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Scientists find natural hormone that counteracts marijuana high

Pregnenolone might be released by the body to fight the nice feelings created by pot. At least that's what French scientists believe.

A natural antidote? EuroNews/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

They're dancing slowly in the streets of Colorado.

Why would anyone want to dampen their joy at being able to legally buy pot?

Yet along comes a bunch of French researchers to suggest that the brain has natural defenses against the nice feelings generated by the very popular plant.

As Agence France-Presse reports, the researchers probed with lab rats and discovered that the naturally occurring hormone pregnenolone seems to counteract the high delivered by marijuana.

The research, published in Science magazine, explained that initially pregnenolone was thought to be "the inactive precursor of all steroid hormones."

However, in this experiment, "pregnenolone antagonized most of the known behavioral and somatic effects of THC."

Science did, though, offer a prognostication that might numb more than a few. It suggested that this research "could lead to new approaches to treating marijuana intoxication and addiction -- and it may allow researchers to isolate the medicinal properties of cannabis while blocking its behavioral and somatic effects."

Wait, do these people really think they're going to make all those medicinal marijuana cards actually be used only for genuine medicinal purposes?

Pier Vincenzo Piazza of the French Institute of Health and Medical Research told the AFP that the rats in this research were very high. They were given 3 to 10 times the amount of pot than a normal Coloradan.

On discovering that the pregnenolone inhibited the effects of rats' highness, the researchers began to experiment on human cell lines. Similar results were achieved. The next step will be a full-scale clinical trial.

Their aim, they say, is to combat marijuana addiction. This is a concept with which some might argue, as they believe that, well, there is no such thing.

"These researchers weren't trying to be buzzkills," Science explained.

I wonder whether the world's marijuana lovers will come to revere this potential breakthrough.