A new study published by the Journal of Neuroscience has found that heavy alcohol consumption leads to a decrease in the availability of our cannabinoid receptors, making cannabinoid receptor activation a potential treatment for the negative impact of alcohol withdrawal and abstinence.
For the study, “20 healthy social drinkers underwent [18F]MK-9470-positron emission tomography (PET) at baseline and after intravenous ethanol administration (ALC ACU). Moreover, 26 alcoholic patients underwent sequential CB1R PET after chronic heavy drinking (ALC CHR) and after 1 month of abstinence (ALC ABST). Seventeen healthy subjects served as controls.”
In following this method, researchers found that; “whereas the acute alcohol effect is an increase in CB1R availability, chronic heavy drinking leads to reduced CB1R [type 1 cannabinoid receptor] availability that is not reversible after 1 month of abstinence. Longer follow-up is required to differentiate whether this is a compensatory effect of repeated endocannabinoid overstimulation or an enduring trait-like feature.”
They conclude that; “An enhanced CB1R signaling [which can be done through cannabis consumption] may offer a new therapeutic direction for treatment of the negative affective state produced by alcohol withdrawal and abstinence, which is critical for the maintenance of alcohol addiction.”
The study can be found by clicking here.
A separate study published online by the National Institute of Health has found that; “Substituting cannabis for alcohol may reduce drinking and related problems among alcohol-dependent individuals.”