The effects of worms consuming cannabis were researched in a experiment showing that that they got the munchies and craved junk food.
In a recent study published in the journal, Current Biology, researchers a part of the experiment, were able to mimic the sensation of getting stoned by soaking worms in cannabinoid (1). The worms revealed similar tendencies humans experience such as, getting the munchies and craving their favorite snacks. Although the worms displayed a liking to higher-calorie food, it is not known if the worms got “high”.
Study results proposed that cannabis may interfere with a mechanism that helps regulate appetite.
The human body contains cannabinoid receptors which are a part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). These receptors help process the cannabinoids binding to proteins. Each cannabinoid produces a different quality. For example, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can elicit feelings of contentment and relaxation. The ECS plays various roles in the body such as, metabolism, anxiety, eating, learning and memory, and reproduction.
One of the authors, Shawn Lockery who is a professor of biology and neuroscience at the University of Oregon (Eugene, Oregon), mentioned how, ““Cannabinoid signaling is present in the majority of tissues in our body. It therefore could be involved in the cause and treatment of a wide range of diseases,” (1).
Regarding this study, researchers soaked the worms in an endocannabinoid called anandamide.
Scientists believe that worms are attracted to high-calorie food. When the test subjects were submerged in anandamide, the worms junk food preferences were strengthened and actively sought out the food, enjoying their favorite delicacies for a longer period of time than usual.
Lockery added (1), “We suggest that this increase in existing preference is analogous to eating more of the foods you would crave anyway. It’s like choosing pizza versus oatmeal.”
Researchers from the experiment believe that the worms may be able to be used in testing and screening drugs for human use.
Lockery said, “The fact that the human cannabinoid receptor gene is functional in C. elegans food-choice experiments sets the stage for rapid and inexpensive screening for drugs that target a wide variety of proteins involved in cannabinoid signaling and metabolism, with profound implications for human health,” (1).