Is CBD Addictive?by JEREMY BELLAND
Is CBD Addictive?
Is CBD addictive? While some scientific evidence associates heavy use of cannabis with an increase in dependence in some people, CBD does not seem to be addictive. Still, research into the long-term effects of CBD is in the early stages.
Academics, researchers, and healthcare professionals continue to explore the potential benefits of CBD. One of over 400 chemical compounds, cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid present in hemp. UnlikeTHC, CBD doesn’t have psychoactive effects.
Still, people often ask, “Is CBD addictive?”
Below, we look at some of the research regarding the addictive potential of this cannabinoid.
So, Is It Addictive?
On its own, CBD doesn’t appear to have addictive effects. Generally speaking, some researchers believe this stems from the fact that it usually doesn’t produce intoxicating effects. Per a Pre-Review Report from the World Health Organization (WHO), there is evidence from a controlled study that indicates CBD does not have a connection with abuse potential. Similarly, a small study from 2016 of 31 adults showed that while THC produced psychological and physical effects, CBD had no impact on blood pressure, cognitive function, or heart rate.
Moreover, CBD performed similarly to a placebo when it came to self-reported feelings of intoxication. However, the THC group often felt sedated and euphoric.
CBD and Addiction Treatment
More than not being addictive, CBD shows potential as a treatment to help drug addiction. According to some preliminary evidence, CBD has the potential to lower the likelihood of addiction in cocaine and methamphetamine use. Additionally, it may prevent relapse after a period of sobriety.
Moreover, the authors of this 2015 review found evidence of CBD as an aid to treatment for cannabis and nicotine addiction.
What Are the Effects of CBD?
Generally speaking, CBD does not produce a “high” effect, which people tend to associate with cannabis use. Moreover, it has the potential to aid treatment for a broad spectrum of medical conditions.
In fact, CBD has been widely researched as an alternative treatment for epileptic seizures.
CBD has the potential to reduce anxiety. Unfortunately, there’s some conflicting evidence in current research. As such, researchers need time to conduct well-controlled trials to verify their findings.
According to a 2019 study, researchers looked at the effects of CBD on 72 adults with sleep problems and anxiety. In the first month of treatment, almost 80% showed a reduction in anxiety symptoms. Moreover, about 66% reported improved quality in sleep.
In 2017, a study showed 60 adults with no history of mental illness, dependence on drugs, or anxiety received varying doses of CBD or 1 mg of clonazepam before giving a presentation. Those who received one dose of CBD showed significant reductions in social anxiety with public speaking. However, the other dosage levels showed typical levels of anxiety.
Moreover, clonazepam reduced heart rate or blood pressure while CBD showed no physical impact.
Epileptic Seizures & CBD
During a clinical trial in 2018, 60 adults and 72 children with treatment-resistant epilepsy received relative doses of CBD daily. The dosage was 5-50 mg per kg of body weight.
Researchers in the study reported that 2/3s of the participants saw a 25% reduction in the frequency of their seizures during the treatment.
Additionally, the FDA approved Epidiolex in 2018. This is the first pure-CBD treatment for seizures. The FDA approved this medicine for rare forms of epilepsy. It cited clinical evidence to suggest people with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastuaut syndrome take Epidiolex along with other medications. In combination, they had fewer seizures than those who took a placebo along with other seizure medications.
Chronic Pain Relief
In 2020, a study showed that full-spectrum CBD extracted from hemp reduced neuropathic pain in mice. Another recent study out of New Zealand researched CBD use in 400 people with mental health and chronic pain conditions. Among participants, people reported improvements in their quality of life after CBD use.
Moreover, the researchers stated that CBD use did not show significant side effects. Additionally, participants reported improvements in their appetite and sleep patterns.
In one 2020 review, the authors state that cannabis-based treatments have the potential to be an alternative to opioid-based pain medication. However, the authors point to the fact that many studies used a combination of CBD and THC. As such, it is difficult to assess the potential of CBD for pain management on its own.
What Are the Side Effects or Risks?
As stated earlier, there’s only one FDA-approved CBD product. However, they do list the potential side effects of CBD.
- Loss of appetite
- Fertility issues
- Liver problems
- Interactions with alcohol, illicit drugs, and prescription medications
While CBD does have some risk for these adverse effects, authors of a 2017 review suggest that these tend to be less severe than other treatments’ side effects.
Is CBD Addictive? The Bottom Line
While we took a look at the question “Is CBD addictive,” we also explored the potential of CBD. First, there’s always a risk of dependence with chronic cannabis use. However, CBD on its own doesn’t have much potential for abuse or addiction.
In fact, there’s early evidence that shows potential for CBD as an aid to the treatment of substance abuse. Still, research is ongoing.
Studies suggest, though, that CBD is effective for rare forms of childhood epilepsy. Moreover, current evidence suggests CBD has the potential to reduce chronic pain and anxiety.
Still, researchers need time to carry out high-quality, large-scale trials. This would allow them to thoroughly investigate the potential of CBD.
If you want to try CBD yourself, it’s a good idea to purchase products from a company you trust. Always look for third-party testing to ensure you understand the contents of the products.