It has long been suspected that cannabis can help with issues related to appetite. Because of the strong correlation between cannabis and “the munchies,” marijuana has been associated with helping regain the desire to eat even before any scientific tests were carried out. Cannabis has also been approved as a medicine to help regain appetite in conjunction with drugs and procedures like chemotherapy that cause nausea and loss of appetite.
Now, however, research is making it clear that cannabis has very far-reaching implications for appetite control, beyond the obvious of cannabis stimulating the appetite. According to neuroscientist Tamas Horvath, who studies at Yale University in New Haven, the CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the body, in conjunction with cannabinoids themselves, may hold the key to unlocking the secrets of hunger.
According to the Yale study, the anti-nausea drug dronabinol, which is made up of cannabis, releases hormones that produce hunger. Simply reversing the process – suppressing these hormones – could be the key to a diet supplement that actually works to stop overeating. In short, cannabinoids and receptors may be two major clues to understanding how appetite works.
However, because cannabis is still a Schedule I substance, not that many studies have been done regarding this finding, and it is still not completely clear how the receptors work. The researchers believe that a special neuron found in the brain that increases or reduces appetite may also have something to do with appetite control. Hunger-related hormones are also regulated by individual cell’s mitochondria, which either increase or decrease energy levels and affect appetite.
Until more research can be done, it will not be completely clear how exactly cannabis aids in this process. However, this could have far-reaching implications beyond just using cannabis to increase appetite. Using cannabinoids to understand this aspect of human health could also lead to advances in appetite suppression, and a better understanding of how hunger works in general.