Chili peppers and marijuana may not have anything in common on the surface.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut, however, said in a new study that both interact with a receptor in the stomach that can work to calm it.
They said their research, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could lead to therapies for diabetes and colitis.
Researchers said the same receptors that tell the brain the peppers are hot exist in the gastrointestinal tract.
They said they fed the chemical in peppers, capsaicin, to mice and found less inflammation in their stomachs.
They said the chemical bound itself to receptors to create anandamide, a compound like cannabinoids in marijuana.
The anandamide caused the immune system to calm down.
Researchers found that they could get the same stomach-settling results by directly feeding the mice anandamide.
They said the brain also has receptors for anandamide. They are the ones that react with cannabinoids to get a person high.
“This allows you to imagine ways the immune system and the brain might talk to each other. They share a common language,” says Dr. Pramod Srivastava, professor of immunology and medicine at UConn School of Medicine. "And one word of that common language is anandamide."
Srivastava said they still don't know why anandamide might relay messages between the immune system and the brain.
However, they learned how it heals the gut.
It's difficult to learn more because it's no easy task to get a federal license to experiment with marijuana on people..
However, the legalization of marijuana in certain states is a start.
“I’m hoping to work with the public health authority in Colorado to see if there has been an effect on the severity of colitis among regular users of edible weed,” Srivastava said.
Pot became legal in Colorado in 2012.
For more information on this study, head to this link.
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