Researchers from the University of Connecticut Health School have found the chemical compound capsaicin, which can be found in chili peppers, produces a chemical compound called anandamide that is comparable to the compounds found in marijuana. These compounds have proven effective in reducing stomach inflammation. In the study, researchers gave capsaicin to mice with type 1 diabetes and found that it targets and binds to a receptor in the gastrointestinal tracts called TRPV1. This resulted in the creation of anandamide and the stimulation of anti-inflammatory white blood cells, which in turn calmed the gut inflammation. Because anandamide is chemically similar to cannabis compounds that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, researchers believe edible marijuana could have similar effects and reduce gut inflammation.
Co-author of the study Pramod Srivastava suggests their findings have implications for treating type 1 diabetes and colitis, and this discovery regarding anandamide points to the interplay that occurs among the immune system, stomach, and brain. Srivastava hopes to further study cannabis' effects on gut inflammation in the future. He says, “I’m hoping to work with the public health authority in Colorado to see if there has been an effect on the severity of colitis among regular users of edible weed... If the epidemiological data shows a significant change [since marijuana legalization in 2012], that would make a testable case that anandamide or other cannabinoids could be used as therapeutic drugs to treat certain disorders of the stomach, pancreas, intestines and colon.”
This information has been provided by High Times Magazine and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.