Marijuana may make you feel nice, but according to new research, your brain may not want to go along for the ride: turns out, when your brain senses THC, it produces a hormone that counteracts the drug's effect. Buzzkill.
The hormone, pregnenolone, is the precursor of all the naturally-occurring steroids your body produces. While it was long thought to be inactive, a team of French researchers discovered that pregnenolone specifically inhibits the type-1 cannabinoid receptor, your brain's main receptor for THC. Moreover, when the researchers gave large doses of THC to mice, they observed a substantial increase in pregnenolone production, reducing the drug's effect.
While this may sound like the harshest of letdowns for recreational users, the discovery has huge medical importance, both as a treatment for marijuana addiction and to help medical marijuana users who want the therapeutic effect without the buzz. And since the hormone is as natural as it gets (made right there in your brain), it might potentially be safer than man-made drug-blocking compounds. The researchers even point out pregnenolone's potential use to reverse THC intoxication on the spot. Which, in a roundabout way, would be the cruellest joke your brain ever played on you. [Science via The Verge]