SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) – According to a recent study conducted on rodents, a steroid hormone can eliminate the effect of feeling high from marijuana.

Pregnenolone is a naturally occurring hormone in the body. Researchers used it with tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the ingredient in marijuana that caused users to be intoxicated.

“When the brain is stimulated by high doses of THC, it produces pregnenolone that inhibits the effects of THC,” senior researcher Dr. Pier Vincenzo Piazza of Neurocentre Magendie in Bordeaux, France told HealthDay News. “Pregnenolone does this by blocking the activity of the type-1 cannabinoid receptor in the brain.”

Piazza knows that not all research that is conducted on animals is applied to humans but he hopes a drug based on the hormone could combat marijuana addiction. “If we have a built-in mechanism that protects us from an over-activation of the CB1 receptor by TCH, smoking cannabis cannot be that innocuous,” he said. “We hope to be able to test them in humans very soon.”

Other experts are not convinced. Mitch Earleywine, a professor of psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York, doesn’t think a drug based on this hormone will work on humans or is even needed. “Although the authors pitch this as a novel way to treat cannabis abuse, it’s actually a superb explanation for why cannabis appears to have no potential lethal dose and why its capacity for creating addiction is more like caffeine’s than that of any illicit drug,” he said.

The study was published in the journal Science.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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