Cannabinoids To Treat Marijuana Addiction | cannabisMD

Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Marijuana Addiction

Fighting Fire with Fire... Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Marijuana Addiction; UCI


Cannabinoids are a group of chemicals naturally occurring cannabis plant (cannabis sativa). Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of these chemicals and research has shown that it has anti inflammatory properties to heal animals with nervous system disorders. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another one of these compounds that wields a psychoactive effect in animals. Cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) are found in the endogenous cannabinoid system and allow cannabinoids to bind and do their job in the body. This paper will evaluate recent views on how endocannabinoid substances are produced, released and deactivated in the brain. This paper will look at how cannabinoids could be the answer in fighting addictive substances, such as marijuana.

Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.

Main Points

  • Marijuana is a very addictive substance
  • Cannabinoids could be used to fight marijuana addiction
  • Cannabinoids have little side effects

Marijuana is a very addictive substance

The active principle of cannabis,THC, exerts its pharmacological effects by attaching to specific receptors present on the membranes of brain cells. These cannabinoid receptors are normally engaged by endocannabinoids, which are thought to be apart in the regulation of a diversity of brain functions, including pain, mood, appetite and memory. Cannabis use may lead to long term adaptive changes in endocannabinoid signaling, and these changes might contribute to impacts of marijuana as well as to the establishment of marijuana addiction.

Cannabinoids could be used to fight marijuana addiction

Although the neurobiological bases of drug wanting actions are still poorly known, it is generally seen that such actions are rooted in intrinsic neural mechanisms that have evolved to serve natural functions such as feeding, drinking and reproduction. For example, current studies of opiate abuse invoke an essential job for reward circuits that use endogenous opioids as neurotransmitters. It is understood that to anticipate that information on the endocannabinoid system will be detrimental in understanding the pharmacological properties of marijuana and will eventually help to identify strategies for the treatment of marijuana dependence and withdrawal. It is now generally accepted that heavy marijuana use can produce dependence and withdrawal. The latter consists of a constellation of symptoms similar to those seen with nicotine withdrawal, which include irritability, sleep difficulty, decreased appetite, weight loss, and increased anger and irritability. There have been few pharmacological attempts to alleviate this syndrome, but one approach using oral THC has recently shown significant promise.

Cannabinoids have little side effects

The application of a replacement therapy may be limited, however, by undesirable psychoactive and cardiovascular side effects. A possible way to stop this limitation may be to develop pharmacological drugs that protect anandamide and 2-AG from deactivation and prolong the life-span of these endocannabinoid substances. By analogy with inhibitors of other neurotransmitter deactivation systems, it is reasonable to hypothesize that interfering with the inactivation of these endocannabinoid substances will lead to a more circumscribed and beneficial spectrum of biological responses than those produced by the administration of THC. As noted above, this prediction has been corroborated by animal studies, which have shown that blockade of anandamide transport or hydrolysis results in a palette of pharmacological effects that are clearly distinguishable from those of D9 -THC. These findings should encourage future studies aimed at testing endocannabinoid deactivation inhibitors in the treatment of the dependence to marijuana and other substances of abuse.

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