Modulation du système endocannabinoïde dans le traitement de la toxicomanie

 

Didier Jutras-Aswad

Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal

 

Domaine : neuroscience, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme chercheurs-boursiers cliniciens - Junior 1

Concours 2014-2015

This study seeks to determine whether cannabidiol (CBD), a natural cannabinoid, decreases withdrawal symptoms, craving for drugs and the risk of relapse in 110 cocaine-dependent individuals admitted to a detoxification program at the Centre hospitalier de l¿Université de Montréal.

Cocaine abuse and its consequences on the health of individuals has become a growing concern over the past decades. Cocaine addiction is a chronic relapsing disorder characterized by a persistent and aching desire to use drugs (called ''craving'') and a loss of control over one¿s consumption. This disorder is associated with suffering, severe health problems, distress among next of kin and significant human and financial costs to society. Sadly, of the millions of people addicted to cocaine in the Western World, only a small minority have access to adequate treatment. Moreover, most conventional treatment strategies have proved to be ineffective in treating cocaine addiction and, to this day, there is no pharmacological treatment available for this disease.

New targets have been identified within the brain to treat cocaine addiction. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural cannabinoid that has already been approved for clinical use in Canada and its prophylactic action on the brain has been amply demonstrated. In fact, CBD has been known to reduce the urge to use drugs and to decrease stress in animals and humans, a common cause of relapse in addicted patients. Thus, CBD shows great promise as a potential treatment for cocaine addiction, a disease for which no specific treatment is currently available. Administration of this medication in the initial stages of sobriety could be crucial in breaking the destructive cycle of cocaine dependence.