Via Yahoo News:
Human trials of an experimental treatment for obesity derived from cannabis, which is commonly associated with stimulating hunger, are scheduled to begin in the second half of this year, Britain’s GW Pharmaceuticals Plc announced Tuesday.
Several other companies, such as Sanofi-Aventis, which is investigating Acomplia, are working on new drugs that will switch off the brain circuits that make people hungry when they smoke cannabis.
GW Pharma, however, says it has derived a treatment from cannabis that could help suppress hunger. “The cannabis plant has 70 different cannabinoids in it and each has a different affect on the body,” GW Managing Director Justin Gover told Reuters in a telephone interview.
“Some can stimulate your appetite, and some in the same plant can suppress your appetite. It is amazing both scientifically and commercially,” he said.
Drugs have to pass three stages of tests in humans before being eligible for approval by regulators in a process that takes many years.
Sanofi-Aventis’ Acomplia, which it believes can achieve $3 billion in annual sales, is already on sale in Europe and it is waiting for a U.S. regulatory decision in April.
Shortly after [Acomplia’s] market introduction, press reports and independent studies suggest that side effects occur stronger and more commonly than shown by the manufacturer in his clinical studies. Reports of severe depression are frequent. This is deemed to result from the drug being active in the central nervous system, an area of human physiology so complex that drug effects are highly difficult to determine reliably.