Richard G. Petty, MD

Cannabinoid Receptors and Cardiovascular Risk Factors

Clinicians throughout the world are looking forward to being able to use a new medicine for obesity called rimonabant, which will be marketed as Acomplia by Sanofi-Aventis. It was launched in the United Kingdom yesterday, after being given official European Union marketing approval last week. We do not expect to get it in the United States until sometime in 2007, assuming that the FDA gives it approval. The medicine is not cheap, but interestingly there is also some data to suggest that it may help some people stop smoking.

So why the interest? The original idea for the compound was based on the observation that many people become very hungry if they use cannabis and specific cannabinoid receptors were found in the brain that are responsible for many of the actions of the drug.

A recent and important study involving a two-year investigation of 3045 obese or overweight individuals was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It indicated that treatment with 20 mg/day of rimonabant plus diet for 2 years promoted modest but sustained reductions in weight and waist circumference and favorable changes in metabolic and cardiac risk factors.

Only about half of the people in the study completed it, so we must interpret the data cautiously. The idea of using a pill to manage weight is appealing as a weight-loss aid for some patients. But as I have pointed out before, the control of weight is highly complex, and it is highly unlikely that a pill will be successful on its own. What are needed are long-term, comprehensive lifestyle changes, together with careful attention to the psychological and subtle aspects of weight control.

We have had a great many requests to publish our own comprehensive weight management strategy – The Atlanta Approach – that we have been using with great success for almost two decades. If there is interest in me doing so, I shall put our notes together into a downloadable eBook.

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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