CBD, a non-addictive ingredient found in the cannabis plant, has become more popular in the world of alternative medicine. Available in the form of creams, tinctures, gummies, oils, and capsules, CBD has received attention for its supposed health benefits, which range from pain relief to improved sleep. There is also some evidence that CBD may play a role in fighting against addiction. The latest research tells the story.
CBD as an Alternative to Pain Medications
Beyond weakening drug-related memories and preventing relapse, CBD may prevent addiction by serving as an alternative to addictive opiate pain medications. In fact, a 2018 study in the Archives of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences found that oils containing a mixture of CBD and THC (Full Spectrum CBD Oil), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, were more effective than prescription pain medications were for relieving pain. In addition, many patients were able to discontinue their use of opiate pain medications after beginning treatment with CBD. By offering an alternative to opiate pain medications, CBD can prevent misuse associated with these substances.
Based on the research, CBD appears it may have a potential positive effects in preventing addiction of opiate medications, reducing drug memories, weakening drug-seeking behavior, and assisting with smoking cessation. The research with CBD seems to suggest that it can help with addiction treatment by reducing drug-seeking and preventing relapse. Those who are in treatment for addiction or smoking cessation may benefit from using CBD or adding it to their usual treatment regimen. More research is needed to determine the specific effects of CBD on humans in treatment for addiction, but the current scientific literature suggests that this substance shows promise for fighting against the drug epidemic.
CBD and Hard Drug Addiction
CBD may be effective for reducing marijuana and cigarette use, and animal research shows that it may also be useful for treating dependence upon powerfully addictive drugs like methamphetamine and opiates. For example, in a study in a 2018 edition of the Journal of Psychopharmacology, rats were trained to administer themselves methamphetamine by pushing a lever. They were then treated with CBD, which reduced their motivation to administer methamphetamine and prevented them from seeking methamphetamine.
Similar effects have been seen with opiate addiction. In a 2009 study in the Journal of Neuroscience, rats who were trained to self-administer heroin were exposed to a cue that encouraged them to administer heroin. CBD weakened their drug-seeking behavior when they were exposed to the cue. This research suggests that CBD may reduce drug-seeking and therefore be useful in addiction treatment.
Effects of CBD on the Brain
The impact of CBD on drug-seeking behavior may be a result of the effects of this substance on the brain. For instance, scientists writing for a 2017 publication of the British Journal of Pharmacology have reported that studies show that CBD can interfere with the formation of memories associated with drug use. By weakening drug-related memories, CBD may prevent people from glamorizing their drug use and remembering the euphoric effects of drugs, thereby reducing the risk of relapse.
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CBD for Stopping Smoking
Whether you’re looking to give up nicotine, marijuana, or both, CBD may play a role in helping you to quit for good. A case study, published in a 2015 edition of Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, followed a patient who had bipolar disorder and a marijuana addiction. This patient was able to stop using marijuana after he began treatment with CBD oil; his sleep also improved, while his anxiety levels were reduced.
CBD can also make it easier to cut back on cigarettes. In 2013, a study in Addictive Behaviors found that cigarette smokers were able to reduce their cigarette consumption by 40 percent after they started using CBD. On the other hand, study participants who took a placebo did not cut back on cigarettes, showing that the CBD did have a meaningful effect.