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CBD and Addiction

CBD is showing interesting potential in the realm of addiction, and indeed the endocannabinoid system plays a role in drug dependency, particularly as it relates to the modulation of dopamine levels.1

CBD specifically has been shown to protect nerve cells from alcohol-induced neurodegeneration, with neurodegeneration being a major consequence of alcoholism.2 Alcohol-related liver damage has also been shown to be reduced by CBD in animal studies.3 Another animal study shows that CBD can inhibit the drug-seeking behaviors, anxiety, and impulsivity common in addiction.4

Human clinical trials show that CBD can be very effective when it comes to quitting smoking, with the total number of cigarettes smoked per day decreasing by up to 40% when participants were given a CBD inhaler to use when they felt cravings.5 CBD is also being looked at as a way to alleviate the symptoms of opioid withdrawal,6 and has been shown to help reduce the nagging memories associated with drug relapse.7

On top of all that, considering CBD’s general anti-anxiety and neuroprotective properties, its lack of impairment, and its general safety, it shows great promise for treating addiction.

  1. E. L. Gardner, “Endocannabinoid Signaling System and Brain Reward: Emphasis on Dopamine,” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 81, no. 2 (2005): 263–84, doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2005.01.032.
  2. Daniel Liput et al., “Transdermal Delivery of Cannabidiol Attenuates Binge Alcohol-Induced Neurodegeneration in a Rodent Model of an Alcohol Use Disorder,” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 111 (2013): 120-127, doi:/10.1016/j. pbb.2013.08.013.
  3. Yuping Wang et al., “Cannabidiol Attenuates Alcohol-Induced Liver Steatosis, Metabolic Dysregulation, Inflammation and Neutrophil-Mediated Injury,” Scientific Reports 7, no. 1 (2017), doi:10.1038/s41598-017-10924-8.
  4. Gustavo Gonzalez-Cuevas et al., “Unique Treatment Potential of Cannabidiol for the Prevention of Relapse to Drug Use: Preclinical Proof of Principle,” Neuropsychopharmacology (2018), doi:10.1038/s41386-018-0050-8.
  5. Chandni Hindocha et al., “Cannabidiol Reverses Attentional Bias to Cigarette Cues in a Human Experimental Model of Tobacco Withdrawal,” Addiction, May (2018), doi:10.1111/add.14243.
  6. Yasmin L. Hurd et al., “Early Phase in the Development of Cannabidiol as a Treatment for Addiction: Opioid Relapse Takes Initial Center Stage,” Neurotherapeutics 12, no. 4 (2015): 807–15, doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0373-7.
  7. Yanhua Ren et al., “Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychotropic Component of Cannabis, Inhibits Cue-Induced Heroin Seeking and Normalizes Discrete Mesolimbic Neuronal Disturbances,” Journal of Neuroscience 29, no. 47 (2010): 14764–69, doi:10.1523/jneurosci.4291-09.2009.