In a study about morphine dependence, researchers deprived lab rats of their mothers at a young age, putting them in a stressful situation which makes them more susceptible to becoming addicted to opiates later in life.
Researchers carried out a study at the Laboratory for Physiopathology of Diseases of the Central Nervous System in France to study the effects of dronabinol, or THC, on morphine addiction in the lab rats.
Major neurological development occurs just after birth, and depriving an animal of its mother during that time makes it much more vulnerable to opiate addiction. Maternally-deprived lab rats that were given large doses of THC during adolescence were less likely to become dependent on morphine as adults. The rats were given 5 mg/kg of THC intravenously (for a person that weighs 150 lbs, that’s the equivalent to 340 mg of THC). The lab rats that were not deprived of their mothers showed average rates of morphine dependence.
This study, among others, may one day lead to an addiction treatment program that involves the use of THC. Or perhaps THC will be administered as a preventative measure to persons who are prescribed opiates in order to help prevent opiod addiction.