CBD and Addiction: Can CBD Aid Addiction Recovery?
CBD and addiction is a topic that research is only just beginning to shed light on. Many people are beginning to investigate whether CBD could help with addiction recovery. And in fact, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that this is the case! In this article, we’ve explored how CBD could support addiction recovery from opioids, alcohol, marijuana and nicotine. We’ve also included some further scientific reading so that you can stay informed!
Trigger warning: This article contains images of addictive substances.
CBD reduces withdrawal side-effects
The first way that CBD could help those suffering from addiction is by reducing the nasty side-effects that come with withdrawal.
A recent study investigated the potential benefits of CBD for those suffering from opioid addiction And it concluded that CBD was able to significantly reduce the effects of opioid withdrawal.
The study concluded:
“Patients with substance use disorders often present with various psychiatric and medical symptoms that are reduced by CBD—symptoms such as anxiety, mood symptoms, insomnia, and pain”
And these symptoms are not unique to opioid withdrawal. In fact, they’re common to many types of addiction, including cannabis, alcohol and nicotine addiction. And if you’d like to read some more studies on how CBD can help each withdrawal symptom, we’ve collected some further reading for you!
- CBD has neuroprotective properties that decreases stress vulnerability and exhibit anxiety-reducing effects
- Evidence to show that CBD acts as an antidepressant in animal trials
- CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety in people with social phobias and generalised anxiety disorders
CBD can reduce cravings
One of the most difficult aspects of any addiction can be the intense cravings. However, CBD has been shown to help manage and reduce these feelings in addicts.
One recent study investigated the effect of CBD on regular smokers, and it found that CBD reduced the number of cigarettes consumed by the participants. And another study noted that after receiving 800mg of CBD, patients perceived cigarettes to be less rewarding, and found images of cigarettes more unappealing. In fact, the same conclusion was reached in a similar study around CBD and cannabis addiction. In this study, CBD reduced “wanting” and “liking” of cannabis-related materials.
And more anecdotally, you don’t have to look far to find accounts from recovering addicts about how CBD helped them to beat their addiction! Many people have reported that vaping or ingesting CBD has helped them to significantly reduce their alcohol and marijuana cravings. And as craving is directly associated with drug and alcohol relapse, targeting this symptom is crucial to overcoming addiction.
CBD can reduce physical damage
The toll that addiction takes on the human body can be staggering. We’ve already mentioned the unwanted mental side-effects that come with addiction recovery, such as anxiety, depression, and irritability. However, the body can also suffer from a wide variety of sometimes lethal physical damage following substance misuse.
However, there is significant evidence to suggest that CBD can also help to repair the body and aid physical recovery following addiction. And whilst more research and human trials are needed to confirm this, results so far are promising!
A recent study in rodents found that CBD was able to:
- Reduce cocaine-induced liver damage
- Mitigate the negative cardiac effects of THC
- Reduce neurotoxicity caused by alcohol binge-drinking
So, essentially, what this means for CBD and addiction is that CBD could help undo the damage caused by substance abuse. In addition to mental recovery, researchers are optimistic that CBD can help your body to heal physically.
CBD is non-addictive
Another reason why CBD is considered helpful to recovering addicts is that, unlike many pharmaceutical options, CBD is non-addictive.
Unfortunately, many recovering addicts often replace one addictive substance with another. For example, many recovering drug addicts will use alcohol or cigarettes to fill the void left by an addictive substance. However, further addiction can also occur due to prescribed medications. Many anti-addiction medications trick the brain into thinking that it is still getting the substance it is addicted to. However, this can cause a further cycle of addiction which can be difficult to break!
CBD, however, is non-psychoactive. It does not cause a euphoria or any kind of ‘high’ feeling. In fact, it is classed a ‘non-rewarding’ substance – meaning that it does not cause drug-seeking behaviour of chasing a high.
For CBD and addiction, this is a positive step. Because it means that addicts are able to benefit from the effects of CBD without becoming addicted. Therefore, CBD could help to break the cycle of addiction!
CBD could help prevent relapses
The last important factor relating to CBD and addiction: CBD has a significant and long-term impact on preventing relapses.
In a previous paragraph, we talked about how CBD can reduce cravings, effectively making an addictive substance seem less appealing. Well, it’s also important to note that this positive effect lasted two or more weeks after administration. Also, CBD was shown to be effective when taken both during active heroin use, or during a period of abstinence.
The study concluded:
“Moreover, even when administered during active heroin intake, the ability of CBD to inhibit relapse behavior was still apparent weeks after the last exposure. This suggests that CBD could impact the course of heroin dependence even following a potential lapse condition after a period of abstinence.”
This is so interesting because this benefit isn’t currently offered by any medications currently used for the treatment of heroin abuse.
CBD and addiction
In conclusion, CBD can help to aid addiction recovery in a number of ways including:
- Reducing withdrawal side effects such as irritability, mood swings and insomnia
- Helping to reduce cravings and making an addictive substance seem less appealing or rewarding
- Reducing physical damage to the body
- Not contributing to further addiction
- Helping to prevent relapses in the long-term
Of course, much more research is needed to make a concrete case for CBD and addiction. However, so far researchers are optimistic about the positive benefits of CBD for addiction recovery!
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