Drug to treat Marijuana addiction finds success in clinical trial
A drug aimed at treating marijuana addiction has shown early promise in clinical trials as cannabis use has skyrocketed in recent years.
The addiction, otherwise known as cannabis use disorder, causes an inability to control using marijuana, ultimately leading to problems at work and in their personal lives for habitual smokers.
Those addicted to the drug will still use it despite negative personal consequences affecting work, personal relationships, and the ability to fulfill obligations.
While cannabis is the most widely used drug in the world, around 20% of users develop an addiction, according to the study
In a clinical trial conducted by Columbia University Irving Medical Center and Aelis Farma, one of over a dozen tested substances was able to lower the effects of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, for chronic smokers.
"This is the first to decrease both the positive mood effects of cannabis and the decision to use cannabis by daily smokers," Dr. Margaret Haney, Ph.D., Columbia professor of neurobiology and director of the Cannabis Research Laboratory, said.
The drug, which was created by Aelis Farma and known as AEF0117, works to diminish the "high" feeling of cannabis use by suppressing sensory cells that respond to THC, while not negatively affecting psychological and behavioral functions, like sleeping, eating, processing emotions, memory, and learning.
According to the study, Aelis Farma's drug is the first of its kind to target cannabis response without obstructing the other functions of the receptors, which in the past have caused significant issues for patients and halted clinical use.
The trial comes as marijuana is being legalized, its use increasing, and adverse effects from its use are being revealed.
Marijuana usage among young people, in particular, has shown spikes in depression, suicidality, schizophrenia, psychosis, addiction, and other negative mental health outcomes.
As marijuana has become increasingly legal, the number of teenagers using the drug has increased by 245% in the past 20 years.
There is currently no FDA-approved drug to treat cannabis use disorder.