So-Called Natural High Could Help Some Addicts Quit Marijuana

By Brent McCluskey 12/05/14

A recent study found that a cannabinoid compound could relieve anxiety and depression by creating a 'high' to brain receptors.

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Future medication could alleviate mood and anxiety disorders resulting from prolonged marijuana use, enabling some addicts to successfully quit the drug.

In a recent Vanderbilt University study published in the online edition of the journal Cell Reports, senior author Sachin Patel and his colleagues created genetically modified mice with a diminished ability to produce the 2-AG endocannabinoid, a compound responsible for providing a “high” by activating the brain’s cannabinoid receptors. The genetically modified mice displayed symptoms of anxiety and depression, but when the researchers restored the 2-AG levels to normal, the symptoms were reversed.

Prolonged use of marijuana increases anxiety, making users more dependent on the drug to relieve their anxiety. But restoring depleted 2-AG levels “could be a way to help people using marijuana,” said Patel. 

Patel was able to reduce the anxiety behaviors in the mice by inducing a natural high through the activation of the endocannabinoids. If the same techniques could be translated to human use, those addicted to the anxiety-relieving aspect of marijuana would finally have the means to quit.

“Normalizing 2-AG deficiency could represent a viable…therapeutic strategy for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders,” said Patel.

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Brent McCluskey is a Social Media Editor at International Business Times as well as a Jedi with Sith tendencies.  He is also a reader of books, slayer of dragons, and level 80 mage.

“Yeah, I have a broad skill set. If I had to pick between being a Divergent or a wizard, I'd pick a wizard.”  His wizardness can be found on Twitter and Linkedin.