Same brain receptors for marijuana, alcohol

Researchers at the Department of EnergyÂ’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have recently completed experiments which show that the same receptors in the brain which stimulate the reinforcing properties of marijuana (i.e. make the subject want to try it again) do the same for alcohol.

Researchers conducted tests on three groups of mice: those with a normal set of CB1 cannaboid receptors called CB1, those with only 50 percent of the normal allotment of receptors, and those with the receptors blocked. They then put in two water bottles in the cages: one that contained normal water and another with a 10 percent alcohol solution. The mice with the normal CB1 receptors sought out the lab wine more often and drank more of it than the others.

Ultimately, the research could contribute to a more effective ways for treating addiction and treatment. One possibility lay in using blockers to eliminate the reinforcement effect.

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    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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