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The body's own endocannabinoids control our satiety
Signals between the gut and brain control how, when and how much we eat. The molecular mechanisms that lead to this signal transmission are currently being investigated in more detail. An American research team has now shown that a high-fat and sugar-rich diet leads to a disturbance in this transmission and that the body's endocannabinoids are involved in signal transmission. The team believes cannabis is an effective way to fight obesity.
Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside, found in a nutritional study in mice that overactive endocannabinoid signals in the gut block the feeling of satiety in the brain. Overactivation was triggered by an energetic diet that was high in fat and sugar. The research team now wants to investigate whether the cannabis active ingredient tetrahydrocanabinol (THC) is suitable for soothing the overactive signals. The study results were recently presented in the specialist journal "frontiers in Physiology".
The endocannabinoid system is still largely unexplored
The endocannabinoid system is part of the human nervous system. The name comes from the cannabis plant, whose active ingredients led to the discovery of the system in humans. The exact function of the system has not yet been finally clarified. It is known that the endocannabinoid system is involved in numerous physiological processes, such as, for example, the sensation of pain, sleep induction, appetite, temperature control and the regulation of the immune system. The California research team looked at the impact of endocannabinoids on digestion in their study and found that they play a key role in satiety.
How fat and sugar block satiety
For 60 days, the researchers fed mice with high-fat and sugar-rich food, which is typical of the Western diet. They examined whether there are changes in the physical signals. It was shown that the body's own endocannabinoids were excessively activated in the intestine by eating high in energy. This led to an inhibition of the hormone cholecystokinin, which triggers satiety in the brain. The mice showed a reduced feeling of satiety and ate unusually a lot, which ultimately led to being overweight.
New approach to fighting obesity
"If there were a drug that would remove the inhibition of satiety peptides in high-fat and high-fat foods, we would be a big step forward in fighting obesity," explains biomedical scientist Nicholas V. DiPatrizio, who heads the research team. The group now wants to get a better understanding of how certain components of the Western diet lead to dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system and intestinal signaling.
Can cannabis prevent obesity?
DiPatrizio reports that cannabis use leads to an increased appetite in the short term. Paradoxically, long-term cannabis consumption is associated with a decrease in body weight. According to the researchers, long-term cannabis users showed improved metabolic parameters, such as a higher density of HDL, which is often referred to as "good cholesterol". DiPatrizio's team now wants to investigate whether long-term use of cannabis improves metabolic health. "We will also investigate how cannabis affects blood sugar maintenance," the expert said in a press release. The American government has shown great interest in the results and is funding the upcoming studies with $ 744,000. (vb)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek