If you’ve ever wondered if CBD could be addictive, you’re not alone in wondering. We’ve definitely seen our fair share of CBD users ask questions on the topic. So today we wanted to answer whether CBD is addictive and hope to provide you with a better understanding of this compound.
Understanding What CBD Really Is
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the most abundant cannabinoids found in cannabis. It’s important to note that marijuana and hemp are both types of cannabis. Hemp naturally has a very low concentration of THC (the cannabinoid responsible for a “high”), while marijuana naturally contains high levels of THC. CBD is most commonly found in hemp, which has very low levels of THC. This is typically around 0.3 percent at most.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD is a naturally occurring chemical in the cannabis plant, and it interacts with receptors in our body to produce its effects. The human body has two such cannabinoid receptors: the CB1 receptor and the CB2 receptor. These are found in different parts of the body and have different effects.
For example, the CB1 receptor is most prevalent within our brain and is responsible for the psychoactive effects of THC. The CB2 receptor, on the other hand, can be found mostly in the immune system as well as some parts of our brain. This receptor is what CBD interacts with to produce its many health benefits.
When we use CBD topically or ingest orally, this encourages our bodies to produce more of the CB2 receptors. This has a balancing effect on our endocannabinoid system that naturally regulates stress, pain sensation, and immune function.
What Does CBD Do to Your Body?
CBD is considered a dietary supplement and has been proven to offer countless health benefits for users, such as
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Antioxidant properties
- Promotes cardiovascular health
- Promotes neurological health
- Promotes immune system function
CBD is known for helping with anxiety, sleep disorders, stress, chronic pain, and more. It’s important to note that CBD only reacts with certain receptors in the endocannabinoid system of humans due to how it interacts with our bodies. CBD does not act as a psychoactive compound because it doesn’t directly affect the same receptors responsible for “getting high” when using THC-containing products.
What Constitutes Addiction in the First Place?
Addiction is a physical or psychological need for a specific substance. When you’re addicted to a drug, your body craves it and will go through withdrawals if the cravings are not satisfied. CBD does not cause these types of reactions because it doesn’t directly affect the same receptors in the brain as other drugs.
CBD and other cannabinoids can help reduce cravings, which allows you to wean yourself off of a potentially addictive substance. CBD also has the potential to help ease withdrawal symptoms as well, such as anxiety or mood swings that occur when the drug wears off.
Drugs like heroin and morphine are highly addictive because they cause feelings of euphoria, pain relief, and relaxation when they interact with certain receptors in your brain. This is because of the chemical composition of opioids like heroin mimic endorphins - our natural painkillers. Opioids also release dopamine to trigger the “high” feeling, which leads to addiction or dependence.
Can I Become Addicted to CBD?
CBD does not attach itself to the receptors in our brains that are responsible for producing feelings of euphoria or relaxation. Instead, it interacts with various endocannabinoid receptors, which are also found throughout the central nervous system.
These natural cannabinoid receptors already regulate stress, mood, appetite, among other things within your body. This is why using CBD is not considered to be addictive because it doesn’t directly affect the same receptors as drugs that are typically abused.
What Research Says About CBD and Addiction
Everything we know about CBD shows us that it’s safe and effective for daily use without any addictive properties. We also have no studies or research suggesting that taking CBD regularly over time will leave you craving more of this plant compound.
Research conducted so far to determine if CBD users experience any form of withdrawal symptoms after deciding to stop using the compound have all returned negative results.
Findings from a 2020 study conducted by GW Research in the United Kingdom showed no evidence of withdrawal syndrome in study participants after abrupt discontinuation of short-term treatment with CBD.
The World Health Organization had earlier stated in its Critical Review report on CBD that, "CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile." And that, "there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."
CBD Is Not Addictive
When it comes to using CBD for your health, there is no need to worry about becoming dependent or addicted. You can easily use CBD daily without the concern of any withdrawal symptoms or cravings.
In fact, there is evidence that CBD could help reduce the adverse effects of cannabis use disorder. A 2013 study published in the National Library of Medicine looked at CBD's ability to help users with cannabis withdrawal syndrome. The researchers discovered that a 19-year-old female cannabis user experienced a reduction in withdrawal symptoms when she consumed CBD for ten days.
For More Information
Until further research is available to show otherwise, there’s no scientific evidence suggesting that using CBD could potentially lead to harmful effects from dependency or addiction. However, if you use CBD and experience any adverse effect, you may want to consult your doctor right away.
Want to know more about CBD and how it works? Check out our blog for more CBD education articles.