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Psychologist Looks For Ways To End Marijuana Addiction

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The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego is studying ways to help people end their addiction to marijuana. There are three efforts underway to qualify ballot measures, for the 2010 election, that would legalize marijuana use in California.

— The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego is studying ways to help people end their addiction to marijuana.

There are three efforts underway to qualify ballot measures for the 2010 election that would legalize marijuana use in California, but psychologist Barbara Mason at Scripps says voters should remember that marijuana is an addictive drug. Mason is involved in a study that is testing treatments, including use of the drug Gabapentin, that may lessen withdrawal symptoms that addicts experience when they stop using pot. Mason says her lab placed ads in the San Diego Reader to recruit addicts for their study.

"We got 735 phone calls from folks in San Diego, responding to the ad you saw, wanting help to quit smoking marijuana," she says.

Mason adds that about 11 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on the drug. A similar percentage of people who use alcohol become alcoholics.

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