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Cannabinoids are a collection of over 100 chemicals that are derived from the cannabis plant (cannabis sativa). Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of these chemicals and research has said it has anti inflammatory effects when induced on animal cells, without unwanted psychoactive side effects. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another one of these chemicals that gives off a psychotropic effect in animals brains. Endogenous cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) are found in the endocannabinoid system and allow cannabinoids to bind and work in the body. This paper will look at the endocannabinoids role in appetite control and if they can be used to treat obesity.
Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.
Endocannabinoid system, a target for obesity?
Research into the endocannabinoid ‘system’ has grown exponentially in recent years, with the discovery of cannabinoid receptors and their endogenous ligands, such as anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Important advances have been made in our understanding of endocannabinoid transduction mechanisms, their metabolic pathways, and of the biological processes in which they are implicated. A decade of endocannabinoid studies has promoted new insights into neural regulation and mammalian physiology that are as revolutionary as those arising from the discovery of the endogenous opioid peptides in the 1970s. Thus, endocannabinoids have been found to act as retrograde signals: released by postsynaptic neurons, they bind to presynaptic heteroreceptors to modulate the release of inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters through multiple G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)-linked effector mechanisms. The metabolic pathways of anandamide and 2-AG have now been been characterised in great detail, and now the world can anticipate that these pathways – together with endocannabinoid uptake mechanisms – will complement cannabinoid receptors as targets for the pharmacological analysis of the physiological functions of these substances. Specific insights into the potential role of endocannabinoid-CB1 receptor systems in central appetite control, peripheral metabolism and body weight regulation herald the clinical application of CB1 receptor antagonists in the management of obesity and its associated disorders.
Cannabinoid receptors have an important role in eating behaviour
The data reviewed here support an important role of endocannabinoids and CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the processes that normally regulate appetite and eating behaviour. The additional involvement of cannabinoid-sensitive mechanisms in the peripheral regulation of adiposity and energy balance indicates that endocannabinoid systems represent a potentially unique target for the treatment of disorders of appetite and body weight regulation. The combined ability of rimonabant to alter fat metabolism and glucose utilisation, promote weight loss, and to suppress food intake suggests that CB1 receptor antagonists may be powerful tools in the treatment of obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and atherogenesis.