Munchies-Inducing Cannabinoid Gives Hope to Cancer Patients
Artelo Biosciences, a biopharmaceutical company, based in San Diego, is working on creating a synthetic cannabinoid to treat terminal illness-induced weight loss and anorexia (cachexia).
Company officials claim that the substance, for now identified as ART27.13, will not only fix appetite loss but can also promote fat-storing metabolism, and in this way, prolong the lives of, mostly, cancer patients.
In the US over 600,000 deaths in 2020 were attributed to cancer and nearly 80% of these experience cachexia. That said, wasting syndrome also affects other terminal illnesses like HIV/AIDS, heart, kidney disease patients, and the heavily burned.
But, what is cachexia?
It is a defensive mechanism of the body, which in order to produce sugars for energy, triggers catabolic reactions that are eating away fat and muscle tissues in those affected.
Artelo Biosciences was authorized to start a clinical study at the end of 2020 in the UK. The clinical trials involving about 200 healthy participants showed significant success. In April, the first dose was given to the patient participating in Phase 1/2 Cancer Appetite Recovery Study (CAReS).
ART27.13, originally developed by AstraZeneca, acts much like Marinol—a cannabis-derived medicine that aids in chemotherapy-induced nausea, vomiting, as well as appetite loss.
More precisely, it interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors all along our digestive tube, in the esophagus, the stomach, and the intestines.
It is not yet known if this molecule can treat nausea and vomiting or even intensify the taste and smell of the food, but the results of five Phase 1 clinical studies are promising.
What’s more, researchers found that this synthetic cannabinoid signals the insulin receptors to produce more of the hormone that causes weight gain.
All in all, this cannabinoid could be the perfect solution for those seeking to treat anorexia and wasting syndrome without the side effects of THC. In other words, the patient will get the munchies without being high.