Cannabis may one day help lose weight

IMG_1438In America more than 30 percent of adults are considered overweight; likewise, the prevalence of obesity in America also tops one third. Obesity is any adult with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Obesity is associated with multiple comorbidities significantly contributing to disease and early death.

Similar to the endocrine system; the endocannabinoid system is known to help regulate much of the body’s functions. The endocannabinoid system consists of CB1 and CB2 receptors spread throughout the body. Scientists discovered that using antagonist drugs on CB1 receptors would be a promising intervention for reducing the weight of obese people. However, early human trials of an antagonist drug under the name “Rimonabant” produced unfavorable mental side effects and was later discontinued.

In light of new hope, recent studies found CB2 antagonists also reduce weight but did not come with the same adverse side-effects as CB1 antagonist stimulation.  Delta9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), one of many cannabinoids in cannabis, is known to have an antagonist effect on CB2 receptors. THCV shows promise that one day it may help people control weight and save countless lives.

References

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.Adult obesity facts. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

Deveaux, V., Cadoudal, T., Ichigotani, Y., Teixeira-Clerc, F., Louvet, A., Manin, S., . . . Lotersztajn, S. (2009). Cannabinoid CB2 receptor potentiates obesity-associated inflammation, insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis. Plos One, 4(6), e5844. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005844

Hillard, C. J. (2015). Endocannabinoids and the endocrine system in health and disease. In R. G. Pertwee (Ed.), Endocannabinoids (pp. 317-339). Cham: Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-20825-1_11

Leite, C. E., Mocelin, C. A., Petersen, G. O., Leal, M. B., & Thiesen, F. V. (2009). Rimonabant: An antagonist drug of the endocannabinoid system for the treatment of obesity. Pharmacological Reports, 61(2), 217-224. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19443932

Pagotto, U., Marsicano, G., Cota, D., Lutz, B., & Pasquali, R. (2006). The emerging role of the endocannabinoid system in endocrine regulation and energy balance. Endocrine Reviews, 27(1), 73-100. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/er.2005-0009

Pertwee, R. G. (2007). The diverse CB(1) and CB(2) receptor pharmacology of three plant cannabinoids: Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabivarin. British Journal of Pharmacology, 153(2), 199-215. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0707442

Pertwee, R. G., Thomas, A., Stevenson, L. A., Ross, R. A., Varvel, S. A., Lichtman, A. H., . . . Razdan, R. K. (2006). The psychoactive plant cannabinoid, Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol, is antagonized by Δ(8)- and Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabivarin in mice in vivo. British Journal of Pharmacology, 150(5), 586-594. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0707124

Thomas, A., Stevenson, L. A., Wease, K. N., Price, M. R., Baillie, G., Ross, R. A., & Pertwee, R. G. (2005). Evidence that the plant cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin is a cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptor antagonist. British Journal of Pharmacology, 146(7), 917-926. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0706414

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