Daniel Orth

UC Riverside to Study Cannabis Impact on Metabolic Disorders

UC Riverside researchers have received a $744,000 grant to research the long-term impact of cannabis use on metabolic disorders like Type 2 diabetes.

Full story after the jump.

The University of California, Riverside School of Medicine has received a $744,000 grant to research the impact of long-term cannabis use on metabolic disorders, such as Type 2 diabetes. The grant is from the Tobacco-related Disease Research program administered by the UC Office of the President.

Nicholas V. DiPatrizio, an assistant professor of biomedical sciences, said the study will investigate how cannabis affects the equilibrium of glucose in health and disease. He indicated that there is a lack of research on how chronic cannabis use affects health “and a variety of tobacco-related pathologies such as Type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic diseases.”

“We will investigate in wild-type mice whether cannabis exposure is linked to higher incidence of Type 2 diabetes. We expect the knowledge we will gain in this project will help guide science-based public policy associated with the health impact of short-term and long-term cannabis use.” – DiPatrizio, in a statement

DiPatrizio noted that while short-term cannabis use often leads to an increase in eating, long-term use is, paradoxically, linked to lower body weights along with improvements in some metabolic parameters such as “good cholesterol.”

The study will look at “how important the endocannabinoid system … is for maintaining glucose homeostasis and if cannabis deregulates” the process, he said.

Outlining the project, DiPatrizio said the control group of mice will be fed a normal diet and remain lean while the rest of the group will be put on a Western diet – high in fat and sugar – to turn them obese. The team will then explore whether giving the obese mice THC extracts will make them leaner and improve their metabolism.

“We expect to find the endocannabinoid system in the small intestines of the lean mice controls incretin release and glucose homeostasis,” he explained. “Further, we suspect the endocannabinoid system becomes dysregulated in the obese mice and participates in cannabis-induced changes in metabolic function.”

The three-year grant is the first for UC Riverside for cannabis-related research and requires Schedule I licensing from the Drug Enforcement Agency.

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