Scientists of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) of the University of California in San Diego, USA, have investigated among others the effects of cannabis on appetite hormones in the course of a placebo-controlled trial with HIV patients, who suffered from pain.
Twenty-eight patients had been included to investigate the effects of smoked cannabis on their pain in the original already published clinical study. Seven of these patients selected for investigating the blood levels of the hormones leptin, ghrelin, peptide YY, and insulin after exposition with cannabis and placebo in a cross-over design.
Cannabis administration, compared to placebo, was associated with significant increases in plasma levels of ghrelin and leptin, and decreases in peptide YY. It however did not significantly influence insulin levels. Authors stated that “cannabis-related changes in these hormones had a magnitude similar to what has been observed with food intake over the course of a day in normal volunteers, suggesting physiological relevance. “They concluded that “these findings are consistent with modulation of appetite hormones mediated through endogenous cannabinoid receptors, independent of glucose metabolism.”
Riggs PK, Vaida F, Rossi SS, Sorkin LS, Gouaux B, Grant I, Ellis RJ. A pilot study of the effects of cannabis on appetite hormones in HIV-infected adult men. Brain Res. 2011 Nov 7. [in press])