CBD can provide relief for a number of health issues, but can it become addictive? The simple answer is no, but let’s explore how addiction works and the ways in which CBD can potentially help those addicted to other substances.
What is Addiction?
Addiction is a brain disease which causes a person to habitually crave a substance, even if that substance is harmful. It’s considered a brain disease since the habitual use of substances can alter and change the structure and chemistry of the brain.
Most addictive substances target the brain’s “pleasure hormone” or dopamine reward system, which creates feelings of satisfaction or happiness. Addictive substances tend to overstimulate this area, which leads to the repetition of the behavior. Eventually the dopamine reward system stops working properly and produces less dopamine, which leads a person to seek out more and more of the addictive substance.
Is CBD an Addictive Substance?
CBD is produced by withdrawing cannabidiol from the stalks and seeds of cannabis, hemp, or kriya (a member of the hops family) and, unlike THC, it’s entirely non-psychoactive. THC, found in marijuana is the substance that causes the feeling of being “high.” CBD contains only trace amounts of THC, and also contains omega-3s, vitamins, chlorophyl, and amino acids.
Though rare, the THC in marijuana can lead to addiction in some people, but because it has no intoxicating effects, CBD oil is non-addictive.The official manual of psychiatric disorders, the DSM-5, defines “cannabis use disorder” as “the continued use of cannabis despite clinically significant impairment, ranging from mild to severe.” CBD does not activate the dopamine center and is therefore non-addictive. In fact, a 2017 report by the World Health Organization declared CBD to have no “abuse or dependence potential.”
Can You Overdose on CBD?
There are no reported cases of overdose death on either cannabis or CBD, and studies have shown that even large doses of CBD are safe for consumption. A 2011 study in Current Drug Safety found that doses of up to 1500 mg daily are safe, and a later study in 2016 found similar results.
Using CBD to to Help Curb Addictive Behaviors
Not only is CBD non-addictive, some studies suggest it may actually provide benefit to those overcoming addiction. A 2011 study in Addictive Behavior found when smokers who were trying to quit took CBD, they smoked 40 percent fewer cigarettes. In 2013, scientists found that CBD helped cease the dopamine-stimulating effects of morphine. And a promising 2017 study found that CBD “regulates emotion and emotional memory processing” in a way that may allow it to become an effective treatment for substance abuse.
You can learn even more about CBD and its therapeutic effects by visiting our education page.