The Courier-Mail

Fat-bust­ing sci­en­tists are hooked on cannabis clue

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A PROMIS­ING dis­cov­ery by Aus­tralian sci­en­tists could lead to a fat pill within five years.

Find­ings by Deakin Univer­sity re­searchers show sci­en­tists can shut down two path­ways that are ac­ti­vated by cannabis and vi­ta­min A, re­duc­ing the build-up of fat.

The next step is to test the drugs’ ef­fec­tive­ness in over­weight an­i­mals to see if they can stop weight gain or re­verse it and iden­tify any po­ten­tial side-ef­fects, be­fore it moves into hu­man tri­als.

Lead re­searcher Yann Gib­ert, who is the head of the Meta­bolic Ge­netic Dis­eases Re­search Lab­o­ra­tory in Gee- long, said they also wanted to de­ter­mine if the drug could be used as a pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure or treat­ment for obe­sity.

It is well-known that the ac­tive in­gre­di­ent in mar­i­juana, Tetrahy­dro­cannabi­nol, makes peo­ple who use it hun­gry.

How­ever, it also plays a role in fat for­ma­tion.

Dr Gib­ert said they wanted to see if block­ing the en­do­cannabi­noid sys­tem, the path­way that cannabis ac­ti­vates, and the retinoic acid path­way, which in­volves vi­ta­min A, could re­duce fat for­ma­tion.

“We found that block­ing both path­ways has the po­ten­tial to treat obe­sity,” he said.

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