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‘Buzzkills’: French researchers discover way to reduce marijuana’s high

  1. Rob Cypher
    Just days after Colorado became the first US state to allow recreational marijuana use, French researchers have reportedly discovered a way to reduce the negative effects of the marijuana “buzz.”

    On Thursday, French scientists said their work had found that a naturally occurring hormone acts as spontaneous defense in the brain against the “high” caused by marijuana.

    Studying lab rats, the researchers found that the steroid hormone pregnenolone reduced the activity of a particular brain molecule called the type-1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1).

    The hormone, which was not previously believed to have any biological effect of its own, actually cancels out the mild euphoria induced by THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, according to lead author Pier Vincenzo Piazza of the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM).

    “These researchers weren’t trying to be buzzkills,” said the journal Science, in which the study appears. “Their discovery could lead to new approaches to treating marijuana intoxication and addiction — and it may allow researchers to isolate the medicinal properties of cannabis while blocking its behavioral and somatic effects.”

    About 147 million people globally (roughly 2.5 percent of the population) use cannabis, according to the World Health Organization.

    While marijuana is known to relieve symptoms of depression, glaucoma, spasms and the nausea associated with cancer and AIDS treatment, they can also impair brain development, memory and lung function, and some specialists can lead to addiction.

    Researchers discovered the previously unknown role of pregnenolone when they gave high doses of cannabis to lab rats – roughly three to 10 times more than the typical human marijuana smoker might be exposed to, Piazza told Agence France-Presse.

    The high doses of cannabis raised the brain’s level of pregnenolone, which, in turn, blocked the harmful effects of THC on the brain.

    Piazza told AFP that the researchers were aiming to launch clinical trials in people within a year and a half.

    Meanwhile, in the U.S., legal recreational use of marijuana may hit more states in the coming months. The state of Washington is set to follow in Colorado’s footsteps later this year, with similar efforts being planned in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada and Oregon.

    Under federal law, however, cannabis — like heroin, LSD and ecstasy — is considered illegal.

    Agence France-Presse
    Thursday, January 9, 2014



  1. Alien Sex Fiend
    Beat the buzz and master the munchies

    Marijuana. The brain’s natural response to pot could lead to drug that fights its effects:

    In a joint effort, University of Toronto researchers have helped discover a human hormone that can eliminate the high caused by smoking pot.
    The buzz-killing breakthrough — the result of an international collaboration — raises hopes for drugs that could control cannabis abuse and for the development of non-intoxicating compounds for medical marijuana users.
    “The big deal in the paper is uncovering a whole new (brain) system that we didn’t know was there,” says Ruth Ross, head of pharmacology at U of T and a key study author.
    In the study, Ross and her colleagues describe the previously unknown neural-braking system, which is triggered by the presence of cannabis in the brain.
    The system centres on the type-1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1). This receptor, Ross says, is normally triggered by naturally occurring “cannabis-like” compounds in the brain that are involved in things like eating, memory and mood.
    What her study revealed, however, was that the CB1 receptor also produces its own braking system. To help rein in the physiological effects it creates, the receptor produces a type of steroid hormone, dubbed pregnenolone, that can turn it off.
    The hope, Ross says, is that this compound can be transformed into drugs that can be used to control the effects of marijuana, such as euphoria, drowsiness and appetite.

    PS funny how both joined researchers seem to ignore mentioning each other... French and Brittish Canadians lol
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