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Worms can also get soft foods from cannabis, study shows

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It is a well-known fact that cannabis use often leads to “snacking,” leading consumers to eat and crave more delicious, high-calorie foods. Now, a new study published in the journal Current Biology It was found that hemp can also give worms food – specifically, nematodes (C. elegans).

Study co-author Sean Lockery said New release. Thus, the effects of cannabis on nematodes parallels the effects of marijuana on human appetite.

Nematodes diverged from the lineage leading to mammals more than 500 million years ago, Luchry added, calling it “really remarkable” that the effects of cannabis on appetite have been preserved over this amount of evolutionary time.

The study was originally inspired by Oregon’s legalization of cannabis in 2015. Lockrey said their lab was examining nematode food preferences, in connection with research on the neural basis of economic decision-making, when they decided to investigate whether cannabis would alter their preferences.

Noting that the nematode looks more like humans on a molecular level than many other species, the researchers wondered if the cannabis-feeding effects would last across species.

The researchers explained that cannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptor proteins in the brain, nervous system, and other parts of the body. These receptors respond to endocannabinoids, which are molecules already present in the body. the endocannabinoid system It is known to play an important role in a number of bodily functions, such as eating, learning, memory, reproduction, and more.

The researchers showed that worms exposed to anandamide, an endocannabinoid, ate more of their preferred food, with effects dependent on the presence of cannabinoid receptors in the worms.

In other studies, researchers genetically replaced nematode cannabinoid receptors with human cannabinoid receptors, and found that the animals responded normally to the cannabinoids. This finding confirmed the commonalities of cannabinoids’ effects in nematodes and humans, the researchers said, adding that anandamide’s effects depend on neurons that play a role in food detection.

“In mammals, administration of THC or endocannabinoids feeds pleasure,” the study concluded, noting that anandamide was specifically shown to alter food consumption and “differentially alter appetitive behavior.”

Lucre explained that the sensitivity of one of the main olfactory neurons that detect food in nematodes is “significantly altered” by cannabis. Once exposed to cannabis, he explained, the worm becomes more sensitive to preferred food smells and less sensitive to non-preferred smells.

“This effect helps explain changes in the worm’s food consumption, and it reminds us of how THC makes tasty food more tastier in humans,” Lucre said.

Of course, it’s fun to know that worms can have a similar experience to a human burrowing into a bag of Cheetos after smoking it bland, but Lockery showed how these findings have meaningful and practical applications.

“The cannabinoid signals are present in the majority of tissues in our bodies,” he said. Therefore, it can play a role in the cause and treatment of a wide range of diseases. The fact that the human cannabinoid receptor gene is functional in C. elegans Food choice trials pave the way for rapid and inexpensive screening of drugs that target a broad range of proteins involved in cannabinoid signaling and metabolism, with profound implications for human health.”

There are still a number of outstanding questions to be explored on this issue, namely how cannabinoids alter the sensitivity of olfactory neurons of nematodes, which do not have cannabinoid receptors. The researchers were also interested in studying how hallucinogenic substances might interact with nematodes in the future.

Grow guide for marijuana beginners.
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