For many people hearing about or trying CBD for the first time, a number of questions and queries will come to mind. These questions may be to do with the legality of the compound, the potential health benefits to be had and, of course, any side effects that may occur. For example, one of the most common questions we hear from the CBD-uninitiated is this: Is CBD addictive? Luckily, there is a very simple answer.
UNDERSTANDING THE ADDICTION POTENTIAL OF CANNABIS
While CBD is derived from the cannabis plant – a plant known for inducing a euphoric “high” – the cannabinoid itself is non-intoxicating. The high experienced after the consumption of cannabis comes from another cannabinoid, THC. It is this cannabinoid that is also largely responsible for the addiction potential of cannabis.
THC – also known as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol – interacts with receptors in our body’s endocannabinoid system in addition to other systems. One type of interaction that plays a particular role in the effects of THC is the compound’s interaction with the reward system. That is, THC exposure stimulates neurons in this system which triggers the release of dopamine, a messenger chemical often referred to as the “feel-good” hormone.
It is believed to be largely this interaction that leads to the drug-seeking behaviours sometimes associated with cannabis use. But when it comes to CBD, it’s a whole different story.
CBD AND ADDICTION
Cannabidiol (CBD) has become well-known for its health and wellness potential. Products like CBD Gummies, CBD Oils, and CBD Drinks have become commonplace in the UK market, and many others around the world. This popularity comes down to a number of factors.
Of course, the growing body of evidence supporting CBD’s impressive potential for wellness plays a major role. As consumers aim to take a more natural approach to things such as anxiety, stress and pain relief, CBD is enjoying more than just a day in the sun. But the other properties of CBD also add to this popularity – in particular, the compound’s apparent tolerance and safety as well as the lack of intoxication and addiction associated with its use.
As consumer interest in this versatile cannabis compound continued to increase over the last decade, the World Health Organisation released a statement regarding the nature of CBD. In 2017, they concluded that “in its pure state, cannabidiol does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm.” But CBD’s great reputation when it comes to addiction may not end there.
IS CBD AN ANTI-ADDICTION COMPOUND?
Some evidence even suggests that CBD may reduce some of the effects of THC, including “intoxication, psychomotor impairment, anxiety, and psychotic symptoms.” These findings have led many researchers and consumers to wonder: could CBD actually be an anti-addiction compound?
Cannabidiol’s potential regulatory effects could mean that it can reduce any drug-seeking behaviour associated with THC use, though much more research is needed to draw a full conclusion. Nonetheless, researchers have used this theory as a basis for studies into other drugs, including cocaine, opioids, and tobacco. And the results are, so far, promising.
Not only has a recent study found that CBD can inhibit the metabolism of nicotine – meaning that smokers may be able to wait longer before feeling the need to smoke again – but other clinical and preclinical trials have yielded similar results.
That isn’t to say that taking a few drops of CBD oil will definitely help you to quit smoking. However, research on this topic is increasing. While clinical evidence is still in its infancy, these potential anti-addiction properties add to the already impressive list of health and wellness benefits widely attributed to CBD. Still, one thing is for sure: adding CBD products to your wellness routine is a safe option with no potential for addiction.