Health & Wellbeing

Cannabis-derived compound could form part of the obesity medication puzzle

Cannabis-derived compound coul...
Pairing extracts taken from cannabis and vitamin A has shown promise as a drug to tackle obesity (Credit: Shutterstock)
Pairing extracts taken from cannabis and vitamin A has shown promise as a drug to tackle obesity (Credit: Shutterstock)
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Pairing extracts taken from cannabis and vitamin A has shown promise as a drug to tackle obesity (Credit: Shutterstock)
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Pairing extracts taken from cannabis and vitamin A has shown promise as a drug to tackle obesity (Credit: Shutterstock)

By combining compounds from cannabis and vitamin A, a team of Australian researchers has uncovered a promising new approach to fat-busting medication. The team's work may pave the way for obesity treatments with fewer side effects than current medications and negate the need for invasive surgeries.

An active compound of cannabis is known to regulate appetite and influence fat formation in humans, but researchers have baulked at the effect it can have on the brain. Researchers at Deakin University have now found a way to nullify these adverse effects.

This involves combining it with retinoic acid, which is an active component of vitamin A. The researchers say how this interacts with the endocannabinoid system to provide the fat-reducing effect isn't exactly clear, but testing the drug in zebrafish and human cells nonetheless returned promising results.

"The complementary actions of the endocannabinoid system and retinoic acid pathway in reducing fat deposits have the potential to treat obesity in a safer and more effective way than if they were used independently," says Dr Yann Gibert, head of Deakin's Metabolic Genetic Diseases Research Laboratory. "The results of our study show, for the first time, that particular compounds in cannabis and vitamin A can work together to reduce the deposit of lipids (fats),"

Researchers around the world are continuing to widen the net in the search for effective obesity-fighting medications. We have seen the development of drugs that could come to turn white fat into brown fat and ones that promise to reverse age-dependent diabetes. More recently, we covered the development of a molecule that influences the metabolic process to imitate the effects of exercise.

Enthused by their promising early findings, the Deakin researchers will continue to test the drug's effectiveness and seek to rule out potential adverse effects.

"If there are no side effects, new therapeutics could be ready for human use within five years," says Gilbert.

The research was published in the journal Endocrinology.

Source: Deakin University

4 comments
David993
We all burn calories, but at different rates due to a variety of causes which may include hereditary, gene, fitness, age etc. But the fundamental reason for gaining weight is eating more calories than you burn! Personally I am reluctant to recommend a significant change in volume of food intake but recommend a transition to low calorie foods, avoid dairy products, especially cheese, unless virtually fat free. ensure the diet includes all the necessary vitamins and minerals to keep the body functioning, Increase any daily activities, gradually. For instance, If still mobile, walk to the shops instead of taking the car. I am also hesitant to recommend any form of drug treatment, whilst extensive testing will be a part of its acceptance, no one knows the real effect on the human body 20 years hence, until 20 years have passed! Regrettably, there are too many instances of the doctors and medical companies getting it wrong! Stay healthy, keep fit!
wanderkip
Yet another well-founded belief from our youth has been vindicated!
AGO
weight management in the human body is a hormonal process, not a simple biomechanical action of consuming and using x amount of calories. The human body is smart and self regulating until you indroduce a carbohydrate intense diet that has not existed for a significant amount of time in our evolutionary history. Weve known this for years. Its not calories, but carbohydrates that provoke insulin which initiates fat accumulation. A diet high in nutrient dense vegitation, healthy fats and moderate protein has proven to reverse disease and return the human body to an optimized state (ketosis) which is currenty being investigated by the office of navy research for our special forces..... Look it up...
sk8dad
I hope this technology pans out. Then I will no long have to eliminate the deep fried Twinkies from my diet.