“Obesity rates are increasing worldwide and there is a need for novel therapeutic treatment options.
The endocannabinoid system has been linked to homeostatic processes, including metabolism, food intake, and the regulation of body weight.
Rimonabant, an inverse agonist for the cannabinoid CB1 receptor, was effective at producing weight loss in obese subjects. However, due to adverse psychiatric side effects, rimonabant was removed from the market.
More recently, we reported an inverse relationship between cannabis use and BMI, which has now been duplicated by several groups.
As those results may appear contradictory, we review here preclinical and clinical studies that have studied the impact on body weight of various cannabinoid CB1 drugs. Notably, we will review the impact of CB1 inverse agonists, agonists, partial agonists, and neutral antagonists.
Those findings clearly point out the cannabinoid CB1 as a potential effective target for the treatment of obesity. Recent preclinical studies suggest that ligands targeting the CB1 may retain the therapeutic potential of rimonabant without the negative side effect profile. Such approaches should be tested in clinical trials for validation.”