Could Cannabidiol Effectively Aid in the Intervention of Substance Addictions?

Could Cannabidiol Effectively Aid in the Intervention of Substance Addictions?

The expanding legality of the CBD Market has drawn attention from the medical community as concerns have risen over the safety and efficacy of these products. Studies have multiplied in recent years, leading to mounting evidence that Cannabidiol may be not only safe, but quite effective as well. One major concern raised by the medical community involved the possibility of addiction or dependence on Cannabidiol after chronic use. Fortunately, countless studies returned the same lack of evidence that CBD would present the possibility of addiction. In fact, these studies led to an evolving question: Could Cannabidiol Effectively Aid in the Intervention of Substance Addictions?

 Evidence Implicates the Endocannabinoid System in the Motivation for Drug Consumption

The endocannabinoid system is an important regulatory system involved in physiological homeostasis.  Endocannabinoid signaling is known to modulate neural development, immune function, metabolism, and emotional state. Accumulating evidence also implicates brain endocannabinoid signaling in the etiology of drug addiction. Drug addiction is characterized by compulsive drug seeking, loss of control in limiting drug intake, emergence of a negative emotional state in the absence of drug use and a persistent vulnerability to relapse to drug use during abstinence. Drug intake on the brain effects endocannabinoid signaling. Evidence implicates the endocannabinoid system in the motivation for drug consumption, and drug-induced alterations in endocannabinoid function that may contribute to various aspects of addiction.

Expanding Research and Studies

Cannabidiol Reduced Cigarette Consumption in Tobacco Smokers

 The endocannabinoid system is now thought to be intrinsic to reward and reinforcement (Serrano & Parsons, 2011) and several lines of evidence suggest that CBD may also be a useful treatment in nicotine dependence.

  One particular study set out to assess the impact of the use of an inhaler containing CBD on cigarette smoking in tobacco smokers. The main finding of this study showed a dramatic reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked across a 7 day period in the individuals using the CBD inhaler. This was in stark contrast to the evidence of no reduction in the placebo group. 

Both the CBD and placebo groups in this study showed reduced anxiety across the 7 days. The reduction in smoking observed in this study was striking and occurred in the absence of other specific effects, notably on craving. Given the pivotal role of craving in relapse, this is a potentially very encouraging finding, in that participants using the CBD inhaler reduced the number of cigarettes they smoked without increased craving for nicotine. The decrease in smoking observed here may plausibly relate to the action of CBD at the CB1 receptor, given previous evidence.

Cannabidiol Actions on Opioid Use and Addiction

Other research efforts  emphasized the low capacity of Cannabidiol to potentiate the rewarding effects of other addictive drugs. One specific study specifically focused on evaluating effects of Cannabidiol in relation to opioids. Results showed that repeated CBD administration did not alter heroin self-administration, but clearly inhibited cue-induced heroin-seeking behavior. Intriguingly, Cannabidiol exhibited prolonged effects, lasting two or more weeks after administration in its efficacy to reduce heroin reinstatement behavior triggered by drug-specific environmental cues.

Additionally, even when administered during active heroin intake, CBD inhibited relapse behavior weeks after the last exposure. This suggests that CBD could impact the course of heroin dependence even following a lapse condition after an abstinence period. This highlights a property unique to Cannabidiol, one not found in medications currently used for treatment of heroin abuse. Importantly, professionals noted no physical side effects in the animals with respect to gross effects on motor function.

Other animal studies have also suggested beneficial effects of CBD in relation to clinical symptoms associated with opioid exposure. One line of evidence particularly relevant to opioid abuse is the consistent findings that CBD reduces morphine withdrawal symptoms.  These symptoms included wet shakes, diarrhea, abnormal posture, ptosis, chewing, or teeth chattering.

Cannabidiol Safety and Efficacy

Emerging studies have qualmed consumer concerns about the chance of Cannabidiol addiction and dependence on chronic users. In fact, evidence supports claims that Cannabidiol could aid in the intervention of Opioid and Nicotine Addiction and Dependence. Check out our shop to find products that may be beneficial to your daily routine!

If you or a loved one struggle with substance addiction or dependency, we encourage reaching out to these resources!