Marijuana causes the “munchies”, a colloquial term for general hunger. The brain’s endocannabinoid receptor system is known to be involved in regulating food intake, energy balance and the pleasurable feelings of reward. Better understanding of the role of endocannabinoids, the body’s natural equivalent to the compounds found in marijuana that lead to a “high”, could help explain dietary fat intake.
UK scientists have now used “sham feeding” in lab animals to test whether or not endocannabinoid signaling is required for the positive feedback loop that controls how much fat an animal eats. Their findings suggest that the system does indeed display a strong control mechanism over fat intake and so could be the target of novel drugs to combat obesity.
- Endocannabinoid signal in the gut controls dietary fat intake
N. V. DiPatrizio, G. Astarita, G. Schwartz, X. Li, D. Piomelli,
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2011, 108, 12904–12908.