Published on: 27/01/2023
Already known for its anti-inflammatory and calming properties, cbd could soon also become a valid ally in the treatment of nicotine and opioid addiction.
The health effects of cannabis derivatives have been the subject of numerous medical-scientific studies for years.
Given the promising results obtained in the treatment of chronic pain, some more recent studies have focused on cannabidiol (CBD) and its potential to counteract addiction to nicotine and opiates.
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We will deal with this here. First, we will try to understand if CBD can be addictive and then, we will examine under what circumstances it can help fight addictions.
Read also: Does CBD oil lower blood pressure and fight hypertension? The opinion of science
Does CBD pose any health risks?
Cannabidiol is a derivative of cannabis present in many products that can be legally purchased in the UK.
The law that gave birth to CBD cannabis supply chains, in fact, allows the cultivation and processing of plants with a THC concentration of less than 0.2%.
It should be noted that the law does not provide for limitations on CBD, because cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis and therefore does not have psychotropic and doping effects (as THC does).
In a 2018 WHO report, which contains the state of the art of scientific research on the subject, it is explicitly stated that CBD can be taken without particular health risks.
In addition, according to the report, CBD would not induce the physical dependence that substances of abuse usually induce.
According to the WHO, substance dependence is that mental and physical state that determines the need for continued use of the substance to avoid withdrawal syndrome.
CBD and addiction: what do the studies say?
After all, that cannabidiol can help overcome opiate addiction is not only based on the opinion of WHO experts, but also seems to be confirmed by various studies.
A French-Swiss team of researchers from the University of Paris-Saclay and the University of Lausanne came to the same conclusion after conducting a systematic review of studies on the subject with the aim of evaluating the impact of CBD on substance use disorders.
The review, titled “Cannabidiol in the context of substance use disorder treatment: a systematic review” and published in Addictive Behaviors in 2022, takes into account researches conducted in humans and animals
Either way, CBD would prove useful as an adjunct in the treatment of substance use disorders.
The active ingredient appears to intervene in the signals sent by nerve cells by interacting with neurotransmitters. In this way, cannabidiol would help patients deal with withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety and high heart rate, more easily.
Animal research, in particular, has shown its efficacy against alcohol, opiate, and methamphetamine use, while human research has found positive effects of CBD on nicotine, cannabis and opiate use.
Finally, we must not forget that since cannabis has been used for years for the treatment of chronic pain, we have accumulated useful data and information to understand its impact on addictions.
For example, Dr. Elliot J. Krane of Stanford Children’s Health suggests that medical cannabis may be beneficial in patients who have not responded to conventional pain therapy.
These benefits would derive from a lower use of opioids, which are gradually being replaced by CBD-based preparations.
Read also: Properties of hemp oil and CBD oil: these are the main differences
In conclusion, CBD is not addictive, but THC is.
In summary, the first scientific results on the impact of CBD in the treatment of substance use disorders are promising, but the studies are still ongoing and it is too early to be sure.
According to the evidence collected so far, cannabidiol-based preparations do not induce addiction, unlike classic marijuana which, because it contains THC, is in all respects a psychoactive substance.
Precisely for this reason, CBD lends itself to being used in the treatment of addiction to nicotine and opiates. As some research would show, moreover, its impact would also seem positive in the treatment of pain therapy.
However, it should not be underestimated that when we say that CBD is not addictive, we are referring to the physical addiction induced by substances of abuse.
The story is different if we take into account the psychological dependence generated by CBD, for which we still do not have scientific evidence.
Even in medical cannabis in more or less high concentrations THC can be present and, therefore, the risk of creating addiction remains.
Surely, the addiction that is generated with cannabis is less than that derived from drug use, such as heroin.
However, the fact is that marijuana is addictive and if you stop taking it, it can lead to withdrawal symptoms, which are irritability, nausea, sleep disturbances, etc.
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