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Is CBD oil addictive?

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Contents

  1. Is CBD oil addictive?
  2. CBD could help fight addiction
  3. CBD oil side effects
  4. Drug interactions

There’s a growing amount of research pointing out the benefits of CBD. Studies have shown that CBD provides anti-inflammatory and seizure-suppressant properties, as well as the ability to reduce social anxiety.

Outside the United States, countries across the globe have started allowing cannabidiol (CBD) to be used legally inside their borders. In Canada, following the passage of The Cannabis Act, which legalized adult-use cannabis, both hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD are available in all provinces. The European Union (EU) has also established regulatory guidelines for hemp-derived CBD oil, allowing the cultivation of hemp as long as the THC content does not exceed 0.2%. A number of South American countries have also loosened restrictions against CBD oil and medical marijuana in general. Both Mexico and Brazil currently allow CBD products to be imported for certain medical conditions, while other countries, such as Chile, have already established full-scale medical marijuana programs.

Despite growing acceptance and recognition of CBD’s potential benefits, concerns remain about the cannabinoid’s power to cause addiction. This may be due to confusion between non-intoxicating CBD and its intoxicating counterpart, THC. Because of the way CBD interacts with receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, it doesn’t have the psychoactive effects of THC. In fact, CBD basically blocks THC’s access to those receptors found throughout the nervous system, thereby reducing some of THC’s effects.

Is CBD oil addictive?

Because CBD doesn’t produce the high associated with THC, it’s potential for abuse is considered limited by scientists. A March 2017 study published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence examined details of a previous study where researchers administered various oral dosages of CBD to frequent marijuana users alone and in combination with smoked marijuana. The researchers determined that CBD had as much likelihood for abuse as the placebo in this study.

A 2011 study concluded that CBD has a better safety profile compared to THC and other cannabinoids. Researchers found that high doses of CBD of up to 1,500 milligrams per day were well-tolerated by the human subjects. Compared with THC, CBD did not impair motor or psychological functions, nor did it alter the heart rate, blood pressure, or body temperature.

Since THC can be addictive and numerous CBD products contain varying levels of THC, the question of whether CBD oil is addictive can depend on where the CBD comes from.

CBD oil can be sourced from both hemp and marijuana. CBD derived from hemp has little to no trace of THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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CBD derived from hemp plants contains little to no THC (less than 0.3% according to federal law in the U.S.), and therefore should not put an individual at risk of developing cannabis withdrawal symptoms that might come from heavier THC intake.

Marijuana-derived CBD is extracted from marijuana plants that are usually grown for their intoxicating properties. Unlike hemp-extracted CBD, marijuana-derived CBD oil often contains levels of THC that exceed the federal 0.3% limit. In the event the CBD oil has particularly high levels of THC, an individual could possibly experience cannabis withdrawal symptoms if the oil was used to excess. CBD oil with THC levels above 0.3% is only available in states with medical or adult-use cannabis legalization.

While all signs suggest that CBD is not addictive, someone who takes large amounts of CBD on a daily basis could experience side effects. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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While CBD doesn’t produce the same addictive effects as THC, it’s possible that someone who takes large amounts of CBD on a daily basis could experience side effects such as changes in sleep, inflammation, and anxiety if they quit suddenly.

It’s possible to avoid THC when using a CBD product but the combination of CBD and THC is known to produce an entourage effect, boosting therapeutic benefits while subduing negative side effects. For instance, in a 2010 study involving patients with cancer pain, researchers found that the combination of THC and CBD was more effective in treating the pain than the THC and placebo combination.

CBD could help fight addiction

Evidence suggests that CBD could also be used to help combat the adverse effects of THC, such as cannabis withdrawal symptoms. In a 2013 report, researchers administered CBD to a 19-year-old woman with cannabis withdrawal syndrome over a ten day period, which effectively resulted in reduced withdrawal symptoms. Another study, conducted in 2010 and published in Neuropsychopharmacology, examined a total of 94 cannabis users to see what role CBD-to-THC ratios played in reinforcing the effects of drugs and implicit attentional bias to drug stimuli. Compared with smokers of low-CBD strains, the study found that smokers of high-CBD strains showed reduced attentional bias to drug and food stimuli, as well as lower self-rated liking of cannabis stimuli. The research team concluded that “CBD has potential as a treatment for cannabis dependence” and could offer a potential treatment for other addictive disorders.

Existing research also demonstrates that CBD oil could help thwart addiction to other dangerous substances, such as tobacco or opioids. A 2013 study published in Addictive Behaviors looked at the effectiveness of CBD as a way to reduce tobacco cigarette consumption. Observing a total of 24 tobacco smokers, researchers gave half of the subjects an inhaler of CBD and the other half a placebo, instructing them to use the inhaler when they felt the need to smoke. Over a week long period, those treated with CBD reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by 40%, while those with the placebo showed no notable difference.

CBD has potential as a treatment for cannabis dependence. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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CBD has also demonstrated the potential to curb the use of other addictive substances. In a preclinical animal study published in Neuropsychopharmacology on March 22, 2018, researchers applied CBD gel to lab rats that had a history of voluntary alcohol or cocaine use and showcased addiction-like behavior. The study concluded that CBD was effective in reducing drug use in the rodents, and also reduced common side effects of drug dependency, such as anxiety and impulsivity.

This non-intoxicating cannabinoid has also shown promise in human models. A May 2019 study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found that CBD could be effective in reducing cravings associated with heroin addiction. To conduct the study, researchers recruited 42 adults who had been using heroin for an average of 13 years. The subjects were divided into three groups: one group was given 800 milligrams of CBD, another 400 milligrams of CBD, and another a placebo. Compared with the placebo, those who were administered CBD significantly reduced both the craving and anxiety induced by the drug cues.

CBD oil side effects

While CBD doesn’t produce the kind of intoxicating effects THC is known for, it’s important to consider any possible CBD oil side effects.

According to Mayo Clinic, the U.S.-based nonprofit academic medical center, CBD use can potentially cause adverse effects, including dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. In an investigation on CBD hepatotoxicity in lab mice, researchers from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences found that the cannabinoid elevated the risk for liver toxicity. The epilepsy medication Epidiolex, which is currently the only FDA-approved CBD product on the market, has some side effects that are similar to those of other hemp-derived CBD products.

CBD is effective in reducing drug use, and also reduced common side effects of drug dependency, such as anxiety and impulsivity. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Most CBD oil side effects, such as drowsiness and fatigue, are similar to hemp oil side effects, even though this hemp fiber-derived product usually doesn’t contain any CBD or THC. With its low potential for addiction and abuse, CBD’s withdrawal effects should be minimal. But each person must weigh the potential risk versus benefits for themselves.

Drug interactions

One other area of concern is the potentially adverse effect that CBD could have on certain prescription medications such as blood thinners.

A 1993 study found that CBD blocked a family of enzymes called cytochrome P450, which are responsible for eliminating 70% to 80% of pharmaceutical drugs from the system. Researchers found that CBD blocked these enzymes from being broken down and metabolized in the liver. While this blockage could enable patients to take lower doses of prescription drugs, it could also cause a toxic buildup of pharmaceutical chemicals in the body.

Is CBD oil addictive? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Is CBD oil addictive? CBD could help fight addiction CBD oil side effects

The Truth About CBD And Withdrawal

A note from the publisher: Since the publication of this article, the FDA has approved a CBD-based prescription drug for two special types of epilepsy.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is undoubtedly a new and popular alternative therapy. Increasingly prescribed by herbalists, naturopaths and even conventional physicians, it’s used to treat any number of health issues, such as depression, epilepsy, anxiety, inflammation and addictions. But what about withdrawal symptoms after treatment is halted?

With this rise in popularity come the inevitable questions about its safety. After all, the opioid crisis is upon us, and many can remember a time when opioids were prescribed left, right and center without cause for concern. Is CBD safe to use? Is there such a thing as CBD withdrawal?

Two questions need explorating here. The first is whether CBD causes withdrawal symptoms after prolonged use; the second is whether it is an effective treatment for withdrawal from other substances, such as marijuana or opioids. Both are timely questions considering that CBD is often advertised as the all-natural cure-all with no side effects. Is this really true? Can it benefit the harsh effects of withdrawal from other substances without causing ill effects itself?

What Are the Side Effects of CBD

The first question to clear up is about CBD’s safety record. Have researchers uncovered serious health concerns about CBD use? There are thousands of studies on CBD’s potential, ranging from its anti-tumor characteristics to its antidepressant nature. Surely someone somewhere has uncovered the truth about CBD’s side effects.

All medicine, no matter how benign, has some risk of side effect. Hemp CBD oil is no different. A 2017 literature review of the subject of CBD safety concluded that “the most commonly reported side effects were tiredness, diarrhea, and changes of appetite/weight. In comparison with other drugs used for the treatment of these medical conditions, CBD has a better side effect profile.”

Cannabidiol is still going through an extensive preliminary research phase, but the information on side effects is quite promising. According to experts in the field, it looks as if CBD is entirely safe to use. Patients are given extremely high doses during clinical trials, but still tend to respond well to CBD therapy. It’s also a popular alternative for drug-resistant epilepsy in children.

Under normal conditions, CBD is safe to use even for the most sensitive segments of society. That said, it’s always best to discuss CBD use with a qualified medical professional. That’s particularly important if you are already taking prescription medications, are a parent exploring CBD for children, or you have other concerns. Make an appointment to cover all your bases. Learn more about the low-risk side effects of CBD here .

Does CBD Trigger Withdrawal?

As posted by one member of the CBD community on Reddit, “CBD, however, has not proven to be even remotely addicting [sic] or habit forming for m e . Still, though, zero dependency [sic] of any kind. It’s very nice to have because it helps my severe anxiety, but when I don’t have it, I find some of the mood boosting effects stay with me for quite some time. Days even. They fade so slowly that you hardly notice them going….It also helps that the effects are so mild and subtle, to begin with.”

As far as the research goes, there is no evidence of CBD withdrawal symptoms. Even compared with its famous cousin, THC, the difference of withdrawal symptoms is surprising. Medical marijuana still sells itself as safer to use than most pharmaceuticals, but heavy users report difficulty quitting. They also report going through withdrawal. Unlike THC heavy strains, there are no reported issues with tolerance, addiction or subsequent withdrawals from CBD.

CBD for Treating Withdrawals

Perhaps the most interesting use of CBD for treating withdrawal symptoms is for cannabis addiction. Yes, CBD and THC come from the same cannabis sativa family of plants, but CBD is used successfully to treat problems associated with prolonged THC use. Medical marijuana, while less habit-forming than other drugs, still carries a 9 percent addiction rate.

The University College of London has an ongoing clinical trial studying CBD as a possible therapy for severe cannabis addiction. The study was inspired by the pivotal case study of a profoundly addicted individual who cured her THC addiction with CBD therapy. More such cases exist, confirmed by a quick scan of the CBD community boards on Reddit. The ongoing trial could prove that CBD is a safe cannabinoid alternative to THC.

What about CBD for Opioid Withdrawal?

Conventional painkillers such as opioids are now very questionable prescriptions. The addiction crisis is visible from rural West Virginia to the downtown streets of Vancouver. Folks with a legitimate opioid prescription for chronic pain soon learn how quickly addiction can happen. No matter how badly someone may want to quit an opioid of choice, the withdrawal period is simply too powerful to overcome.

A typical withdrawal experience begins as quickly as four to six hours after the last dose. The first sign is usually a headache, followed quickly by increasingly severe and rapid onset of symptoms, including depression, fever, stomach cramping, diarrhea, sweating, problems sleeping, muscle pain and rapid heartbeat.

This is where CBD comes into play. Increasingly, research is honing in on its relevant characteristics for substance addiction. Of particular interest is its antipsychotic, antidepressant, anti-anxiety and pain-relieving properties, each explored extensively in other fields of study. These features are now of interest for treating severe drug-withdrawal symptoms.

A review in Substance Abuse , “Cannabidiol as an Intervention for Addictive Behaviors: A Systematic Review of the Evidence,” proposed that CBD was useful for many phases of drug addiction. For example, during the intoxication phase (active phase of addiction) CBD reduces the reward-facilitation of opioids, or the euphoric sensation, and thus the fundamental addictiveness.

The review also concluded that during the withdrawal stage, CBD plays a vital role in reducing the severity of symptoms. It also notes that it seems to work better in combination with other cannabinoids, such as THC, taking advantage of the Entourage Effect .

Finally, and perhaps where CBD most shines for treating drug addiction, is the relapse phase, post-withdrawal. In one animal study included in the literature review, morphine-addicted mice benefited significantly from CBD treatment in the relapse phase. Cannabidiol therapy reduced the morphine-seeking behavior for up to two weeks when compared with the control group that received no CBD.

In study after study, CBD continues to be proven safe to use even in high doses. As far as we know, there are no reported instances of CBD withdrawal. Plus, it may prove to be one of the safest therapies available for those going through the withdrawal phase of drug addiction. According to current research, it’s already thought to have a positive benefit during the intoxication phase, the withdrawal phase and the relapse phase.

SOL*CBD explores whether CBD causes withdrawal symptoms after prolonged use; and whether it is an effective treatment for withdrawal from other substances. ]]>