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Scientists at Artelo Biosciences in California are developing a synthetic cannabis molecule, or cannabinoid, that gets a user hungry, but not high.
Artelo CEO Greg Gorgas says the cannabinoid, called ART27.13, could increase cancer patients’ lives and pave the way for future HIV wasting syndrome treatments. It’s currently being studied in the UK.
An increasing number of states have legalized cannabis for medicinal use, including for a condition called cachexia, a cancer-related wasting syndrome that causes patients to lose their appetites and become malnourished.
For cachexia patients who seek relief without the intoxicating effects of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, ART27.13 could soon be their solution.
Delivering hunger without the high
People with wasting syndrome related to terminal illness lose their appetites. Their bodies also have trouble storing fat, which leads to rapid muscle and fat loss.
According to Gorgas, ART27.13 is designed to fix both of these diet deficiencies because it targets endocannabinoid receptors in the stomach, intestines, and esophageal tract.
Endocannabinoid receptors are part of the body’s expansive endocannabinoid system. When a person consumes cannabis, various molecules like THC and CBD enter the body and interact with receptors throughout to create certain effects. For example, when THC interacts with the brain’s endocannabinoid system, it results in a high that may leave you feeling calm, fuzzy in the brain, or giddy.
When THC interacts with the digestive system’s endocannabinoid receptors, it elicits a hunger response that tells the brain it’s time to eat.
Published: July 14, 2021
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News