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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