It’s a well-known fact that cannabis use often leaves consumers in a “hungry” state, leading consumers to eat more and crave delicious, high-calorie foods.New research now published in the journal biology today have found that cannabinoids are found in worms, especially nematodes (Nematode).
“Cannabinoids make the worms hungrier for foods they like and less hungry for foods they dislike,” said study co-author Sean Lockery. news release“Thus, the effects of cannabinoids in nematodes are comparable to those of marijuana on appetite in humans.”
Lockery adds that nematodes diverged from the lineage that led to mammals more than 500 million years ago, and it’s “truly remarkable” that cannabinoids’ effects on appetite have been conserved throughout this evolutionary time. increase.
The study was originally inspired by the 2015 legalization of cannabis in Oregon. Lockery’s lab was looking at food preferences in nematodes in connection with research on the neural basis of economic decision-making, he said, when he decided to investigate whether cannabinoids alter their preferences. .
C. elegans are also more similar to humans at the molecular level than many other species, researchers note, raising questions about whether cannabinoid feeding effects persist across species.
Researchers explain that cannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptor proteins in the brain, nervous system, and other parts of the body. These receptors respond to endocannabinoids, molecules already in the body. The endocannabinoid system is known to play an important role in many bodily functions, including eating, learning, memory, and reproduction.
Researchers have demonstrated that worms exposed to the endocannabinoid anandamide eat more of their favorite foods, an effect that depends on the presence of cannabinoid receptors in the worms.
In further studies, the researchers genetically replaced the nematode cannabinoid receptors with human cannabinoid receptors and found that animals responded normally to cannabinoids. He emphasized the commonality of cannabinoid effects in food and added that the effects of anandamide depend on the neurons that play a role in food detection.
The study concluded that “in mammals, administration of THC or endocannabinoids induces hedonic eating,” and specifically that anandamide altered food consumption and “differentially altered appetite behavior.” I am quoting what is shown.
Rockery elaborated that cannabinoids “drastically alter” the sensitivity of one of the main food-sensing olfactory neurons in C. elegans. He explained that when exposed to cannabinoids, worms become more sensitive to food odors they like and less sensitive to odors they dislike.
“This effect helps explain changes in food consumption in worms and is reminiscent of how THC makes delicious human food even tastier,” said Lockery.
Of course, it’s simply fun to know that an earthworm can have a similar experience to humans devouring a bag of Cheetos after sucking on a blunt object, but Lockery believes these findings are meaningful and practical. I explained how it can be useful for various applications.
“Cannabinoid signaling is present in most tissues in our body,” he said. The fact that somatic genes are functioning Nematode Food-choice experiments set the stage for rapid and inexpensive screening of drugs that target a wide variety of proteins involved in cannabinoid signaling and metabolism, with significant impact on human health. ”
There are still many open issues on this issue. That is, how cannabinoids alter the sensitivity of olfactory sensory neurons in C. elegans that lack cannabinoid receptors. Researchers were also interested in studying how hallucinogens might interact with nematodes in the future.