Feel Well… Eat Well. Top 5 Uses of CBD & How They Can Alter Nutrition

The top 5 uses of CBD and how they can alter nutrition

The top 5 uses of CBD supplements all have a relationship with food:

  1. Relief from pain
  2. Insomnia
  3. Anxiety
  4. Depression
  5. Stress

While they are called “dietary supplements” they’re really not. However, the top 5 uses of CBD: relieving pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression, or stress, may have a definitive impact on how you feel and therefore what and how much you eat.

It is safe to say CBD is a hot topic with supplements popping up everywhere. For example, we see displays in grocery stores, pharmacies, and some cosmetic retailers. CBD is in oils, topicals, sleep aids, gummies, pills, and even in pet products, each claiming a benefit. Moreover, with their swift gain in popularity, it’s important to understand their properties and the science behind them.

What is CBD?

The top 5 uses of CBD and how they can alter nutrition
Photo by Washarapol D BinYo Jundang

CBD is a cannabinoid from the Cannabis Sativa plant. By definition, a cannabinoid is a chemical compound that acts on receptors in the brain. CBD is derived from the hemp part of the cannabis plant. It does not cause the “high” from the THC compound in marijuana, CBD is not intoxicating or addictive.

Our brain has receptor sites that regulate how we deal with feelings such as anxiety, pain, and emotions. Cannabinoids bind with these sites and therefore affect how we feel.

CBD is an antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. These properties suggest CBD is likely to support brain health and inflammatory conditions. Cannabinoids are also showing promising results for treating diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes, among others. Results are encouraging; however, further research is needed for the future use of CBD in treating these and other medical conditions.


Pain can affect our desire to eat. Pain increases blood pressure, heart rate, and can cause fatigue. It causes discomfort, impacting both physical and mental health. Therefore, it is not surprising that poor appetite is often a side effect of pain.

With pain and diminished hunger, preparing healthy meals is not a priority. We resort to eating what’s easily available, such as a microwaved dinner or a highly processed fast-food meal. Or we may even skip the meal altogether. Chronic pain that persists can result in unintended weight loss and overall poor nutrition, especially in the elderly.

The Top 5 Uses of CBD & How They Can Alter Nutrition. back pain
Photo by Karolina Grabowska

In addition to causing discomfort, pain can be disabling and reduce our ability to move, curtailing physical activity, and exercise. Whether it’s sitting on the sideline with a sports injury, dealing with an arthritic knee, or any chronic pain, immobility over time can result in unwanted weight gain and ultimately obesity. Lack of exercise also leads to reduced muscle mass and decreased bone density.

In either case, pain can affect what and how much we eat as well as our desire to eat. With restricted movement, our ability to utilize calories and build muscle is lessened.


For example, in one study, 397 patients with self-reported chronic pain, used 100 mg of CBD oil for 3 weeks. Forty-four (44%) percent of the patients reported positive results which they identified as reduced pain and increased ability to perform usual activities. A small percentage (19%) reported no benefit.

In another study, 97 patients with chronic pain, aged 30-65, were treated with CBD for 8 weeks. At the end of the study, 53% reported less pain and were able to reduce their current pain medications. Ninety-four percent reported improved quality of life.

Sleep quality and metabolism are linked to food intake and the development of obesity.

Insomnia is the number two reason people use CBD supplements. Lack of adequate sleep causes fatigue, irritability, depression, and/or anxiety, all of which affect appetite, intake, and nutrition.

Evidence suggests insomnia is associated with excessive food intake, consumption of unhealthy snack foods, eating late at night, and low energy expenditure. Thus, linking sleep quality and metabolism to food intake and the development of obesity.

The Top 5 Uses of CBD & How They Can Alter Nutrition. sleeping bad quality
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

CBD used for treating insomnia is supported by one study where 72 adults were given 25 mg of CBD for one month.  On average, anxiety and sleep improved for most patients. For example, 79% reported a reduction in anxiety and 66% noted less frequent insomnia and improved sleep.

And in another study, participants who received 160 mg cannabidiol per day, reported sleeping significantly better than those who received a placebo.

Anxiety, depression, and stress are the most common causes of changes in how much we eat.

Anxiety, depression, and stress are three of the top 5 uses of CBD supplements. These mental health and mood alterations affect individuals differently, consequently causing them to respond in a number of ways. One of the most frequent is a change in how much you eat.

Binge eating or emotional hunger is common.  Some can’t stop eating and many find themselves mindlessly snacking. In other words, without thinking about it, regardless of true hunger, and most often comprised of empty calorie, non-nutritious food.

In a study that examined a group of 50 self-identified depressed individuals over a four-month period, there was a significant increase in their desire for carbohydrate-fat-rich foods compared to when they were being medicated for depression and feeling well. Those who turn to food when dealing with mood, often find themselves also dealing with significant weight gain.

Conversely, anxiety and depression leave some unable to eat. Too stressed to function normally, resulting in poor intake, under-nutrition, and potentially unintended weight loss.  Depression may also result in loss of energy, decreased interest in cooking, and potentially an unhealthy diet.

Those who choose to use CBD for alterations in mood, such as anxiety, depression, and stress, report an overall feeling of calm. Evidence supports CBD’s positive effects on anxiety and depression, as well as decreasing symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In one study 24 patients with identified social anxiety were administered 600 mg of CBD or a placebo. Each was given a simulated public speaking test. Those treated with CBD showed less uneasiness while speaking and appeared significantly less anxious than the placebo group.


The top 5 uses for using CBD supplements all have a relationship with food. Pain impacts both physical and mental health, reducing appetite and desire to eat while increasing the risk for undernutrition and unintended weight loss.

Insomnia or poor sleep quality lends itself to late-night snacking and poor mental and physical energy leading to the development of obesity.

Mental health and mood alterations such as depression, anxiety, and stress affect individuals differently, but almost always lead to a change in how much you eat.

When you feel bad, you don’t care to eat well. And while further research is essential, there is some evidence that CBD supplements may have merit and basis for better nutrition.

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