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Medical Marijuana and Cocaine Dependence

Cocaine Dependence and Synthetic Cannabidiol 

Researchers at the National Institute of Drug Abuse did a study to see if JWH133 -- a synthetic cannabidiol -- would decrease cocaine dependence in mice. Cocaine addicted mice were given the drug and the researchers saw the animals' use of cocaine drop by half. In some cases, it dropped as much as 60 percent. This was in animals that had the drug readily available. In humans, there is hope that the drug would work even better with therapy and limited access to the drug. The drug works by activating CB2 receptors, the same receptors that are affected by marijuana use.

Medical Marijuana and Cocaine Dependency Research

Researchers also found that mice did not display behavior researchers associate with the mice being "high" or with the mice being negatively affected by JWH133. These attributes would make it a viable option in humans. The last thing doctors want to do when treating cocaine dependence is just give patients another way to get high. Furthermore, they do not want to give addicted patients drugs with negative side effects. This simply leads to patients avoiding taking their anti-addiction medication.

The effects of JWH133 are expected to work with all forms of cocaine, as they are just different ways of self-administering essentially the same drug. In other words, crack cocaine users, "free-basers," those who snort and those who "shoot up" cocaine may be able to find relief from their dangerous addiction with this drug. Even cutting use in half is a huge step to kicking the habit. 

Apart from self-medication that has been occurring outside of the medical science fields, this is the closest researchers have come to creating medical marijuana that is shown to help with cocaine dependence. However, many cocaine-addicted individuals may already know that there is something in marijuana that helps them reduce their cocaine intake. According to Time Magazine, Ric Curtis of John Jay College has conducted research that shows an interesting trend in marijuana and cocaine use. Surveys investigating drug use prevalence showed that cocaine use decreased in the 1990s while marijuana use increased. It is possible that users were experiencing the effects of cannabidiol and reacting accordingly. Whether they are simply trading one addiction for a cheaper one has yet to be seen. More research is required but the treatment is promising.

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