At last, marijuana munchies explained?

Sure, you hear that marijuana gives people food cravings.

It seems true in rodents – pot reverses nerve cells that otherwise prompt them not to eat.

So says a new Yale University study cited this week in a Science News article based on a Feb. 18 report in the science journal Nature.

From the Science News article:

“It’s like you’re driving your car downhill and you push your brakes, and all of the sudden the brake becomes the accelerator,” says coauthor Tamas Horvath, Yale neurobiologist.

Mice tell the tale.

When they are given a chemical that mimics the effects of pot, molecules of the brain that are involved in controlling appetite, feeling pain and other processes are affected.

Researchers saw that nerve cells that normally suppress appetite encouraged the mice to eat more when cannabinoid receptors were activated.

“The drug prompts nerve cells to make endorphins that serve as messengers to fuel hunger. The cells then unleash those endorphins instead of other compounds that signal fullness.”

This could lead to treatments for people whose appetites may need a boost, such as those who are ill or on some medications, the article says.

But be warned. Dives into potato chips, ice cream, cookies or whatever is on hand sound bad for people on diets.

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