Marijuana discovery hints at how patients may benefit without suffering harmful side effects
It looks like French researchers have figured out how to negate the euphoria caused by smoking cannabis.
In a paper published in the journal Science, scientists at the French Institute of Health and Medical Research point out that a naturally occurring hormone called pregnenolone has "been largely uninvestigated".
However, in tests with laboratory mice, they discovered that it "reduces several effects of THC", the psychoactive agent in marijuana.
Pregnenolone accomplishes this by inhibiting a receptor in the brain.
According to the researchers, this discovery "could open an unforeseen approach for the treatment of cannabis intoxication and addiction".
"These researchers weren't trying to be buzzkills," Science stated in an accompanying article.
Lead researcher Pier Vincenzo Piazza told the French news agency AFP that's because people receiving high doses risk impairments to brain development, memory, and lung function, and may be susceptible to addiction.
Pregnenolone could diminish these harmful side effects.
"We hope to be able to start clinical trials in people in a year to a year and a half," Piazza told AFP.