Brain changes responsible for the munchies identified in a new study
Using an animal study, researchers at Washington State University have identified how cannabis triggers a hormone (ghrelin) which causes hunger. They determined how the hormone intervenes in the brain during cravings (munchies).
Brain changes responsible for munchies (cravings)
A new study entitled "Investigation of neuroendocrine controls of cannabis-induced eating behavior, "Was recently presented at the Food Behavior Center in Bonita Springs, Florida.
Laboratory rats received doses of cannabis vapors. The researchers mentioned a specific hormone, ghrelin, which is released when the stomach is empty. When laboratory rats were exposed to measured doses of cannabis, they triggered athrust of ghrelin».
They also noticed that cannabis causes changes in the small area of the hypothalamus responsible for the detection of ghrelin. Then the rats received a medicine to prevent the rise of ghrelin, the hunger stopped.
Predictably, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) remains the most active molecule inducing appetite. (Some studies claim that high-rate strains cannabidiol (CBD) increase appetite.)
The team hopes to clarify the operation of "cravings". "We all know that cannabis use affects appetite. But until recently we have little understanding of how and why, "says Jon Davis, Ph.D. - researcher in the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience of Washington State.
"By studying exposure to cannabis plant matter, the most widely consumed form, we find genetic and physiological events in the body that allow cannabis to change eating behavior."
Cannabis treats common eating disorders
For decades, people have used cannabis to fight disease-induced anorexia, or the common wasting syndrome among people living with HIV / AIDS or cancer. In addition, other research tells us how cannabis could be used to treat common eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia. Thus the researchers hope that these results open the way to cannabis treatments. Especially for a therapy against loss of physical and psychological appetite.
Thus, the results help clarify what cannabis does for the body's metabolism:
"We discovered that exposure to cannabis caused smaller meals more frequently," Davis said. "But there is a delay before it takes effect."