Cannabis e obesità

Cannabis and obesity: a possible solution

In this article we will tell you about the relationship between obesity and cannabis: are there similarities? According to some scientific studies, the use of cannabis could provide some benefits to people who suffer from this nagging problem. Specifically we will talk to you about:

  1. Obesity is a widespread problem
  2. Obesity and cannabis: studies
  3. What is the relationship between CBD and metabolism

Cannabis light

Obesity is a widespread problem

Obesity is one of the evils of the new millennium. It is considered an endemic disease. Since it affects a geographically limited portion of the world population : it is a typical, although not exclusive, prerogative of Western countries , where approximately 1/3 of the inhabitants are overweight.

According to ISTAT, in 1999 overweight Italians were approximately 33.6% of the population, while 9.1% were obese. Since then, the spread of obesity has not seen a moment's pause , reaching a rate of 10%. The number of overweight Italians has also grown, rising from 33.6% in 1999 to the current 34.2%. Unfortunately, the most affected group is childhood and Italy, together with Greece and Spain, holds the record as the country with the most overweight children in Europe. In fact, over a third of Italian children , aged between six and nine, are overweight or obese (34.1%).

Obesity is characterized by excessive accumulation of body fat , a condition that causes serious damage to health. It is caused in most cases by incorrect lifestyles : incorrect, high-calorie diet and reduced energy expenditure due to poor physical activity. Obesity is therefore a condition that can be prevented and certainly treated with a healthy lifestyle and lots of physical activity .

Unfortunately, those who suffer from this disorder are more exposed to other diseases : 44% of cases of type 2 diabetes, 23% of cases of ischemic heart disease and up to 41% of some tumors are attributable to obesity or being overweight. In total, overweight and obesity represent the fifth most important risk factor for global mortality and deaths attributable to obesity are at least 2.8 million/year worldwide.

Obesity and cannabis: studies

Science is using a lot of resources to study the effects of cannabinoids on the human organism . In recent years, much research has focused on the relationship between cannabinoids and metabolism , demonstrating a lower incidence of obesity and diabetes among cannabis users. This data is very important, especially for the pharmaceutical industry, which could finally initiate or enhance the development of cannabinoid drugs to treat metabolic pathologies.

Between 2010 and 2016, two scientific studies were published that identified many relationships between cannabis and human metabolism. Professor Murray Mittleman , of the cardiovascular epidemiological research unit of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston , analyzed the data of approximately 5 thousand patients between the ages of 20 and 59, obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The researchers led by Mittelman cross-referenced the data collected between 2005 and 2010 to analyze the relationships between cannabis intake and insulin, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass and abdominal circumference values.

Cannabis light

The research was published in the American Journal of Medicine and by several international newspapers for its direct clinical implications . The sample who regularly used cannabis had an insulin level 16% lower than those who did not take it and higher levels of good cholesterol. Similar results, with less evidence, were found among patients who had used cannabis but had stopped using it before the research.

All indicators of metabolic or vascular pathologies considered in the research were lower in current or former cannabis users. In this group there was also a lower prevalence of patients suffering from diabetes mellitus. Researchers are therefore convinced that there is a direct relationship between cannabis use and reduced risks of obesity and diabetes . The result of the study is in apparent contradiction with the documented greater consumption of calories by cannabis users.

It is only an apparent contradiction: cannabinoids, in fact, act on CB1 receptors by increasing appetite in patients with anorexia or other pathologies that affect the hunger impulse, but at the same time they exert an energy balancing action in metabolic processes, such as assimilation of carbohydrates.

There is another study, carried out by a team of Korean researchers, published in 2016 in the scientific journal " Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry ". After carefully monitoring the effects of CBD on immature fat cells, called preadipocytes, Asian researchers discovered that CBD can influence the so-called “browning of fat” . And it can do it in three different ways. The study states that CBD stimulates proteins and genes that play a role in increasing the breakdown of fats , but above all that it is capable of increasing the number and activity of mitochondria , increasing the body's power to burn calories. They also found that CBD reduced the expression of proteins involved in the creation of new fat cells within the body.

There are two types of fat: “white fat”, which is the bad fat and can increase the risk of diabetes and heart problems, and “brown fat”, which has the potential to promote weight loss. According to Korean researchers , CBD has the ability to induce "browning of fat", or in other words, to transform white fat into brown fat with the consequent possibility of inducing the body to burn calories.

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What is the relationship between CBD and metabolism?

Every human organism is equipped with an endocannabinoid system , whose receptors are also activated when they come into contact with the phytocannabinoids of cannabis, which have a molecular structure very similar to that of the endocannabinoids produced by the human body .

The endocannabinoid system is composed of two receptors, called CB1 and CB2, distributed in different areas of the human body, such as the brain, immune system and digestive system. The ECS is activated when it comes into contact with cannabinoids and generates profound changes within our organism. The system is activated both when it combines with phytocannabinoids - present within the cannabis plant - and when it comes into contact with endocannabinoids - enzymes produced naturally by our body, completely similar in effects and structure to those contained in the cannabis plant. marijuana.

When the CB1 receptor is activated, hormones that stimulate the feeling of hunger are released in the body, generating the so-called "munchies" . According to a study conducted in 2008, the ECS is also able to stimulate other areas of the body involved in metabolism, including skeletal muscles, the gastrointestinal tract and the endocrine pancreas, to name just a few.

Naturally, the ECS performs the same action via two endogenous cannabinoids, anandamide and 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) , which bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Cannabis light

CBD has the potential to help metabolize compounds that are absorbed from food during the digestive process, through stimulation of the two receptors. On the other hand, it is better not to stimulate the ECS excessively, as the opposite effects could be produced. For example, overstimulation can lead not only to abdominal obesity, but also to insulin resistance , and even to an increase in energy stored in fat cells.

According to the Endocannabinoid Research Group, the CB1 receptor, if overstimulated, can increase the possibility of developing metabolic syndrome , a pathology associated with conditions such as high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, excess body fat and others . However, researchers noted that CBD, which is a CB1 antagonist, may have the ability to treat this pathology and others of the same type.

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