Author(s): McRaeClark AL, Baker NL, Maria MM, Brady KT
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Abstract RATIONALE: Stress has been shown to be a significant factor in the maintenance of marijuana use. Oxytocin is a hypothalamic neuropeptide that has been shown to moderate behavioral responding to stress as well as play a role in the neuroadaptations that occur as a consequence of long-term drug use. OBJECTIVES: The current study evaluated the impact of oxytocin pretreatment on craving, stress, and anxiety responses following a psychosocial stress task in marijuana-dependent individuals. METHODS: In a laboratory setting, baseline measurements of craving (assessed using the Marijuana Craving Questionnaire; MCQ), salivary cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), stress, and anxiety were collected in 16 participants (age 19-40) meeting DSM-IV criteria for marijuana dependence. Participants were then administered either oxytocin 40 IU (n = 8) or placebo (n = 8) nasal spray prior to completion of the Trier Social Stress Task (TSST). Measurements were repeated pre-TSST, immediately post-TSST, and 5-, 35-, and 60-min post-TSST. RESULTS: Oxytocin reduced both MCQ total score and DHEA levels from before to after the TSST. It also decreased anxiety, but not subjective stress ratings. CONCLUSIONS: Although preliminary, these results suggest that oxytocin may play a role in the amelioration of stress-induced reactivity and craving in marijuana-dependent individuals.
This article was published in Psychopharmacology (Berl)
and referenced in Clinical Pharmacology & Biopharmaceutics