When you read a headline about a drug helping people to kick their pot smoking habit, the first question that comes to mind is why you would want stop in the first place? And, chances are that if you are reading this story on a site called Marijuana.com, you are probably not looking to stop smoking weed in the near future. Still, whether it is for financial cutbacks, a nagging significant other, or a new job that provides rigorous drug tests, there are situations in life that will (unfortunately) force you to quit smoking marijuana.

Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have determined that gabapentin, a drug currently used to treat epilepsy and neuropathic pain, is effective to treating marijuana addiction. And, while most people dispute any physical addiction associated with marijuana, gabapentin focuses on the stress levels of the patient, thus reducing the psychological withdrawals.

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As explained by Science Daily:

In a 12-week trial of 50 treatment-seeking cannabis users, those who took gabapentin used less cannabis, experienced fewer withdrawal symptoms such as sleeplessness, and scored higher on tests of attention, impulse-control, and other cognitive skills, compared to patients who received a placebo. If these results are confirmed by ongoing larger trials, gabapentin could become the first FDA-approved pharmaceutical treatment for cannabis dependence.

‘A lot of other drugs have been tested for their ability to decrease cannabis use and withdrawal, but this is the first to show these key effects in a controlled treatment study,’ said Barbara J. Mason, the Pearson Family Chair and Co-Director of the Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research at Scripps Research. ‘The other nice thing about gabapentin is that it is already widely prescribed, so its safety is less likely to be an issue.’

Of the people involved in the study, twice as many were off of cannabis by the end of the testing and the drug is now going into a larger testing run. If successful, gabapentin could be the first drug to treat both marijuana withdrawal symptoms while protecting against relapses.

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Again, we think this would only be beneficial for a very small amount of marijuana users, but we are pretty sure that all smokers will find these results interesting. Also, one has to wonder if scientists can use these studies with weed and apply them to more harmful habits, such as smoking cigarettes or hard drug addiction.

Do you think anybody needs to quit weed? Do you think this study could lead to benefits in treating more harmful habits?