Cannabinoids as Weight Loss Drugs Part II

The association between cannabis and appetite is well known both in the scientific world and pop culture. As many of our longtime blog readers already know, this association ultimately led to the development of one of the most horrific weight loss drugs of the past century, known as Rimonabant. Researchers at the Sanofi-Aventis pharmaceutical company, noticing the role of THC (and more generally, activation of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor) in increasing appetite, guessed correctly that the reverse would also be true – that deactivating the CB1 receptor would decrease appetite and therefore allow weight loss. Of course, that was before scientists understood how essential the endocannabinoid system is to our healthy functioning; as numerous reports came flooding in of increased suicide rates and depression in individuals with no previous history of mental illness, the drug was quickly pulled from the market. Needless to say, plans for all similar CB1 blockers (CB1 antagonists) were nixed at competing pharmaceutical companies, and researchers have since been hesitant to touch cannabinoids as weight loss drugs, for good reason. However, as we’ve expressed in previous articles, the endocannabinoid system is not a simple system compromised of only two light switches (in this case, two receptors that can merely be turned off or on). In fact, the endocannabinoid system can be activated through non-standard receptor binding sites, and endocannabinoids themselves can also activate other chemical pathways throughout the body. Unfortunately, due to a lack of research, many of the specific effects of manipulating the endocannabinoid system…

1:1, Conversations with Leading Cannabinoid Researchers

Today we’re introducing a new feature of the Cornerstone blog – "1:1" featuring interviews from top scientists and engineers on the leading edge of cannabinoid and endocannabinoid research. This feature is intended to allow readers to hear directly from the sources of information that we pull our blog posts from. We believe that doing so will not only help you have a better sense of how research is conducted, but even more importantly, will remove as much bias as possible from our end and leave you with the cold, hard facts. After visiting the 2015 International Cannabinoid Research Society Conference, we were impressed with the number of hard-working individuals exploring innovative uses of the endocannabinoid system. One of these individuals was Harriet de Wit, from the University of Chicago, who, along with research teammates Joseph Lutz and Emma Childs, prepared a review for the conference entitled “Does Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Dampen Responses to Social Stress?”. Harriet holds a doctoral degree in Experimental Psychology and has an extensive background in behavioral science. As a powerhouse of research, she has directed and contributed to studies ranging from the effects of illicit drugs to the connection between exercise and sweet consumption on human behavior and perception. De Wit’s THC research represents one interest out of many others surrounding the complexity of human drug use. Cornerstone (CRC): As a researcher coming from the psych end of the spectrum, you have an advantage in understanding the human condition better than researchers with purely biomolecular backgrounds.…