Australian Study To Assess Sativex As Cannabis Withdrawal Drug
Tech & Pharma
January 11, 2012
Researchers 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.
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.
Sativex is administered through a mouth spray. It is registered for use in Canada, Spain, and the U.K. as treatment for the symptomatic relief of neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis patients.
The spray contains the cannabis extracts, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the substance primarily responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, however, the spray administers the substance at doses below the level of intoxication.
This randomized controlled trial is funded by National Health and Medical Research Council and is currently recruiting participants for the limited places available. It requires an admission to hospital in either Sydney or Newcastle for one week free of charge.
For more information on the study and to learn if you might be eligible, please email Dr. David Allsop at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (02) 9385 0448.
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