You’re probably asking, “How can CBD treat addictions?” Seems pretty bizarre, right? Seems like CBD can cure anything right now. But as bizarre as it may seem, there’s actually a ton of medical research backing the effectiveness of using CBD for addiction, and when you think about how CBD interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), it all makes sense.
The reason why CBD has shown to be so helpful with addictions is because of how CBD affects our bodies. When you take CBD, you’re supplementing an internal system known as the endocannabinoid system. Discovered by Dr. Rahael Mechoulam from Hebrew University in 1992, this system is found across our brain, organs, glands, connective tissue and immune cells. It also has regulatory roles in many physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory. In this system, cannabinoids can help regulate every physiological system such as our nervous system, digestive system, reproductive system, immune system, endocrine system, and muscular system.
Take alcohol for example. It damages our body in two main areas: our liver and our brain. Between these two, the reason one starts to rely on alcohol and relapses into a habit of drinking is because of the latter. Excessive alcohol causes neurodegeneration, which means that it starts to slowly kill off the neurons in our brain. This impairment causes behavioral and cognitive changes that increases the tendency for us to chronically relapse into substance abuse.
One of CBD’s main benefits is known to be as a neuroprotectant. This means it protects (and even repairs) the brain from the damages caused by substances such as alcohol.
There was a study done recently on mice (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41386-018-0050-8), where researchers ran a series of tests to determine the “anti-relapse” potential of transdermal CBD. In the study, researchers administered transdermal CBD to animal subjects who had a history of self-administering cocaine or alcohol and exhibited characteristics of a relapsing addict such as dependency, anxiety, and impulsivity.
After administering CBD once every 24 hours for just 7 days, the researchers made a profound discovery. Based on their test results, the researchers concluded that the brief 7-day period of CBD treatment not only prevented the development of previously displayed “addict-like” characteristics, it deterred the subjects from relapsing for 5 months — even though the CBD cleared from the brain and body after 3 days.
In another study on nicotine addictions found this: “a pilot, randomized double blind placebo-controlled study set out to assess the impact of the ad-hoc use of cannabidiol (CBD) in smokers who wished to stop smoking. 24 smokers were randomized to receive an inhaler of CBD (n=12) or placebo (n=12) for one week, they were instructed to use the inhaler when they felt the urge to smoke. Over the treatment week, placebo treated smokers showed no differences in number of cigarettes smoked. In contrast, those treated with CBD significantly reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by ~40% during treatment. Results also indicated some maintenance of this effect at follow-up. These preliminary data, combined with the strong preclinical rationale for use of this compound, suggest CBD to be a potential treatment for nicotine addiction that warrants further exploration.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23685330) Here is another study done on nicotine withdrawal: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25258021
There is certainly evidence mounting up that CBD can help with addictions of all kinds. This offers hope for people who are struggling with addictions.
Information taken from Ministry of Hemp, ProjectCBD, NCBI and Medium.