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J Cannabis Ther 2002(3/4):049-60

Cannabinoids and Feeding

Cannabinoids and Feeding: The Role of the Endogenous Cannabinoid System as a Trigger for Newborn Suckling

Author
E. Fride

Abstract
Cannabinoids are known to enhance appetite by activating cannabinoid (CB1) receptors. This phenomenon is exploited to combat cachexia and loss of appetite in cancer and AIDS patients. The endocannabinoid 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG) is present in milk. Evidence is presented supporting a critical role for CB1 receptors in survival of mouse pups. Thus neonates do not gain weight and die within the first week of life when their receptors are blocked. This is due apparently, to an inability to ingest maternal milk. This suggests that the endocannabinoid-CB1 receptor system is unique in its absolute control over the initiation of the neonatal milk suckling response. It is further proposed that cannabis-based medicines should be developed to benefit infant failure to thrive.


Keywords
Cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, feeding, appetite, nursing, suckling, neonatal

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