A study published this month in the journal PLoS One, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health, has found that cannabinoid receptor signalling – which is enhanced through the intake of cannabinoids – may actually protect against some of the negative effects of a high fat diet.
According to the study’s abstract, researchers; “investigated whether sleep-wake and diet-dependent cardiorespiratory control is altered in mice lacking CB1 [cannabinoid] receptors. CB1 receptor knock-out (KO) and intact wild-type (WT) mice were fed standard diet or a HFD [high fat diet] for 3 months, and implanted with a telemetric arterial pressure transducer and electrodes for sleep scoring.”
It continues; “Sleep state was assessed together with arterial pressure and heart rate (home cage), or breathing (whole-body plethysmograph). Increases in arterial pressure and heart rate on passing from the light (rest) to the dark (activity) period in the KO were significantly enhanced compared with the WT. These increases were unaffected by cardiac (β1) or vascular (α1) adrenergic blockade. The breathing rhythm of the KO during sleep was also more irregular than that of the WT. A HFD increased heart rate, impaired cardiac vagal modulation, and blunted the central autonomic cardiac control during sleep. A HFD also decreased cardiac baroreflex sensitivity in the KO but not in the WT.
In conclusion, we performed the first systematic study of cardiovascular function in CB1 receptor deficient mice during spontaneous wake-sleep behavior, and demonstrated that CB1 receptor KO alters cardiorespiratory control particularly in the presence of a HFD.”
With this information, researchers found that; “The CB1 receptor signaling may thus play a role in physiological cardiorespiratory regulation and protect from some adverse cardiovascular consequences of a HFD.”
CB1 receptors are activated and regulated through the intake of cannabinoids; for example, when consuming cannabis. This gives the study important implications in the potential for cannabis to treat some of the negative consequences of a high fat diet. Still, more studies are needed to validate this connection.