July 10, 2012
Marijuana May Deflect Obesity
Connie K. Ho for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Cannabis seems to have many different allures. It can produce a “high.” It can give the feeling of munchies. Now, it can possibly help combat obesity. Scientists recently revealed that they found two compounds from cannabis leaves that could up the total energy that the body burns.
Previous studies of two specific compounds demonstrated that they could be used to treat type-two diabetes. The compounds were also discovered to have the ability to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood stream and decrease fat in important organs such as the liver. With the aim of treating patients who have “metabolic syndrome,” the researchers are currently conducting clinical trials in 200 patients with the drug. With “metabolic syndrome,” diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity combine to heighten the risk of heart disease and stroke in patients.
“We are conducting four Phase 2a clinical trials and we expect some results later this year,” commented Dr. Steph Wright, director of research and development at GW Pharmaceuticals, in a Telegraph article. “The results in animal models have been very encouraging. We are interested in how these drugs effect the fat distribution and utilization in the body as a treatment for metabolic diseases“¦ Humans have been using these plants for thousands of years so we have quite a lot of experience of the chemicals in the plants.”
GW Pharmaceuticals was given a license to grow cannabis in greenhouses that were specially constructed for project. The company produces cannabis plants that have a number of cannabinoids, which are varied compounds of cannabis. They are already working on creating drugs that can assist in treating epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Interesting enough, when the scientists studied two specific compounds, THCV and cannabioidoil, they found that they had the ability to suppress appetite but the effect lasted for a short amount of time. Upon further examination, the investigators discovered that the compounds could influence the fat level in the body as well as its effects to the hormone insulin.
Likewise, the studies of the compounds in mice showed that they increased the metabolism of the animals, causing decreased levels of fat in livers and minimized levels of cholesterol in the blood stream. In particular, THCV showed the ability of boosting the animals´ sensitivity to insulin but also shielding the insulin-producing cells. With these actions, the cells were able to work at a longer and more durable pace.
The researchers hope that the findings will help in the development of treatments for obesity-related illnesses and type-two diabetes.
“Overall, it seems these molecules increase energy expenditure in the cells of the body by increasing the metabolism,” noted Professor Mike Cawthorne, director of metabolic research at the University of Buckingham and animal studies researcher, in the Telegraph article.
Recently, there have been other studies related to marijuana. For example, a team of scientists at the University of Haifa used animal studies to investigate how cannabinoids may possibly help patients who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. As well, researchers at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at Plymouth University discovered that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a type of marijuana, has varied effects on subjects diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Those who participated in the study stated a 50% decrease in pain.