Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Donors pledge millions at Uganda refugee summit

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Depp plumbs depths of bad taste

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

France's new frontman, America's absent center, May's Brexit gambit, Saudi royal reshuffle, after Mosul & Raqqa fall

Read more

REVISITED

Senegal’s Casamance hopes for new era of peace

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

FARC disarmament a 'historic day' for Colombia, says president

Read more

FASHION

Cruise collections: All aboard for Dior and Chanel's latest fashions

Read more

ENCORE!

Colombia comes to France

Read more

#THE 51%

The last taboo: Helping women and girls. Period.

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Who benefits when the ice caps melt?

Read more

SCIENCE

French scientists discover way to block cannabis high

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-05

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.”

Clinical trials in humans upcoming

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 US, legal recreational use of marijuana may hit more states in the coming months. The state of Washington, in the Pacific Northwest, 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.

(With AFP and Reuters)
 

Date created : 2014-01-03

  • USA

    Marijuana shops open in Colorado

    Read more

  • URUGUAY

    Uruguay votes to legalise marijuana production

    Read more

  • USA

    Californians reject proposal to legalise marijuana

    Read more

COMMENT(S)