Is CBD Addictive? On the Contrary, It May Actually Help Kick Addictions

is cbd addictive?

Posted on July 1st, 2022

Recent scientific studies show that heavy cannabis use can lead to dependency in some individuals. But is CBD addictive? CBD alone does not seem to be addictive. Still, studies into its long-term effects on the body are in their infant stages. Scientists, academics, and healthcare practitioners continue to study the potential advantages of CBD. After al, CBD or cannabidiol is among the over 400 chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. Unlike its cousin THC, CBD doesn’t exhibit intoxicating effects. Yet you may wonder, can you develop an addiction to its potentially therapeutic effects? This article aims to look at what research says regarding the addictive potential of CBD.

Is CBD Addictive?

Medical marijuana and cannabinoids have recently been a topic of heated debate. There have been anecdotal success stories on cannabis and its derivatives in the medical sector. However, there are still concerns over its long-term and short-term side-effects, including possible drug dependency and growth of psychotic conditions.  

CBD is a component of the cannabis plant; in its purest form, it’s non-addictive and non-intoxicating. This makes it an ideal candidate for therapeutic purposes. Despite our increased understanding of CBD’s potential benefits, people still have reservations about its potential to cause addiction. This may largely be a result of confusion with its intoxicating partner, THC. Yet because CBD interacts differently with ECS receptors, it doesn’t exhibit effects like THC. As a matter of fact, CBD may inhibit THC’s access to those receptors, decreasing intoxication. 

Studies show that CBD may help reduce epileptic seizures; it also has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Recently, scientists have concentrated their efforts on researching the potential that CBD has when it comes to controlling cravings linked to substance abuse. 

How Does CBD Work?

Despite comprehensive research, scientists still don’t fully understand exactly how our bodies process CBD. But we do know the compound attaches itself to brain receptors. This seems to impact your ECS and its various functions, which include regulating appetite, mood, and pain sensation. CBD connects to adenosine and serotonin receptors which impact inflammation and pain perception. Unlike marijuana, CBD doesn’t interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors located in the brain. This means that even though CBD functions like a drug, it doesn’t have the same ‘high’ feeling linked with drug usage and addiction.

man in green shirt holding cbd tinctureWhy Isn’t CBD Addictive?

There are basically two cannabis plant varieties that contain CBD: hemp and marijuana.

CBD from hemp has little to no THC content (not more than 0.3% as per U.S. federal law). Therefore, THC withdrawal is not a risk that comes along with using CBD from hemp plants.

CBD from marijuana may cause a slight THC dependency if the content is too high. This kind of CBD product could have THC levels exceeding the 0.3% federal limit. Even so, you would have to use a lot of product for a long time before developing any real dependency. 

Cannabinoid compounds such as CBD and THC attach themselves to special receptors found in the body tissues and cells. These receptors include the CB1 and CB1 receptors and comprise a broad network of neurotransmitters called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It assists in regulating bodily functions such as pleasure, pain, mood, memory, sleep, temperature, appetite and digestion.

Other Cannabinoids

The majority of cannabinoids, including THC contained in marijuana, influence the CB1 (found in the brain) and the CB2 (found in the immune system) receptors. Even though CBD is among the main cannabinoids in marijuana, it doesn’t produce a high feeling and it isn’t addictive since it doesn’t influence the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Also, the ECS naturally produces CBD to help in maintaining balance when we face stress. With this premise, it’s unlikely to become addicted to a compound that is naturally produced by your body.

Actually, in contrast, numerous research studies have indicated that CBD contains anti-addictive properties. It may be beneficial in assisting people to wean off drugs such as heroin, cocaine, alcohol, or marijuana. In a nutshell, CBD doesn’t cause dependency and is an excellent holistic option for those who want to steer clear from other problematic addictions.

To make you feel at ease, you should know that the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence under the World Health Organization recently determined that CBD is a non-addictive substance, contains no withdrawal signs, and is well tolerable with a good safety profile. As a matter of fact, they concluded it was time to remove CBD from the international drug control list because it has no potential for abuse or addiction. 

Can CBD Treat Addictions?

Is CBD addictive? On the contrary, CBD has recently gotten some attention for its potential to help free people from drug and alcohol abuse. Research focuses on CBD’s pharmacotherapeutic potential with regard to its relevance to help in preventing drug use relapse. It is believed that CBD is effective when it comes to targeting risk conditions of drug usage relapse by minimizing stress and anxiety associated with drug prompts and mediating anti-depressant activity. What’s more, CBD appears to affect the brain circuitry that manages drug craving and looks for activities triggered by drug-related stress and context.                                                                       

Taking into account the behavioral and neuropharmacological effects of CBD and its role in the neurocircuitry for controlling addiction, the propositions to use CBD for the development of drug addiction treatments has gained traction in the scientific community researching therapeutic solutions for drug relapse and addiction.  

Research shows that CBD can assist in combating the adverse effects of THC, like cannabis withdrawal signs. In one study, researchers gave CBD to a 19-year-old girl experiencing cannabis withdrawal signs over a period of 10 days. This decreased her withdrawal signs. Another study from 2010 (in Neuropsychopharmacology) monitored 94 cannabis consumers to find out the role CBD-to-THC ratios played in supporting drug effects and attentional predisposition to drug stimuli. The findings showed that as compared with low-CBD strain smokers, high-CBD strain users exhibited diminished attentional bias to food and drug stimuli. The conclusion from the study was that CBD had the potential as a viable cannabis dependence treatment and could provide other possible treatments for other addictions. 

cigarette ashtrayAdditional Applications

Existent research also indicates that CBD oil can assist in preventing addiction to other dangerous substances like opioids and tobacco. A 2013 Addictive Behaviors report revealed the efficacy of CBD as a method of reducing tobacco usage. The study involved 24 tobacco users, split into two groups. Scientists gave one group a CBD inhaler and the other one a placebo. They told them to take the inhaler when they felt like smoking. After a week, those who received CBD treatment decreased the cigarettes they smoked by 40%, while those treated with the placebo exhibited no difference.

CBD has also shown its potential when it comes to curbing the usage of other addictive substances. In a nutshell, CBD may be effective when it comes to preventing and/or reducing drug use or dependence.

CBD Side Effects

CBD doesn’t have similar addictive effects as THC. But a person who consumes large quantities could likely experience anxiety or difficulty sleeping if they stopped using it suddenly. For this reason, it’s integral that you consider possible side effects associated with CBD before you start consuming it.

Mayo Clinic suggests that CBD usage has the potential of causing drowsiness, reduced appetite, diarrhea, and dry mouth. With its small potential for abuse and addiction, the withdrawal effects of CBD should be minimal. However, every user should weigh the benefits versus potential risk for themselves.

Conclusion: Is CBD Addictive?

Although prolonged cannabis usage may enhance the risk of dependency, CBD alone does not. Initial evidence shows that CBD may assist in treating substance use and abuse. But studies are ever continuing. Additionally, research indicates that CBD is an effective and safe treatment for severe kinds of childhood epilepsy. Recent evidence also shows that it can assist in alleviating chronic pain and anxiety. We do still need extensive research into the potential applications and effects of CBD.  

Though CBD is a safe substance, it’s best to monitor any substance. Learn its effect on your body and mind. Your objective should be to achieve overall wellness and balance. So if CBD is positively influencing your life, carry on with it.

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