AsianScientist (Jan. 11, 2012) – In a world-first, researchers from the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Center (NCPIC), based at UNSW, are studying whether the pharmaceutical drug Sativex – registered for pain relief in multiple sclerosis patients – can help people better manage cannabis withdrawal symptoms as well.
It is estimated that there are at least 200,000 people dependent on cannabis in Australia, with one in ten people who try the drug at least once in their lifetime having problems ceasing use.
“One of the major barriers for regular cannabis users when they try to quit is withdrawal,” said NCPIC director Professor Jan Copeland.
“Withdrawal symptoms may include sleep difficulties, cravings and mood swings and although these are not life threatening, they are significant enough to cause marked distress and lead people to go back to using the drug.”
While tobacco smokers have nicotine replacement therapies to assist them when they stop cigarette smoking and opiate users have synthetic opioids like methadone, there is currently no targeted drug available to assist with cannabis withdrawal, Prof. Copeland said.
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