One of the classic effects of cannabis on people is raging hunger-the “marijuana munchies.” The drug has been used to good effect on people with diseases that diminish appetite, helping them to regain a healthy interest in food. So it is a bit ironic that British drug maker GW Pharmaceuticals has created a cross-bred cannabis plant whose appetite-suppressing qualities could be used to treat type 2 diabetes.
The new strain contains an appetite-suppressing compound called THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin), a cannabinoid* found in cannabis sativa-marijuana. The company sees a drug that uses THCV as potentially useful in helping type 2s and obese people control their appetites-a key to good blood sugar control.
In 2010, GW introduced a cannabis-based drug to treat the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Already, the company has found 60 cannabinoids in the cannabis sativa plant. A company spokesman says that only 12 to 15 of them have been explored in any depth.
*Cannabinoids are the active ingredients in cannabis sativa that create the plant’s physical and mental effects when it is ingested or smoked.