Marijuana

A medical marijuana drug in development may actually aid in weight loss, says new research currently underway at the University of Buckingham in Buckinghamshire, England in partnership with GW Pharmaceuticals.

Researchers have found that certain active cannabinoid compounds in marijuana actually help to suppressed appetites, lower cholesterol, decrease the body’s storage of fat, and help to improve insulin responses to sugar. The researchers think these attributes could be helpful in reducing the risk of obesity-related illnesses including diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

GW Pharmaceuticals’ focus is on the development of prescription cannabinoid medicines. In addition to research in treating obesity with marijuana, GW Pharmaceuticals is also working on marijuana drugs to treat illnesses including multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and cancer pain.

According to the company’s website, the research being done with the University of Buckingham on obesity hones in on two leading cannabinoid compounds: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and cannabidiol (CBD).  “CBD has shown potential beneficial effects in hypercholesterolaemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, while THCV has shown desirable effects notably in raising energy expenditure. Exploration of the effects of these two cannabinoids in combination confirms that a number of the components of the metabolic syndrome can potentially be addressed with a single medicine.”

THCV and CBD are moving from Phase 1 clinical trials into an advanced drug testing phase that will combine the two compounds for further study on the treatment of dyslipidaemia and fatty liver in Type II diabetic patients.

Medical marijuana is legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia, and polls suggest as many as half of the nation’s adults would support the legalization of marijuana.

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Image: Jill Ettinger