Is CBD Addictive?
Many of you may be wondering: “Is CBD Addictive?” Considering the common stigma against cannabis, coupled with the lack of general education concerning its effects, this question is not surprising. The short answer is that CBD is not addictive. Furthermore, research indicates that CBD may have beneficial effects in managing certain addictions.
How does Addiction Work?
To further understand this question, it will help to understand what addiction is. There is a persisting stigma that addiction is a moral or intellectual failure. The scientific facts tell a different story: it is a chronic illness that re-molds the brain by changing how it registers pleasure and processes learning and memory. People can become addicted to not only substances, but activities as well, such as gambling.
Pleasurable stimuli affect brain chemistry by causing it to release dopamine in a nerve cluster beneath the cerebral cortex. This occurs during normal beneficial situations. However, substances like nicotine or opioids cause a much larger flood of dopamine. This has a cascading effect of creating a memory of that pleasure, which can lead to compulsive use.
Why isn’t CBD Habit-Forming?
As we have just seen, addiction arises partially as a result of dopamine release in the brain. CBD, however, does not act directly on CB1 receptors, nor does it cause a euphoria that leads to dopamine release. Since it does not trigger the brain’s reward and memory centers, CBD is functionally incapable of causing addiction.
However, CBD is known to affect dopamine in a different way: it can suppress it. One study, published in 2022, showed that rats who had been given methamphetamines experienced reduced dopamine release when treated with CBD.
Similarly, a 2013 study shows that CBD reduced the withdrawal effects in mice that had become addicted to morphine.
Many studies remain to be conducted in order to broaden our understanding of CBD’s benefits for addiction treatment. However, existing studies are promising.
This article is informational and is not a substitute for a medical clinician’s consultation.