New Drug Proven Effective in the Treatment of Marijuana Dependence
The first human clinical trials for the use of gabapentin for marijuana dependence were completed at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Gabapentin is a molecule that is currently used for nerve pain and epilepsy, but scientists thought it might help individuals who regularly abuse marijuana because of its impact on brain chemistry. Gabapentin is known to reduce the impact of stress hormones in the brain, specifically in relation to the chemical gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA).
The research supported by funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that gabapentin had a significant positive impact for individual’s trying to quit using marijuana. The drug is thought to alleviate typical marijuana withdrawal symptoms that are caused by the disruptions in brain chemistry from regular marijuana abuse.
Initial Trials Show Gabapentin More Effective Than Placebo for Marijuana
The study used 50 individuals who met the DSM-IV criteria for marijuana dependence in a 12-week pilot study. Half the participants were given gabapentin and the other half were given a placebo. In addition, both groups also received weekly talk therapy sessions and were taught cognitive behavioral techniques. Each week subjects were given the Marijuana Withdrawal Checklist. Those given gabapentin after the first week consistently reported fewer symptoms than baseline. On the other hand, placebo recipients had increasing symptoms that peaked in the second, third, and fourth weeks and did not fall in line with the gabapentin group until week seven.
Those receiving gabapentin also reported decreases in all the following issues:
- Sleep problems
- Marijuana cravings
Lead researcher, Dr. Barbara Mason, believes gabapentin is likely a great candidate for future use as a medication to help individuals dependent on marijuana reduce cravings and stave off relapse.
When Effectiveness Verified, Gabapentin Will Be Approved for Immediate Use by FDA
Unlike many drugs undergoing testing and human clinical trials, gabapentin has already gone through the arduous Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process for safe usage in the human population. Most drugs can take years to go to market after their efficacy for a medical condition has been proven in an effort to make sure they are also safe. If additional studies show that gabapentin is effective in reducing marijuana withdrawal symptoms, it can be dispersed to hospitals and clinics immediately for use in these real-world settings.
If you want to break free of a dependence on marijuana, we can help here at Alta Mira. Call and discuss how our programs can help your family member heal today. Don’t waste another day as a slave to addiction. Contact us now.