Is Marijuana Compound the "Gateway" to Kicking Coke? | The Fix
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Is Marijuana Compound the "Gateway" to Kicking Coke?

Addicted mice suggest salvation for cocaine addicts could lie within an active ingredient of marijuana.


High on life, thanks to CBD Photo via

By Rob Cummins


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No anti-craving meds are yet available for cocaine addicts, but a recent study found that the activation of a receptor in the brain known as CB2 can decrease usage of intravenous cocaine by 50-60% in addicted laboratory mice. Interestingly, the chemical responsible for this activation was a version of cannabidiol (CBD)—believed to be the second most active compound in marijuana, after the better-known THC. Scientists surmise that purified CBD, or a synthetic version—the snappily-titled "JWH133"—could aid those wishing to quit coke. JWH133 has other properties that could make it more acceptable, medically and politically: It's not known to cause a high or a negative experience, and dependence is an unlikely outcome (as opposed to other synthetic anti-craving or maintenance drugs like Methadone). It's possible that addicts beat scientists to the punch on this one: While crack cocaine use declined in the early ‘90s, marijuana use increased. Anecdotal evidence suggests a correlation between the two—with crack users turning to pot for a mellower, cheaper high—which might be linked to the possible hidden anti-coke-craving property within cannabis. Discoveries like these, while highly promising, take time to develop. But if CBD/JWH133 are confirmed to help people to give up cocaine/crack, it will be time for the politicians to move, as well as the scientists.

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