Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cannabis can be used as a tool to fight obesity

LONDON: Cannabis plants could be a new weapon in the fight against obesity, scientists have claimed after they found two compounds in the plants' leaves that increase the amount of energy the body burns. Test in animals have already shown the compounds — THCV and cannabidiol — can help treat type two diabetes while also helping to reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood stream and fat in key organs like the liver.
Now, scientists are conducting clinical trials in about 200 patients in the hope of producing a drug that can be used to treat patients suffering from "metabolic syndrome", where diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity combine to increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Dr Steph Wright, director of research and development at GW Pharmaceuticals which is developing the drugs, said: "We are conducting four Phase 2a clinical trials and we expect some results later this year. The results in animal models have been very encouraging. We are interested in how the drugs effect the fat distribution and utilization in the body as a treatment for metabolic diseases," Wright was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph. Although cannabis is an illegal drug, GW Pharmaceuticals has obtained a licence to grow the plant in specially-designed greenhouses. It produces plants that were bred to express different quantities of compounds known as cannabinoids. It's already developing drugs that can treat multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Although cannabis is better known for inducing hunger in those who smoke it, known as the munchies, when the scientists examined two compounds, THCV and cannabidiol, they were found to have an appetite suppressing effect.

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