Researchers investigate Salvia as habit breaker

July 25, 2013

July 25, 2013New Zealand researchers looking to tweak Salvia for use as habit breaker

Ever since the structure of the ‘salvia receptor’ was solved (see this article), researchers are increasingly looking at ways to use salvia-derived compounds as ‘anti addiction’ drugs. Dr Bronwyn Kivell, a senior lecturer in neurobiology in the School of Biological Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington, has been working on the this new class of compound as part of a study funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC).

Researchers are now trying to understand better the link between addiction and mood, and believe Salvinorin A has less side effects than traditional compounds.

“These are complex behaviours. Addiction is not just a simple thing you turn on and off. It involves memory, impulse, mood and other behaviours – it’s very complex.”, Dr Kivell says. “We can directly show that these increase the effectiveness of the dopamine transporter, which means it reduces the amount of reward the drugs have. The dopamine is cleared away faster and repackaged so it’s not there causing the reward effects. It removes the high so the recreational drug does not have as much of an effect.”

Read more: New anti-addiction compound shows promise for drug addicts and Wellington researchers hunt for habit breaker