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Clinical Trial
, 1431, 46-52

A Pilot Study of the Effects of Cannabis on Appetite Hormones in HIV-infected Adult Men

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Clinical Trial

A Pilot Study of the Effects of Cannabis on Appetite Hormones in HIV-infected Adult Men

Patricia K Riggs et al. Brain Res.

Abstract

Rationale: The endocannabinoid system is under active investigation as a pharmacological target for obesity management due to its role in appetite regulation and metabolism. Exogenous cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) stimulate appetite and food intake. However, there are no controlled observations directly linking THC to changes of most of the appetite hormones.

Objectives: We took the opportunity afforded by a placebo-controlled trial of smoked medicinal cannabis for HIV-associated neuropathic pain to evaluate the effects of THC on the appetite hormones ghrelin, leptin and PYY, as well as on insulin.

Methods: In this double-blind cross-over study, each subject was exposed to both active cannabis (THC) and placebo.

Results: Compared to placebo, cannabis administration was associated with significant increases in plasma levels of ghrelin and leptin, and decreases in PYY, but did not significantly influence insulin levels.

Conclusion: These findings are consistent with modulation of appetite hormones mediated through endogenous cannabinoid receptors, independent of glucose metabolism.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Unadjusted delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels before and after administration of cannabis (solid lines) or placebo (dotted lines). Each line represents the change in an individual subject’s THC level from the morning (before treatment) and afternoon (after treatment).
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Unadjusted plasma hormone levels before (morning, post-breakfast, pretreatment) and after (afternoon, between meals, post-treatment) administration of cannabis (solid lines) or placebo (dotted lines). Each line represents an individual subject’s data during one treatment week.
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
THC dose–response plots for ghrelin, leptin, PYY and insulin. For each hormone, plasma THC levels are plotted against log transformed PM/AM ratios of the hormone level.

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