A new drug to treat obesity will be available in five years. A combination of extracts taken from cannabis and vitamin A shows promise as a weight loss pill, said researchers.
"The results of our study show, for the first time, that particular compounds in cannabis and vitamin A can work together to reduce the deposit of lipids (fats). This opens up exciting opportunities to potentially treat obesity without invasive surgery," said Dr Yann Gibert, head of Metabolic Genetic Diseases Research Laboratory, Deakin University, Australia.
Cannabis has an active compound called Endocannabinoid system that plays a role in appetite regulation and fat formation.
Vitamin A has an active compound called Retinoic Acid Pathway that reduces the deposit of fat.
To test the effect of the Endocannabinoid system and Retinoic Acid Pathway, researchers used zebrafish and human cells.
"The complementary actions of the Endocannabinoid system and Retinoic Acid Pathway in reducing fat deposits have the potential to treat obesity in a safer and more effective way than if they were used independently," said Gibert.
"This approach only focuses on fat, and avoids effects on brain, which has been a concern in previous research involving cannabis," he added.