By blocking cannabis receptors, scientists can give you the anti-munchies

The link between cannabis and hunger is pretty well established — but could we reverse that link, and turn it into a way to help lose weight?

Researchers think they've found a way to take how our body reacts to cannabis and hunger, and spin it into a way of controlling weight, according to research published in Cell Metabolism.

Top image: xJason Rogersx/Flickr.

The whole idea traces back to leptin, your body's natural appetite suppressant. People with obesity tend to be resistant to the stuff, so they feel constantly hungry — and just pumping more leptin into their systems unfortunately does little to curb their appetites. What's interesting is that the cannabinoid receptors throughout our body are part of this system, and it's thought their activation may tie to leptin resistance. Previous attempts at blocking cannabinoid receptors have led to drugs like rimonabant, which was pulled from the European market for serious psychiatric side effects.

But now, researchers appear to have succeeded in crafting a drug which manages to block these receptors in a way that is still effective, but doesn't penetrate the brain. This research still only involves mice, but the compound, JD5037, has dramatically improved the health of mice, without evidence of behavioral side effects.

Question to all the biologists in the audience — if the cannabinoid receptors in our body, but not our brain, are blocked, would you still feel the psychoactive effects of marijuana use? Or would this medication have the side effect of rendering you unable to get high?