannabis at Villanova University on March 6.

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