Researchers in France have identified a hormone produced in the brain that interferes with the intoxicating action of the affective ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). They have begun developing new approaches for the treatment of marijuana addiction. The researchers, based at the Institute of Health and Medical Research in Bordeaux, France, published the results of their study January 3, 2014, in the journal Science.
INSERM research teams led by Pier Vincenzo Piazza and Giovanni Marsicano of INSERM Unit 862 determined that a steroid hormone, pregnenolone, protects animal brains from the effects of cannabis. Pregnenolone was previously believed to be an inactive precursor precursor hormone used by the body to create other hormones, specifically estrogen and testosterone.
The Role Of Pregnenolone
The investigators were studying the role of pregnenolone and other neurosteroids in addiction among rats and mice. Research animals were given the active ingredients of several addictive substances including cocaine, morphine, nicotine, alcohol and marijuana. THC acts on CB1 cannabinoid receptors in neurons, overstimulating them to create a “high.”
THC binds to the receptors, interfering with their normal physiological roles such as regulating food intake, metabolism and cognitive processes. This can trigger memory problems, as well reducing motivation, which are both common symptoms of marijuana addiction.
Treatment For Substance Abuse
Sovereign Health Group offers treatment for substance abuse and addiction, as well as any underlying conditions. Our evidence-based rehabilitation programs include effective treatment for marijuana addiction. For more information about marijuana addiction, visit this webpage. To learn about our treatment programs, call (866) 819-0427 and speak with our admissions team.
THC – the active ingredient in cannabis – increased the animal brains’ production of pregnenolone by as much as 3,000 percent for a few hours. The researchers found that high doses of pregnenolone stimulated the animal brains to produce even more of the hormone, which then blocks the action of THC by binding to the same CBA receptions targeted by THC, creating a negative feedback effect.
Available As A Nutritional Supplement
Although pregnenolone is available as a nutritional supplement that boosts production of hormones such as testosterone, the researchers caution that it cannot be used directly as a treatment for marijuana dependence because it is poorly absorbed when taken orally and is transformed into other steroids once it enters the bloodstream.
However, pregnenolone derivatives that are stable and easily absorbed have now been developed by the INSERM researchers, who plan to initiate clinical trials of what would be the first pharmacological treatment for cannabis dependence.
Treatment for Marijuana Addiction
Adults who seek treatment for cannabis abuse or dependence often have more than 10 years of almost daily use Users who seek treatment often acknowledge that it has caused relationship and family problems, financial difficulties, sleep disorders, cognitive and memory problems, low every and low self-esteem.
Interventions used at marijuana addiction treatment centers include motivational enhancement therapy (MET) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Detox is not uncommon, particularly for people who abuse multiple substances.
Marijuana Addiction Facts
Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States and Europe. Surveys indicate that more than 100 million people in the U.S. have used marijuana, and about 25 million have smoked marijuana in the past 12 months. Research also suggests that about one-third of high school seniors have tried it.
Cannabis abuse is a global problem, with an estimated 20 million users world-wide. Marijuana addiction treatment is one of the most common reasons people seek help for substance abuse. The U.S. federal Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) reported in 2012 that marijuana was “reported as a substance of abuse by approximately 740,800 treatment admissions” in 2009, the most current data available; 30 per cent of those individuals reported daily use, and one third of daily users had a co-occurring psychiatric problem.
Sovereign Health Group
At Sovereign Health, we treat substance abuse and mental health, including all underlying conditions, as well as treating individuals with dual diagnosis. We are dually licensed for mental health and addiction treatment and are accredited by the Joint Commission. We offer evidence-based treatment options that treat a patient holistically to reduce the risk of relapse. To find out more about our programs, call us at (866) 819-0427 or visit our website at prod.sovcal.com.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment – Cory’s Story from Sovereign Health Group Blog post by: Marissa Maldonado
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