Licorice helps treat Cocaine Addiction
Science Daily recently released an article on a study done by researchers in Korea and Pennsylvania that may be helpful to people addicted to cocaine. There is currently no medicine to treat cocaine abuse or addiction. Researchers have been trying to find ways to help people who no longer want to use cocaine. In animal studies an ingredient that is in licorice, isoliquiritigenin, blocks the nervous system from producing dopamine. The nerve it is blocking is also involved in feeling emotion, movement, and other activities. Cocaine and other drugs cause the nervous system to release dopamine, which then gives people a “high”. The goal is to block the nerve from giving off this response so the user no longer wants to use the drug.
Researchers tested the isoliquiritigenin in rats by injecting them with it just before cocaine administration. The rats showed a 50% less reaction to the drug than normal. The isoliquiritigenin also protected the brain from damage caused by the cocaine. If the licorice ingredient continues to work in further testing scientists may have found a way to help those who are addicted to cocaine end their addiction.
This will give people more options than quitting cold turkey, which they are usually unable to do. It takes more than simply deciding you no longer want to use if you are addicted. The obvious answer would be to not start using at all but for people who already have this may be their way out. Can you think of other ways that people can try to quit a drug addiction?