Cannabidiol (CBD) supplements are all the rage these days.
CBD is an antioxidant compound found in the cannabis plant. In fact, it is one of the most common molecules the plant produces.
Unlike its more famous relative, THC, CBD does not cause a euphoric “high.”
Instead, many consumers swear by the supplement for its pain-fighting, anti-inflammatory, and anxiety-relieving properties.
But, is CBD habit-forming? Will cannabidiol cause addiction?
The short answer to that question is no.
In fact, recent animal and human evidence suggest that CBD may actually help reduce addictive behaviors and help consumers kick difficult drug habits.
Further, by all vital parameters, research on CBD has proven that the compound is safe even when taken repeatedly in high doses.
Experiments in both animal models and humans has found that the cannabis compound does not cause changes to digestion, affect heart rate, cause excess sedation, impair motor function, cause psychiatric harm, or affect your ability to breathe.
These are all ideal qualities when searching for new medicines and wellness products.
The only area of caution here is that isolated CBD products or CBD-rich products may interfere with other medications.
However, for those in search of the facts about CBD, here’s what recent science has to say about the calming cannabis compound:
Is CBD habit-forming?
While the addictive nature of cannabis is a topic of hot debate, CBD by itself is not considered habit-forming.
In fact, a 2017 report from the World Health Organization articulates that,
“While the number of studies is limited, the evidence from well-controlled human experimental research indicates that CBD is not associated with abuse potential.”
Their research was gleaned from a study published in 2017 in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, which compared the effects of high-dose CBD, smoked cannabis, and a placebo in 31 participants over the course of eight weeks.
This study found that while smoked cannabis did show signs of habit-forming behavior, even high doses of CBD failed to produce the same result.
Interestingly, CBD was so benign that it performed similarly to the placebo in terms of addictive potential.
The doses used during the eight week period were a whopping 200, 400, and 800 milligrams.
No serious side effects were reported.
Yet, while the results of this eight-week trial were extremely promising and suggest that CBD is safe to consume in the long-haul, few high-quality studies have examined whether or not consumers will experience withdrawal after consuming CBD for a long time.
According to the WHO, “controlled, human studies regarding the potential physical dependence effects (e.g. withdrawal and tolerance) of cannabidiol have not been reported.”
This means that as of right now, there is no way of knowing whether or not consumers will become tolerant to the effects of CBD over time.
Nor is there information about whether or not consumers will feel lousy for a while after they discontinue CBD.
However, common sense says that if you’ve been using CBD regularly for a long time and then suddenly stop your daily supplement regimen, it’s possible that side effects like changes in sleep, inflammation, anxiety, or other side effects may occur.
Yet, as of right now, there is no data to say whether or not this is accurate.
CBD for the treatment of addiction
If the research above is any indication, CBD is non-addictive.
Yet, though the herbal compound itself may not be habit-forming, it may have a serious impact on drug addiction.
In fact, a growing body of evidence suggests that CBD may be helpful to those with a wide variety of addictions, including tobacco, alcohol, and opioid painkillers.
A study published in Addictive Behaviors back in 2013 found that giving chronic tobacco smokers a CBD inhaler for one week reduced their overall cigarette consumption by an impressive 40 percent.
Hoping to kick the painkillers?
Additional animal research has found that the cannabinoid reduces the reward-seeking effects in rodents given morphine, one of the most commonly abused pain medications.
The anti-addictive effects of CBD have yet to be fully flushed out by scientific research.
However, the amazing molecule seems to play interesting roles in altering the neurochemistry of reward-seeking behavior and memory.
For example, after a little CBD, the pleasant and rewarding effects of tobacco and stimulant drugs may feel a little less impressive than normal.
As in the case of the tobacco study, offering a safer alternative to inhaled cigarettes may be one way to change a harmful behavior into one with far lower health risks.
CBD addiction vs. THC addiction
In general, cannabis is being seriously considered as a safer alternative to many drugs of abuse.
Surveys of medical cannabis patients have indicated that many consumers prefer the herb over alcohol, recreational drugs, and prescription medications like opioids, antidepressants, and antianxiety medications.
Unfortunately, however, the euphoric high caused by THC may not be suitable for everyone. For those who want to avoid the mind-altering substance, at least during certain times of day, non-addictive CBD may be an excellent alternative.
As mentioned above, the topic of cannabis addiction is still shrouded in debate.
The common statistic used indicates that approximately 9% of those who try cannabis once will become dependant on the herb.
Though without a doubt, the topic of cannabis dependence is complicated and one that deserves far more attention.
Even though CBD comes from the same plant as THC, the compound has very different overall effects in the body.
According to a 2015 review published in the journal Substance Abuse, human experiments have discovered that CBD taken with THC may make individuals less likely to have strong feelings about the herb.
The review also cited evidence that CBD treatment after stopping THC may help with feelings of withdrawal in heavy cannabis consumers.
So, feeling a little tired of THC?
Switching to CBD may be helpful for managing symptoms and ease away the habitual behavior.