Is CBD Addictive?

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Our posts on the endocannabinoid system, the various cannabinoids, and terpenes will drop some very important cannabis knowledge on you while our post on the difference between marijuana, hemp, and cannabis will clear up a very common confusion point!


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This will be a short and sweet blog post!


Is CBD addictive?


The short answer is no. The longer answer is also no, but in the spirit of this blog we will dive in a little bit to see why that is the case.


Because CBD does not produce a high, unlike our well-known friend THC which is a psychoactive substance, its potential for abuse is considered extremely low by scientists.


A March 2017 study published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence determined that CBD had as much likelihood for abuse as the placebo used in the study. An older study from 2011 concluded that CBD has a better safety profile compared to THC and other cannabinoids.


However one important thing to be aware of! Since THC has been shown to have the possibility for psychological dependence (but not physiologically, at least not in any meaningful, harmful way), the question of whether a CBD oil could be addictive depends on where the CBD comes from. If it is a marijuana-derived CBD extract, it could contain high levels of THC that could lead to cannabis withdrawal symptoms down the road. These are almost always minor and consist of irritability, anxiety and sleep issues, which usually resolve themselves within a day or two in most cases.


CBD side effects by themselves are usually minimal and mild. CBD can cause drowsiness, diarrhea, and reduced appetite. The most important side effects have to do with drug interactions, as CBD and many common medications are metabolized via the same enzymes in the liver and intestines. A good rule of thumb for these medications is the “grapefruit juice rule,” which essentially means that CBD can interact with many medications in a similar way as grapefruit juice does due to an intestinal enzyme called CYP3A4, causing blood levels of those medications to rise faster and higher than normal, which could be dangerous.


So no, CBD itself in and of itself is not addictive. In fact, it could have a place in the fight against addiction!


CBD has demonstrated viability in helping to curb withdrawal symptoms from addictive substances such as tobacco, opioids, and alcohol. A 2013 study published in Addictive Behaviors looked at the effectiveness of CBD as a way to reduce tobacco consumption. A preclinical animal study published in Neuropsychopharmacology on March 22, 2018 concluded CBD was effective in reducing drug use in rodents. And a May 2019 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found CBD could be effective in reducing cravings associated with heroin addiction.



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