Journal of the California Cannabis Research Medical
JAMA Acknowledgest The Endocannabinoid
Just as the marketing of Prozac by Eli Lilly familiarized the public
with “clinical depression” and “selective serotonin
reuptake inhibitors” (SSRIs), so the marketing of Rimonabant
as a weight-loss drug by Sanofi Aventis will educate millions about
the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
This was foreseen by Philip Denney, MD, who forwards, as part of the
mounting evidence, a full-spread advertisement placed by Sanofi Aventis
in the Sept. 21, 2005 issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American
Medical Association. Denney and others remain skeptical about the longterm
safety profile of a synthetic “cannabinoid-antagonist” drug
that works by blocking the natural receptor system.
The JAMA ad touts “A NEWLY DISCOVERED PHYSIOLOGICAL SYSTEM...
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS).” It succinctly explains the
role the ECS appears to play in “metabolic syndrome,” the
condition for which Sanofi Aventis hopes to get FDA approval to
market Rimonabant. Footnotes direct interested physicians to papers
The significance of this carefully documented ad in such a prestigious
journal is huge. It seems like only yesterday that the Drug Czar
was ridiculing Tod Mikuriya as a practitioner of “Cheech and Chong
medicine.” Now, plainly stated in JAMA by the world’s
third-largest pharmaceutical company, is the biological basis for
how marijuana affects
so many systems within the body.
The text is faint and blurry. The left-hand page depicts an endocannabinoid
floating like a stylized shark over a cell membrane from which
cannabinoid receptors protrude like plugs in a distributor cap.
text asserts, “CB1-receptor activation triggers a cascade
of intracellular events that impact cardiometabolic risk.”
Metabolic syndrome is defined on the right-hand page as a cluster
of risk factors: decreased “good” cholesterol; elevated blood
pressure, trigycerides and glucose levels; and a widening waistline.
Adipose tissue is defined as “a metabolically active endocrine
organ —more than just a storage facility for fat, it has
The endocannabinoid system “impacts metabolic functions” and “consists
of signaling molecules and their receptors, including the cannabinoid
receptors (CB1 and CB2). The CB1 receptors “may impact lipid
levels and insulin sensitivity.” They are “located
centrally in the brain and peripherally in liver, muscle and adipose
ECS overactivity in adipose tissue is associated with decreases
in the hormone adiponectiun, which may be linked to dylipidemia,
resistance, and intra-abdominal adiposity.”
Additionally, CB1 receptors are “at the center of a cascade of
events with potential impact on cardiometabolic risk.” And they “May
assist in regulating physiologic processes, e.g., lipid and glucose