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Hormone Takes the High Out of Weed, Rodent Study Finds

Researchers hope findings will lead to drug to treat marijuana abuse

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"I'm always reluctant to generalize from rat studies, and some of these reactions only work with rats and not mice," he said. "We should be supremely careful before we start drawing conclusions for primates, let alone humans."

Moreover, a medication to treat marijuana problems is potentially unnecessary, Earleywine said.

Existing therapies, such as motivational interviewing and behavior therapy for relapse prevention, can be effective, he said.

"Behavioral interventions have no adverse side effects," he said. "We can't say the same for futzing around with pregnenolone or the complex, interconnected series of human hormones."

Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y., said a drug to treat marijuana abuse is needed.

"We don't have a lot of drug treatments for marijuana," he said. "However, I don't think we can say right now that pregnenolone is going to be helpful."

Krakower said he isn't sure how such a drug would be used -- whether it could curb an acute problem or provide a long-term therapy.

Like all other addictions, marijuana abuse needs both medication and counseling, he said.

"Right now, the treatments for marijuana addiction are therapy," Krakower said. "Research like this leads to hope that one day we are going to have drugs to help those suffering from marijuana addiction."

According to the American Cancer Society, use of pregnenolone pills and capsules is promoted by some people to increase energy and as an alternative treatment for fatigue. Others say pregnenolone supplements help treat various medical conditions. But scientific evidence is scant, and little is known about its long-term effects, according to the society.

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