Tag Archives: obesity

“a puff is enough”


Gary L. Wenk Ph.D.

Gary L. Wenk Ph.D. Your Brain on Food

Marijuana or Obesity: Which Is Worse?

For the majority of people who read this blog, the answer will be obesity.

Posted Jan 04, 2017

Overall, the complete answer to this question depends upon knowing whether you inherited genes that predispose you to drug addiction or food addiction. Recent research has found evidence that these two addictions are closely related to each other. What differs, and what truly matters to most people, is the consequence to smoking too much marijuana or consuming too much food. Which is worse for your body and brain? For the majority of people the answer will be obesity, not marijuana. This is why.

Obesity:

During the past three decades an obesity epidemic has been responsible for a 77% increase in death rates. The accumulation of excess body fat has been clearly shown to accelerate the progression of many age-associated diseases such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes and dementia. Why? A few years ago it became clear that fat cells produce inflammation by releasing specialized proteins called cytokines. The more fat cells you have the more cytokines get released into your blood. Essentially, obesity is associated with chronic, low-grade, body-wide inflammation, insulin resistance and many of the same metabolic conditions that underlie the aging process itself. The cytokines are capable of inducing shrinkage of brain regions (primarily gray matter- where the neurons live) that are used in the process of learning new things and recalling memories

One recent study examined the relationships between academic performance, cognitive functioning, and BMI among 2,519 young people.  BMI was inversely correlated with general mental ability even after controlling for demographics, lifestyle factors, and lipid profiles. Overall, obesity is implicated in lower performance on cognitive control tasks. The longer the inflammation is present, the more brain shrinkage occurs. Elderly obese people have more impaired learning and memory abilities than elderly thin people. Being obese at mid-life is also a strong predictor of dementia in later life. 

Today, an overwhelming body of evidence across a wide spectrum of medical disciplines strongly argues that obesity accelerates the aging process, impairs overall cognitive function and, ultimately, is responsible for numerous processes that kill you.

Marijuana:

Studies suggest that adults (this argument does not apply to young people) who use low to moderate daily amounts of marijuana show no personality disturbances. During the past few years some sensational studies have been widely featured in the national press; one suggested that daily marijuana use might decreased IQ (Meier et al., PNAS, 2012), the other suggested that daily recreational use caused shrinkage of brain areas that are critical for learning, memory and emotional control (Gilman et al., 2014, J Neurosci). The report by Meier et al. was immediately challenged (Rogeberg, 2013, PNAS) for failing to take into account the confounding effect of socioeconomic status, a factor which has been shown to a significantly impact on IQ score. The results of the second study have now been confronted by a more recent publication (Weiland et al., 2015, J Neurosci) that clearly demonstrated that daily use of marijuana produced no significant changes in the size or shape of brain regions involved in the control of emotion or learning and memory. 

Just last month another bit of nonsense derived from poor research methods was published and then debunked (see, https://www.leafly.com/news/health/does-marijuana-cause-alzheimers). Marijuana does not shrink the brain or predispose people to Alzheimer’s disease. Research in my laboratory (copies of publications can be obtained here: http://faculty.psy.ohio-state.edu/wenk/) has demonstrated that stimulating the brain’s marijuana receptors offer protection by reducing brain inflammation. Thus, later in life, marijuana might actually help your brain, rather than harm it. It takes very little marijuana to produce benefits in the older brain. My lab coined the motto “a puff is enough” because it appears as though only a single puff each day is necessary to produce significant benefit.

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I often am asked by my students whether smoking marijuana makes it more likely that to develop schizophrenia. Forty years of research has led to the following answer: if you are not genetically vulnerable to schizophrenia then marijuana use will not induce it. It appears as though stimulating endogenous marijuana receptors may be able to unmask underlying symptoms of schizophrenia as well as other mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder, if you inherited the appropriate genes from your parents.

Marijuana or Obesity?

Given recent evidence, obese people and marijuana smokers face a challenging dilemma: do they feel genetically lucky? Each person will have a different answer to the question of “which is worse.”  The answer will be determined by the genetic cards you were dealt by your parents. 

© Gary L. Wenk, Ph.D. Author of “Your Brain on Food,” 2nd Edition, 2015 (Oxford University Press)

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Note from a friend: Medical Marijuana and diabetes with obesity


 
leaf
Roland A. Duby
I have a patient/friend who was 430 pounds, ate up with diabetes, and had to have oxygen all day, He got around on a little home scooter
for old people, but he ain’t old, just 58. He also had sleep apnea and heart problems along with low blood oxygen. I was visiting him after
not seeing him for a few years and that is the condition I found him in. He used to be 300 lbs and in a band and very active. He told me that
his doctor gave him 6 months to live. I told him about hemp oil and the experiences I have had and the miracles I have seen. He told
me he was hoping I had a joint but we would have to sneak downstairs to smoke so his wife would not know. I told him fuck that, I have some
oil and you can eat it, but we should show this Rick Simpson movie to your wife. He ate some oil and then hollered for his wife. she watched
it and said go for it. I gave him a ten gram tube and hugged everyone goodbye.

I got a call a month later and he told me that the stuff was a miracle, and his diabetes was gone. His blood oxygen is up to 75% and he can
walk to the corner store and back.

I got another call 3 months later and he told me he has lost over 100 pounds and is mowing his own lawn, and people see him walking around
in the grocery store and can’t believe their eyes. He said his preacher saw him and told him praise the lord cause they had prayed for him,
and he told his preacher to thank the ones who prayed for marijuana because that is what saved his life! The preacher said “what?’ and he
told the preacher that he eats one drop of marijuana oil a day and it cured all of his problems! The preacher said “Do you mean hash oil?”
and that is when he smoked his first joint with his preacher!

Marijuana for obesity?


 

Have you always dreamt of eating anything you wanted but still losing weight? According to the scientific journal Cell Metabolism, there may soon be a pill that will allow you to stuff your face with all the cake or bacon you can get your hards on without gaining a pound. The Week Magazine reported on Cell Metabolism’s discovery:

"…certain brain chemicals with characteristics similar to marijuana might play a key factor in helping you shed pounds without any exercise…It’s an endocannabinoid compound called 2-AG. Endocannabinoids, as the name might suggest, share a similar molecular structure to the active ingredients in cannabis. Typically, high levels of 2-AG are found in the brains of mammals, and previous studies suggested that these compounds may make the body crave fat. Scientists think endocannabinoids play a key role in regulating the body’s metabolism, or the energy it makes from food."

Researchers tested the theory on mice by altering the brain cells in mice to have low levels of 2-AG. The altered mice did not gain weight despite a a high-fat diet.

It’s expected to take close to a decade until the pill, which will lower the levels of 2-AG in humans, is made and the FDA approves it, but if this actually works, we can all really spend the rest of our lives sitting on our couches just like we always wanted. Here’s to hoping. It sounds glorious.

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Filed under: Cell Magazine, Diets, marijuana diet pill, The Week Magazine

To contact the author of this post, email guestofaguest@gmail.com

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