Recent studies have shown promise in the use of cannabidiol (CBD) in helping addicts maintain sobriety after successful research trials with lab rats. CBD has shown potential as a treatment for a variety of psychiatric and neurological conditions and is currently being studied as a way to help addicts in the recovery process, treating symptoms associated with drug and alcohol addiction.
CBD, a cannabinoid found naturally in the hemp plant, is a non-psychoactive, natural, safe, and non-addictive compound. It does not cause gastrointestinal damage and is not known to be habit-forming. It is a natural pain relief option with very few side effects, which gives it an edge over many prescription and over-the-counter medications, especially as it continues to perform successfully in medical studies. CBD without THC does not provide the high or rush associated with hemp products – it relieves the pain with no psychoactive effect.
Both studies and reported evidence from CBD users have proven it to be helpful in reducing the symptoms of many ailments, including anxiety, stress and chronic pain.
The body’s endocannabinoid system is the main component in all results, consisting of receptors in the brain, organs, glands, and cells. This system is responsible for a number of metabolic functions and central nervous system activities, including memory, motor control, pain perception, mood, sleep, bone health, and appetite, among others, all with the goal of keeping a stable balance throughout the body and mind.
As with much chronic illness, addiction is a disease that often leads to relapse and remission. Since CBD is not addictive and not psychoactive, it is proving to help reduce cravings and anxiety associated with addiction, regulate the body’s receptors through the endocannabinoid system, and provide relief for withdrawal symptoms.
At the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, scientists studied lab rats addicted to cocaine or alcohol and treated them with CBD as a gel applied to the skin of the addicted rats every day for a week. The rats had a history of self-administering cocaine or alcohol and exhibited addictive behaviors.
Rats and humans recovering from addictions are known to return to their addictions when faced with stress or anxiety. The results of this study showed that the rats exhibited fewer addictive behaviors when in stressful situations.
While the brains and plasma of the rats were clear of CBD after three days post-treatment, but the effects continued. Researchers continued to study the rats and found that up to five months later, there were still visible positive effects of CBD therapy. In stressful situations, the rats still relapsed at a lower rate. The CBD also had a reduced effect on anxiety and impulsive behaviors.
This study and others have proven the potential for CBD to treat opiate abuse and addiction, especially with the double benefit of long-lasting results after the brief treatment.
A study conducted in London found a connection between CBD and nicotine addiction. Smokers were given an inhaler with CBD and a placebo. The participants with CBD showed a reduction in tobacco consumption and a decreased craving for nicotine.
Today, the most common use of CBD and hemp is for pain relief. With the right dosage, CBD offers a natural, safe, effective alternative to opiates for pain relief. Opiates can be a deadly option, prescribed to patients with no history of addiction, who leave the hospital with an addiction that may ruin or end their lives. Studies have shown that those who take CBD as pain relief are less likely to become dependent. There is also evidence that CBD may alter the addictive pathways, as seen in the lab rat experiments, which could help those with an existing opioid dependency to overcome addiction.
Most people do not experience any side effects from CBD, while opioids can cause nausea and vomiting in the short-term and increased risk for heart attacks or deadly overdose in the long-term.
Cannabinoids can also be used in combination with opioid medication, helping to reduce the number of opioids required, lessen tolerance, and reduce the severity of withdrawal. CBD is becoming increasingly used in rehab cases to help with withdrawal and is showing a lot of promise.