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Hormone hampers effects of marijuana

Study in rodents could lead to new treatments for cannabis addiction

A nondescript hormone that moonlights as a potent pot blocker in the brain may lead to drugs that help people curb cannabis dependence. The hormone pregnenolone blunts marijuana’s effects in rats and mice, scientists report in the Jan. 3 Science.

The results are “incredibly exciting, both at a scientific level and at the level of public health,” says Margaret Haney of Columbia University Medical Center. Recent laws that legalize medical marijuana will expand the already-popular drug’s reach, leading to more people who struggle with cannabis addiction, she says. “We have no options to help the substantial number of people who are seeking treatment for that disorder,” Haney says. “This looks like a very exciting potential tool for that.”

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