Washington: Shortage of a substance in the brain may contribute to anorexia nervosa and bulimia, a new study has suggested.Endocannabinoids are substances made by the brain that affect brain function and chemistry in ways that resemble the effects of cannabis derivatives, including marijuana and hashish.These commonly abused drugs are well known to increase appetite, i.e. to cause the “munchies”.Thus, it makes sense that deficits in this brain system would be associated with reduced appetite.Researchers measured the status of the endocannabinoid system indirectly by determining whether there was an increase or decrease in the density of endocannabinoid receptors, called the CB1 receptor, in several brain regions using positron emission tomography, or PET, imaging.They compared these densities in women with anorexia or bulimia with those of healthy women.They found global increases in ligand binding to CB1 receptors in the brains of women with anorexia nervosa.
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