The administration of small amounts of THC prevents weight gain in mice fed a high fat diet. The findings, reported by a team of Canadian investigators, appear online in the peer-reviewed journal, PLOS ONE.
Researchers at the University of Calgary in Alberta and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto assessed the impact of daily THC intake in diet-induced obese mice.
“Chronic THC treatment … prevented high fat diet-induced increases in body weight,” they reported.
Researchers added that “the effect on body weight was due mainly to an inhibition of increased fat mass” and speculated that “these actions may be mediated in part by modifications of the gut microbiota.”
“[F]uture investigation of its pharmacological mechanism of action is warranted,” investigators concluded.
While at first glance, the notion that THC administration is associated with lower body mass may appear counter-intuitive, the finding is consistent with the conclusions of numerous population-based observational studies. For example, a 2011 review of over 50,000 U.S. citizens aged 18 or older concluded, “[T]he prevalence of obesity is lower in cannabis users than in nonusers.”
Last year, Canadian researchers assessing the health of over 750 Inuit adults found that subjects who reported a history of cannabis use possessed a lower body mass index than those who abstained from pot.
Most recently, Investigators from the University of Miami analyzed the association between cannabis use and metabolic syndrome in a cohort of nearly 8,500 subjects aged 20 to 59 who participated in the 2005-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Writing in the latest issue of the the American Journal of Medicine, they concluded, that those who consume cannabis are 50 percent less likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome as compared to those who do not. (Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels and abdominal fat, which are linked to increased risk of heart disease and adult onset diabetes, among other serious health consequences.)
Full text of the study, “Prevention of Diet-Induced Obesity Effects on Body Weight and Gut Microbiota in Mice Treated Chronically with Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol,” appears online in PLOS ONE HERE.
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