CBD Addiction: Does it Cause Dependence?


CBD Addiction: Does It Cause Dependence? (Your Questions Answered)

CBD addiction: Is CBD oil addictive? You might have asked that question when considering if CBD oil is right for you. After all, an unwanted habit is probably not on your bucket list. Who needs the expense and stigma of a dependency? Not you!

You might have heard good things about CBD oil for anxiety or pain relief,  but you’re wondering if CBD addiction is a potential side-effect, and you’re hesitant to try it.

Read on to find out more about CBD and addiction, and whether it’s the best choice to manage your pain, anxiety, or other health issues.

Is CBD A Drug?

First, we need to understand the definition of a drug. The Oxford dictionary gives two definitions of a drug:

  1. A medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.
  2. A substance taken for its narcotic or stimulant effects, often illegally.

As CBD oil is naturally derived from plants, it is not considered a drug in the sense of a pharmaceutical drug. However, it may be used to manufacture pharmaceutical-grade products for the treatment of health conditions.

As CBD oil has no narcotic or stimulant effects, it is technically not an illicit drug, either, although in some countries or states it is treated as one due to its close relationship with marijuana. It is worth noting that the FDA has reserved the right to regulate or control all cannabis products, regardless of whether they are classed as pharmaceutical drugs or not.

To date, the FDA has approved Epidiolex, a drug derived from cannabis, for the treatment of epilepsy. It has also approved three cannabis-related products.

The definition is a little blurry when it comes to CBD, but in practice, CBD oil is neither an illicit drug nor a pharmaceutical drug.

Is CBD Habit-Forming?

Can I get addicted to CBD oil? You might have asked this question before using CBD for anxiety or pain relief. It’s a reasonable question to ask if you don’t want to face CBD addiction in the future.

But there’s good news! CBD oil is not addictive. Here’s what the World Health Organization had to say about CBD addiction:

“In an animal drug discrimination model, CBD failed to substitute for THC. In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”

In other words, there was no indication amongst human trial participants that CBD causes dependency.

In fact, research suggests that the opposite is true. Early studies have shown promising signs that CBD could be useful for treating cocaine and methamphetamine addiction and associated disorders. It could even help to reverse the harmful effects of stimulant drugs on memory pathways, restore cognitive deficits, and reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms in people trying to break addictions.

A preliminary study also found that CBD may be useful in helping smokers to cut down on the number of cigarettes smoked, leading to speculation that it may be a useful tool for smokers who wish to quit.

What Is The Downside Of CBD?

Are there CBD oil side effects? Are there potential risks you should be aware of before you take it?

Although uncommon, CBD can cause the following side effects:

  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Adverse interactions with other medication
  • Reduced appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness

How Long Does CBD Withdrawal Last?

If you have asked this question, it’s important to note the difference between marijuana and CBD.

Marijuana is addictive due to its THC content. CBD oil has a very low THC content and is therefore not addictive. Even high doses of CBD over a prolonged period will not cause CBD addiction.

CBD oil has shown promise as an aid to combat marijuana addiction, due to its calming effects. Studies by the University College of London have shown that CBD can reduce the anxiety caused by cannabis withdrawal, and also restore cognitive deficits caused by cannabis use. In addition, it shows promise for its neuroprotective properties, helping to protect the brain against the effects of drug use.

Does CBD Make You Relaxed?

If you’re worried about the possible effects of CBD, you might wonder if it will make you uptight, anxious, or “high.”

THC can have those effects on users, but CBD does the opposite; it blocks or moderates the intoxicating effects of THC. So you can safely take CBD without worrying that it will cause your anxiety to skyrocket.

However, it is important to choose a CBD product from a reputable supplier who can guarantee that the amount of THC in the product is low. Products with unknown THC levels could still pose a risk for people with anxiety.

How Long Does It Take For Cannabinoid Receptors To Return To Normal?

Regular marijuana smokers were found to have changes to brain structure, especially after years of use. Users who began smoking marijuana at an early age were especially vulnerable to changes in brain structure.

Regular users also develop tolerance to cannabis, meaning that the effects of the “high” are less pronounced. This is because prolonged use causes the CB1 receptors in the brain to deactivate or reduce their activity (users feel “high” when the THC in marijuana binds to the CB1 receptors).

Although there seem to be no definitive answers on how long it takes to restore CB1 receptors to normal, many people report a timeframe of a few days to a few weeks. It depends on various factors such as the strength of the marijuana you smoke, how often you use it, and your biological makeup.

Can CBD Cause Rebound Anxiety?

Rebound anxiety occurs when coming off an anxiety medication (typically a member of the benzodiazepine family). The anxiety that can occur as part of the withdrawal process can be worse than the original problem.

The good news is that CBD is not habit-forming, so there is no withdrawal, and it does not “normalize” (meaning you need more and more of it to achieve the same effect). It doesn’t target dopamine receptors the way other drugs do, meaning there is no “reward” from a dopamine rush.

CBD does not cause rebound anxiety because there is no withdrawal. It is safe and effective for most people who are concerned about rebound anxiety.

CBD Addiction: Not What You Think

CBD addiction is not something you need to be concerned about. If anything, CBD has anti-addiction effects, so you can safely take CBD products from a reputable supplier without obtaining an unwanted habit.

Azriel Adelberg
About Azriel Adelberg

MSc Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley An Israeli born organic chemist and PROUD University of California, Berkeley graduate.

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