A scientist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has found that naturally occurring cannabinoids in newborn mice trigger feeding, and without these natural chemicals the animals frequently die within days of being born.
Cannabinoids are chemicals related to the active ingredient of cannabis that are produced naturally in the body.
Ester Fride, the scientist who conducted the study, injected newborn mice with a chemical that blocks cannabinoid receptors in the brain. None of these mice fed from their mothers and all either died within a week or developed slowly. Fride then treated the mice with enough of the active component of cannabis (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) to override the effects of the cannabinoid blocker and the mice developed normally.
"It seems that the pups (young mice) are completely unable to ingest food without endogenous cannabinoids," Fride said.
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