Anyone who has seen Michael Blieden's seminal Super High Me knows that his Morgan Spurlock (comedian Doug Benson) lost weight while off pot for 30 days and gained back mucho poundage smoking the herb daily for the following month. Keep that in mind while checking out UC Irvine pharmacology professor Daniele Piomelli's latest research, which suggests that blocking a marijuana-like chemical in the brain leads to fattie, I mean, fat burning.
Piomelli, Andrea Frontini and Saverio Cinti of Marche Polytechnic University in Ancona, Italy, and their UCI and Yale colleagues engineered neurons in the forebrains of mice to limit production of an endocannabinoid compound called 2-AG, something that all mammal brains contain, in an area believed to control energy dissipation. The mice ate more (from a high-fat diet!) and moved less than normal mice without gaining weight.
Give me a dozen! No, not the mice.
The researchers further found those mice did not develop high blood pressure or health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or others associated with obesity.
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"We discovered that these mice were resistant to obesity because they burned fat calories much more efficiently than normal mice do," says Piomelli in a UC Irvine release. "We had known that endocannabinoids play a critical role in cell energy regulation, but this is the first time we found a target where this occurs."
On the possibility of this leading to a proven weight-loss drug, Piomelli says, "To produce the desired effects, we would need to create a drug that blocks 2-AG production in the brain, something we're not yet able to do. So don't cancel that gym membership just yet. But as you hit the treadmill, think about the added health benefits if you could train your brain to make fewer endocannabinoids."
The findings appear in the March issue of Cell Metabolism.