Can a New Mouth Spray Help You Kick Cannabis?

By McCarton Ackerman 01/11/12

Aussie scientists believe a drug containing a "good" cannabinoid will ease withdrawal among marijuana addicts.

An easier escape from pot? Thinkstock

Australian researchers at the University of New South Wales believe they've created the first ever product to help people kick cannabis addiction. Their drug—a mouth spray called Sativex—contains two of the main cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). “The smoked cannabis available on the market had almost all the CBD taken out of it, which is almost considered the ‘good’ cannaboid, while THC is associated with getting stoned," says Jan Copeland, who is leading the study through the university’s National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre. "[Sativex] returns CBD to the compound, and in treating symptoms of withdrawal it can dampen down the effects of THC on the patients’ receptor systems without them getting stoned.” The university has been authorized to use the mouth spray and is currently administering it in low doses every six hours in a monitored environment. Copeland says the most common withdrawal symptoms are disrupted sleep, "difficulty functioning" and anger. According to the National Institute On Drug Abuse, 9% of marijuana users ultimately become addicted.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.