University of Calgary researchers have been exploring the biology behind cannabis and how it acts on various systems in our bodies. For example, why does pot make you so hungry? Our bodies produce a type of cannabinoids on our own but the cannabis plant also contains different types of cannabinoids that bind to the receptors in our bodies. When you take cannabis it floods the receptors in the body and brain with THC, the active ingredient that gets you high. THC stimulates the appetite centres in the brain. It gives you the “marijuana munchies”. The researchers use scientific jargon to explain it but essentially cannabinoids make food feel more rewarding to eat, especially high-carb, high-fat foods. Of course you might expect this to make marijuana users gain weight but, paradoxically, the researchers say population level studies show regular users of cannabis tend to be thinner. Up till now most lab studies have been done with mice seeing cannabis has been illegal. That will soon change but the professor at the head of the U of C research theorizes that somehow THC does something to stomach bacteria. Marijuana is not a weight loss agent but what it does to metabolism is fascinating, according to the professor, and it may explain why cannabis users tend to be thinner than the regular population. The upcoming legalization of cannabis will provide researchers with more opportunities to study the drug and its effects on the body and I’m sure a lot of people will be waiting to see the results.
That’s Coffeetalk. I’m Vic Dubois.