Science and your health

Eating fatty foods is like smoking marijuana

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Eating fatty foods stimulate a response similar to that triggered by cannabis or marijuana, hooking you to eating more fatty foods, says a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study showed that when laboratory rats were fed fats, their bodies activated molecules called endocannabinoids, the body’s natural version of canabis. Endocannabinoids, can make an animal want to keep eating. The consumption of cannabis also activates endocannabinoids. People who smoke marijuana often develop a strong desire to binge eat.

The fat-eating rats in the study were prone to overeating. The same effect might happen in humans, because cells and molecules work together in a similar way in rats and people. The new study points to a way to help overweight or obese people lose weight. Medications that act only in the gut, since that’s where endocannabinoids were most active in the study, may be effective to address weight related-problems.

Read the paper: N.V. DiPatrizio et al. 2011. Endocannabinoid signal in the gut controls dietary fat intake. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi/10.1073/pnas.1104675108. Paper available at


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