This scientist is testing a marijuana ingredient as a way to prevent relapse. It’s a daunting task

Neuroscientist Yasmin Hurd thinks a component of marijuana has potential in treating addiction.

NEW YORK — When she started collecting brains, neuroscientist Yasmin Hurd’s peers wondered what she could possibly be thinking.

Studying animals made way more sense as a way to trace how chronic drug use changes the brain, they thought — after all, how was Hurd going to parse the long-term effects from the trauma of the overdoses that killed the brain donors?

She waved her colleagues off. She wanted to know what was happening in human brains, not in mice.

So she began filling up freezers with slices of brain tissue from hundreds of overdose victims, most of them killed by too much cocaine.

“We had a lot of freezers, sadly,” said Hurd, who now runs the Addiction Institute at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. And then, early in the 2000s, she noticed a tidal shift: Suddenly, the overdoses were dominated by heroin.

She saw the coming. Ever since, she’s been trying to figure out how to intervene — could she modify or reverse the way addiction changed the

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from STAT

STAT3 min readPolitics
Pelosi’s Drug Pricing Plan Would Let Medicare Negotiate Prices For Up To 250 Drugs
The new legislation is more aggressive than prior concepts that had circulated among lobbyists and congressional staff this year.
STAT3 min readSociety
Opinion: A Dangerous View: Why It’s A Mistake For Medical Schools To Ignore Social Justice
An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal called for getting back to basics in medical school and forgoing teaching on gun violence or other social issues. The author has it…
STAT3 min readScience
Amid Privacy Concerns, Startup Becomes First Consumer DNA Company To Offer Anonymous Sequencing
Nebula will offer anonymous testing amid public concerns about the privacy of genetic data and law enforcement use of public DNA databases to identify suspects.