Are cannabis users less likely to gain weight? Results from a national 3-year prospective study.

International Journal of Epidemiology

“Pre-clinical studies indicate increased food intake and weight gain as cannabinoid effects. Cross-sectional epidemiological studies, however, indicate lower prevalence of obesity among cannabis users. Here, we aim to study the weight-gain research question in the prospectively conducted National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC).

RESULTS:

At W2, 77% of the participants never used cannabis, 18% had discontinued use (‘quit’), 3% were initiates and 2% were persistent users. Estimated W1-to-W2 BMI change shows an increase for all subgroups. Compared with never-users (reference), inverse slope estimates and attenuated change (%) in BMI between W1 and W2 are seen for cannabis-use subgroups: quitters [β = -0.81; 95% confidence interval (CI) = -1.01, -0.60], initiates (β = -0.97; 95% CI = -1.36, -0.57) and persistent users (β = -1.26; 95% CI = -1.81, -0.72).

CONCLUSION:

This new prospective study builds from anecdotes, pre-clinical studies and cross-sectional evidence on inverse associations linking cannabis use and obesity and shows an inverse cannabis-BMI increase association. Confirmatory studies with rigorous cannabis and BMI assays will be needed.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30879064

https://academic.oup.com/ije/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ije/dyz044/5382155?redirectedFrom=fulltext

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Dark Classics in Chemical Neuroscience: Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol.

 ACS Chemical Neuroscience

“Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) is the most widely used illicit drug in the world, with an estimated 192 million users globally.

The main psychoactive component of cannabis is (-)-trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), a molecule with a diverse range of pharmacological actions. The unique and distinctive intoxication caused by Δ9-THC primarily reflects partial agonist action at central cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors.

Δ9-THC is an approved therapeutic treatment for a range of conditions, including chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and is being investigated in indications such as anorexia nervosa, agitation in dementia, and Tourette’s syndrome.

It is available as a regulated pharmaceutical in products such as Marinol®, Sativex®, and Namisol®, as well as in an ever-increasing range of unregistered medicinal and recreational cannabis products.

While cannabis is an ancient medicament, contemporary use is embroiled in legal, scientific, and social controversy, much of which relates to the potential hazards and benefits of Δ9-THC itself.

Robust contemporary debate surrounds the therapeutic value of Δ9-THC in different diseases, its capacity to produce psychosis and cognitive impairment, and the addictive and “gateway” potential of the drug.

This review will provide a profile of the chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, and recreational and therapeutic uses of Δ9-THC, as well as the historical and societal importance of this unique, distinctive, and ubiquitous psychoactive substance.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30689342

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acschemneuro.8b00651

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Cannabis, cannabinoid receptors, and endocannabinoid system: yesterday, today, and tomorrow

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“Cannabis sativa, is also popularly known as marijuana, has been cultivated and used for recreational and medicinal purposes for many centuries.

The main psychoactive content in cannabis is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In addition to plant cannabis sativa, there are two classes of cannabinoids—the synthetic cannabinoids (e.g., WIN55212–2) and the endogenous cannabinoids (eCB), anandamide (ANA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).

The biological effects of cannabinoids are mainly mediated by two members of the G-protein-coupled receptor family, cannabinoid receptors 1 (CB1R) and 2 (CB2R). The endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and the enzymes/proteins responsible for their biosynthesis, degradation, and re-updating constitute the endocannabinoid system.

In recent decades, the endocannabinoid system has attracted considerable attention as a potential therapeutic target in numerous physiological conditions, such as in energy balance, appetite stimulation, blood pressure, pain modulation, embryogenesis, nausea and vomiting control, memory, learning and immune response, as well as in pathological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

The major goal of this Special Issue is to discuss and evaluate the current progress in cannabis and cannabinoid research in order to increase our understanding about cannabinoid action and the underlying biological mechanisms and promote the development cannabinoid-based pharmacotherapies.

 Overall, the present special issue provides an overview and insight on pharmacological mechanisms and therapeutic potentials of cannabis, cannabinoid receptors, and eCB system. I believe that this special issue will promote further efforts to apply cannabinoid ligands as the therapeutic strategies for treating a variety of diseases.”
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Bidirectional modulation of food habit expression by the endocannabinoid system.

European Journal of Neuroscience banner

“The compulsive, habitual behaviors that have been observed in individuals diagnosed with substance use disorders may be due to disruptions in the neural circuits that mediate goal-directed actions.

The endocannabinoid system has been shown to play a critical role in habit learning, but the role of this neuromodulatory system in habit expression is unclear.

Here, we investigated the role of the endocannabinoid system in established habitual actions using contingency degradation in male C57BL/6 mice.

We found that administration of the endocannabinoid transport inhibitor AM404 reduced habitual responding for food and that antagonism of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1), but not transient receptor potential cation subfamily V (TRPV1), receptors produced a similar reduction in habitual responding.

Moreover, pharmacological stimulation of CB1 receptors increased habitual responding for food. Co-administration of an enzyme inhibitor that selectively increases the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) with AM404 partially restored habitual responding for food.

Together, these findings demonstrate an important role for the endocannabinoid system in the expression of habits and provide novel insights into potential pharmacological strategies for reducing habitual behaviors in mental disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30589475

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ejn.14330

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Cannabinoids, Chemical Senses, and Regulation of Feeding Behavior.

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“The herb Cannabis sativa has been traditionally used in many cultures and all over the world for thousands of years as medicine and recreation.

However, because it was brought to the Western world in the late 19th century, its use has been a source of controversy with respect to its physiological effects as well as the generation of specific behaviors. In this regard, the CB1 receptor represents the most relevant target molecule of cannabinoid components on nervous system and whole-body energy homeostasis.

Thus, the promotion of CB1 signaling can increase appetite and stimulate feeding, whereas blockade of CB1 suppresses hunger and induces hypophagia.

Taste and flavor are sensory experiences involving the oral perception of food-derived chemicals and drive a primal sense of acceptable or unacceptable for what is sampled. Therefore, research within the last decades focused on deciphering the effect of cannabinoids on the chemical senses involved in food perception and consequently in the pattern of feeding.

In this review, we summarize the data on the effect of cannabinoids on chemical senses and their influences on food intake control and feeding behavior.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30481264

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The Impact of Δ9-THC on the Psychological Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa: A Pilot Study.

 Image result for Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci.

“Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) is the active compound of Cannabis sativa with appetite stimulating properties.

This study evaluated the effect of low doses of oral Δ9-THC on self-reported symptoms of patients suffering from chronic anorexia nervosa (AN).

The primary outcome was improvement in the way patients perceived their eating behavior.

Significant improvements were found in self reported body care, sense of ineffectiveness, asceticism and depression. There were no significant changes in BMI.

Δ9-THC may be an effective component in treating the psychological symptoms of AN.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29735812

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Dronabinol oral solution in the management of anorexia and weight loss in AIDS and cancer.

“The true incidence of anorexia secondary to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and cancer is not well classified owing to the fact that there is a lack of standardized definitions and recent clinical data in these settings.

Dronabinol, or Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a synthetic molecule that closely mimics the action of Cannabis sativa L., a naturally occurring compound activated in the central nervous system by cannabinoid receptors.

Dronabinol exerts its effects by directly acting on the vomiting and appetite control centers in the brain, which in turn increases appetite and prevents vomiting.

In the USA, dronabinol is currently available in two dosage formulations – oral capsule and oral solution. While the oral capsule was initially approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1985, the recent approval of the oral solution in 2016 presents an “easy-to-swallow” alternative for patients using or intending to use dronabinol.

Dronabinol is indicated in adult patients with HIV/AIDS for the treatment of anorexia and weight loss. However, there is no approved indication in the setting of cancer-related anorexia and weight loss. This review aims at presenting available data on the use of oral dronabinol in the management of anorexia and weight loss in HIV/AIDS and cancer, as well as characterizing and highlighting the pharmacotherapeutic considerations of the newest formulation of dronabinol.”

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The effect of nabilone on appetite, nutritional status, and quality of life in lung cancer patients: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial.

Supportive Care in Cancer

“Over one half of the patients diagnosed with advanced lung cancer experience anorexia. In addition to its high incidence, cancer-induced anorexia promotes the development of the anorexia-cachexia syndrome, which is related to poor clinical outcomes.

Recently, drugs derived from cannabinoids, such as Nabilone, have been recognized for their appetite improvement properties.

METHODS:

This is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of Nabilone vs. placebo on the appetite, nutritional status, and quality of life in patients diagnosed with advanced Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) (NCT02802540).

CONCLUSION:

Nabilone is an adequate and safe therapeutic option to aid in the treatment of patients diagnosed with anorexia. Larger trials are necessary in order to draw robust conclusions in regard to its efficacy in lung cancer patients.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29550881

“Nabilone is a synthetic cannabinoid with therapeutic use as an antiemetic and as an adjunct analgesic for neuropathic pain. It mimics tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound found naturally occurring in Cannabis.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nabilone
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Nutritional Value of Commercial Protein-Rich Plant Products.

 Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

“The goal of this work was to analyze nutritional value of various minimally processed commercial products of plant protein sources such as faba bean (Vicia faba), lupin (Lupinus angustifolius), rapeseed press cake (Brassica rapa/napus subsp. Oleifera), flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum), oil hemp seed (Cannabis sativa), buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum), and quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa). Basic composition and various nutritional components like amino acids, sugars, minerals, and dietary fiber were determined. Nearly all the samples studied could be considered as good sources of essential amino acids, minerals and dietary fiber. The highest content of crude protein (over 30 g/100 g DW) was found in faba bean, blue lupin and rapeseed press cake. The total amount of essential amino acids (EAA) ranged from 25.8 g/16 g N in oil hemp hulls to 41.5 g/16 g N in pearled quinoa. All the samples studied have a nutritionally favorable composition with significant health benefit potential. Processing (dehulling or pearling) affected greatly to the contents of analyzed nutrients.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29500810

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11130-018-0660-7

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Limited Access to a High Fat Diet Alters Endocannabinoid Tone in Female Rats.

Image result for frontiers in neuroscience

“Emerging evidence suggest an impaired endocannabinoid activity in the pathophysiology of binge eating disorder (BED). Herein, we investigated whether endocannabinoid tone could be modified as a consequence of dietary-induced binge eating in female rats.

For this purpose, brain levels of the endocannabinoids anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), as well as two endocannabinoid-like lipids, oleoylethanolamide (OEA) and palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), were assessed in different brain areas involved in the hedonic feeding (i.e., prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus).

The brain density of cannabinoid type-1 receptors (CB1) was also evaluated. Furthermore, we determined plasma levels of leptin, ghrelin, and corticosterone hormones, which are well-known to control the levels of endocannabioids and/or CB1 receptors in the brain.

To induce binge eating behavior, rats were subject to an intermittent and limited access to a high fat diet (HFD) (margarine). Three experimental groups were used, all with ad libitum access to chow: control (CTRL), with no access to margarine; low restriction (LR), with 2 h margarine access 7 days/week; high restriction (HR), with 2 h margarine access 3 days/week. Bingeing was established when margarine intake in the HR group exceeded that of the LR group.

Our results show that, compared to CTRL, AEA significantly decreased in the caudate putamen, amygdala, and hippocampus of HR group. In contrast, 2-AG significantly increased in the hippocampus while OEA decreased in the hypothalamus. Similar to the HR group, AEA and OEA decreased respectively in the amygdala and hypothalamus and 2-AG increased in the hippocampus of LR group. Moreover, LR group also had AEA decreased in the prefrontal cortex and increased in the nucleus accumbens. In both groups we found the same reduction of CB1 receptor density in the prefrontal cortex compared to CTRL. Also, LR and HR groups showed alterations in both ghrelin and corticosterone levels, while leptin remained unaltered.

In conclusion, our findings show a modified endocannabinoid tone due to margarine exposure, in several brain areas that are known to influence the hedonic aspect of food. Even if not uniquely specific to binge eating, margarine-induced changes in endocannabinoid tone could contributes to the development and maintenance of this behavior.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29456490

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2018.00040/full

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