CBD To Treat Addiction: Support For Quitting?31 July 2020
Could you use CBD to treat addiction and beat it more easily? For a long time, researchers studied how addictions form and what happens if you try to quit them. Today, science investigates whether CBD can help with this process. CBD is a promising natural remedy, that hardly has any side effects. Will it help you get rid of your addiction quickly or is it not that simple?
The Trouble With Addiction
You can get addicted to substances (like drugs, alcohol or eating too much) or to certain behaviours (i.e., gambling, stealing, sex). Whatever your addiction is, it’s clear that it’s an unhealthy habit. An addiction not only is bad for your body and mind, at a certain point it can ruin your normal daily life. Your friendships, family, finances and job all will suffer.
However, it’s not easy to quit an addiction. What happens if you try to stop has long been the subject of study. The addiction, in fact, has a positive reward for you: from feeling good to getting high. If you choose to break your habit, that reward disappears. You’ll likely get withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are expressed both physically and mentally. They can include trembling, feeling gloomy, sweating, insomnia, depression, stress, anxiety, and more.
Addicted people experience cravings, a sense of longing or a desire for their drug or addictive behaviour. This craving is very strong and often hard to ignore. Quitting an addiction is all the more difficult when you feel ill and down. Usually, people get better results when they seek guidance. To get off of cocaine or heroin, treatments frequently use medications that are less harmful than the drug itself. For instance, certain sedatives used to counter addiction, such as methadone, are addictive themselves. Clearly, they can’t be used for long.
Research Into CBD To Treat Addiction
Finding out how to quit your addiction is crucial, because addictions can easily turn into health threats. In 2015, a study into the effects of CBD to treat addiction yielded interesting results. The study focussed on using CBD against addiction to morphine in rats. The animals received a dose of morphine together with a dose of CBD. It turned out that after the trial, they did not crave morphine as much as before. This also seemed to be the case when given CBD with cocaine.
These animal studies were followed by research on humans. The study of Yasmin Hurd was published in may 2019 in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Here, 42 Men and women previously addicted to heroin, used CBD to avoid relapse. As part of the experiment, the participants watched videos, that could trigger their desire for drugs, as well as neutral videos.
The group of people was divided into three groups: participants that received 400 mg and 800 mg of CBD respectively, as well as a group that got a placebo. This was a double blind study design, which means nor the participants, nor the researchers were informed who received what. The study lasted for three days. It was clear that the ex addicts felt more cravings, after watching the drug related videos, compared to the neutral videos.
But the participants who took CBD, were less affected by this than the people who received the placebo. Also, they didn’t suffer as much from anxiety, and their heart beat was lower, as were their cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone, so they didn’t feel as stressed. The effects of CBD were already visible an hour after administering it, and still visible until after a week of the intervention.
Why Can People Use CBD To Treat Addiction?
Scientists are still trying to identify the exact mechanism by which CBD works against addiction. Generally speaking, addictions affect the reward system of the brain. Interestingly, CBD is known to work on the very same reward system. The precise mechanism by which CBD can help addicted people is still being identified. What we do know about using CBD to treat addiction, however, is that kicking the habit causes stress and anxiety. CBD could help calm you down, reduce anxiety, and lower your heartbeat. These effects make you better equipped to handle stress, which is very helpful if you want to get rid of your addiction. If your stress level doesn’t rise to the point where you give in to that cigarette, piece of candy, or whatever you addiction is, you’ve won another battle. You didn’t act on your craving, and that’s another important step towards recovery.
Also, breaking an addiction can cause gloomy and depressive feelings. CBD (a cannabinoid) is a compound that influences the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating emotions. This way, CBD can help you feel more positive, even when you’re overcoming your addiction.
More Research Is Needed
There definitely needs to be done more research into the possibilities of CBD to treat addiction. In fact, there isn’t sufficient evidence yet that it’s beneficial, because most of the studies were done on animals. Furthermore, it’s important to find out if CBD helps only for a short time or also in the long run. In that case, it could also be used to avoid relapse. CBD (both CBD Oil and CBD Tablets) seems a promising remedy. It could be the helping hand that people need to get rid of their addiction. It is very likely that the future will see more applications of using CBD to treat addiction.