Is CBD addictive?
With how rapidly CBD use is growing, replacing some common prescription drugs, it begs the question – is CBD addictive?
While certain prescriptions like Percocet, Dolophine, Xanax, and others have been widely used and abused, people are turning towards a natural alternative with less side effects.
From 2010 through 2014, the number of drug overdose deaths per year increased 23%, from 38,329 in 2010 to 47,055 in 2014, with pharmaceuticals being 8/10 of the drugs with the highest mortality rates.
Many of these deaths have been attributed to addiction rates skyrocketing amongst the availability of these drugs. CBD may be the one thing that could reverse this trend.
Can you become addicted to CBD?
While you can develop a tolerance to using CBD, slowly needing to increase dosage as your endocannabinoid system become ‘used’ to it, CBD doesn’t lead the body into developing any sort of dependence. As of yet, no research done yet has shown CBD to carry any withdrawal symptoms.
The biggest concern among most people is they think; Can you get high off CBD oil? No, CBD is also non-psychoactive, which means it doesn’t have any active mental effects. This is much different than the aforementioned prescriptions, which are all strongly psychoactive. CBD can’t be used an as escape from distress in the same sense other drugs can be, and thus isn’t psychologically addicting either.
How Addictions Work
On the physiological side, we need to look into how an addiction starts. There are two primary ways an addiction takes root – psychologically and physically. We’ll look into the former first.
Psychologically, there are many factors that play into addiction. In many cases, it’s the case of using a substance as a form of escape – from stress, pressure, pain or general discomfort, or simply because it just feels good. The mind may become unwittingly conditioned to crave that release from distress in the quickest way possible.
Many prescription drugs do have physical dependences associated with them, especially when the body begins to develop a tolerance to that specific drug. When the body becomes deprived of a certain drug, withdrawal symptoms begin to arise.
Withdrawal symptoms may range from smaller problems such as headaches or difficulties sleeping all the way to things such as epileptic episodes, seizures, intense pain, or even death. The severity of the symptoms relies heavily on the substance in question and the frequency of use for the person.
How CBD tolerance works
With the use of CBD being a relatively new trend, there isn’t yet conclusive evidence as to how CBD tolerance works. What we do know is that over-saturation of the receptors responsible for handling CBD does occur, eventually leading to reduced effects.
The time that CBD stays in your system is relatively low, 5 days at the longest. Which means a tolerance to CBD can be reset rather quickly, as many people have reported that a simple 2-5 day long tolerance break will refresh the tolerance back to normal.
How CBD Can Be Used To Fight a Nicotine Addiction
In the case of a nicotine addiction, CBD can actually be used to help alleviate the psychological dependency that is present with nicotine. First we’ll check out why nicotine is so addictive.
When inhaled, nicotine plays a role by releasing dopamine – a feel-good, powerful neurotransmitter that’s responsible for feelings of pleasure. Over time, the brain will associate the puff of a cigarette with feelings of relaxation and happiness, while forming subtle short term memories.
Over time, these memory traces become deeply engrained in the mind, as the dopamine hits become something that the brain eventually starts to crave.
Here’s where CBD comes in! CBD plays a strong part in memory recollection, allowing the mind to access these memories in a different way.
CBD is suggested to have the ability to make these memory traces more ‘flexible’. In simpler terms, this gives us the capability of altering or erasing this memory. This is key for a few reasons.
While many quit-smoking alternatives focus on still providing nicotine in a different way – via chewing gum, transdermal patches or an e-cig, this alternative method may help with solving the problem at its source.
Though many studies haven’t been done yet, one trial done by the University College of London reported a 40% success rate when using CBD to stave off nicotine addictions in comparison to a placebo or not using it at all.
Time will tell what the evidence in future studies will show, and perhaps we’ll see CBD remedies focused on helping with nicotine addiction in stores someday.
Some other uses for CBD oil
CBD isn’t only good for helping with curbing a nicotine problem, as there are a lot of everyday applications too as well as many conditions helped by CBD. The research into CBD as a medicine is still a very new thing, and researchers are scrambling to perform some trials. Many medicines take an average of 12 years to make it from the laboratory to the pharmacy, and hundreds upon hundreds of trials.
We’ll have to wait and see what other evidence shows up regarding everything related to CBD. As far as we know, it might be the next best thing since Paracetamol.