CBD (Cannabidiol) has gained a lot of attention in recent years for its potential therapeutic benefits. From managing pain and inflammation to helping alleviate the symptoms of conditions and disorders like inflammatory bowel disease and ADHD, it seems there is no end to the potential uses of the powerful hemp plant. Indeed, one emerging area where CBD has shown promise is in recovery from addiction.
Addiction is defined by the NHS as not having control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you. Addiction is often associated with drugs, solvents, alcohol, smoking and gambling, though you can be addicted to just about anything. This is, in part, what makes it such a complex problem for millions of people worldwide.
Traditional treatments for addiction include therapy, support groups and medication, though these can sometimes be ineffective. However, research suggests that CBD might be able to offer a new approach that is both safe and effective.
Can CBD Help With Addiction?
Although further studies are essential to fully understand the potential of CBD as an intervention for addiction, current research suggests that CBD can help individuals to recover from addiction.
- A review of available preclinical and clinical data found that CBD may have therapeutic properties on opioid, cocaine, and psychostimulant addiction.
- Some preliminary data also suggests that it may be beneficial for cannabis and tobacco addiction in humans.
- 2021 research suggests that CBD alone, or in combination with commonly employed treatment strategies in drug addiction, may configure a potential therapeutic option for improving the dishabituation process of addicted patients with substance use disorders.
- When given to patients with heroin addiction, cannabidiol reduced cravings for the drug, as well as participants’ anxiety levels.
- Previous preclinical work on animals demonstrated that CBD reduced the tendency to use heroin in response to a drug-associated cue.
- A 2017 study suggests that CBD may decrease the motivation to drink alcohol and reduce relapse.
This is because CBD is thought to target risk states of relapse by reducing anxiety and stress related to drug cues. In addition to that, CBD is thought to interact with the part of the brain that is responsible for drug craving and seeking behaviours.
How? CBD is interacts with our endocannabinoid system, a cell-signalling system that helps regulate a wide range of functions, as well as our inflammatory and nociceptive (pain sensing) systems to produce better effects.
The better-known benefits of CBD could also help those that are struggling with symptoms related to addiction and withdrawal.
- Improved Mood: CBD can affect how your brain’s chemical receptors respond to the serotonin in your system (and other “happy chemicals”), which can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Pain Relief: CBD is thought to exert pain-relieving effects through its interactions and regulation of the endocannabinoid, inflammatory, and nociceptive (pain sensing) systems.
- Withdrawal: CBD has been shown to improve symptoms that are associated with opiate withdrawal, such as fatigue, anxiety and restlessness.
Is CBD Addictive?
No, Cannabidiol (CBD) is not addictive. Unlike THC, it is a non-psychoactive compound which means it cannot produce euphoria, and therefore does not have an addictive effect.
Indeed, CBD is generally considered safe and well-tolerated in humans, with few (and rare) side effects.
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