Cannabis, marijuana, weed, pot; these are only a few of the many names for a plant many people regularly consume. As legalization trends continue across the world, many individuals are turning to cannabis for their ailments. Whether they need pain relief or just a bit of recreation, cannabis has become many’s go-to psychoactive substance.

Sometimes, some individuals take their indulgence too far. Chronic cannabis users, people that smoke most of the day almost every day, often complain of withdrawal symptoms. Cannabis is often touted as non-addictive and not dangerous, but those who have experienced the psychological withdrawal symptoms would certainly disagree. What is there to do in such circumstances? Research has shown that oxytocin hormone functions may be able to help relieve these symptoms.

In 2001, a team of researchers looked into the withdrawal alleviating effects of oxytocinergic stimulation when rat test subjects were withheld marijuana. These rats were given copious amounts of cannabis. Once they were psychologically addicted, further amounts of cannabis were withheld. Researchers then administered oxytocinergic lithium to them, and observed the results on their withdrawal periods.

The results seemed to correlate positively with their hypothesis; the administration of the oxytocinergic substance, lithium, appeared to relieve the rats of their withdrawal symptoms. The control group did not. The scientists discovered that the lithium administration had interacted with bodily and neuronal systems that released oxytocin. This oxytocin release is what contributed towards their eased withdrawal.

In two other studies on the mental health benefits of oxytocin, researchers discovered positive corroborative links. Both studies were conducted in the early 2010s. One study analyzed the occurrence of psychiatric disorders against relative levels of oxytocin within the test subjects. Another study observed major depressive disorder and oxytocin relations specifically.

In the generalized mental health study on oxytocin, promising results seemed to present themselves. Correlations between disorders such as anxiety, OCD, and depression seemed to be linked to lower overall levels of oxytocin. Similar findings were observed on individuals in the major depressive disorders study. Oxytocin deficiency appeared to negatively influence the neural pathways most commonly associated with depression.

These studies bear interesting implications towards cannabis dependence, withdrawal, and recurrence. In the withdrawal study on rats, the results appeared to indicate that the presence of oxytocin eased almost all side effects that arise from cannabis cessation. Although oxytocin was not directly used, oxytocin was ultimately the factor that contributed towards easy withdrawals. This would suggest that using oxytocin could limit or entirely eliminate weed withdrawal.

The studies on mental health and its relation to oxytocin levels are also interesting relative to marijuana use. Often times, individuals with latent mental health disorders use a variety of legal and illegal substances to self medicate. These undiagnosed individuals sometimes use cannabis as a medication. If one were to cease using marijuana through oxytocin, relapse could easily occur unintentionally. However, studies suggest that continued supplementation of oxytocin could prevent such a relapse.

Oxytocin may be of immense use for individuals suffering from cannabis dependence. Withdrawal from any psychoactive drug is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Oxytocin is readily available and can potentially ease the side effects of quitting pot.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11739594

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4120070/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4033976/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29525698

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