While cannabis has been used for centuries, CBD is only recently becoming a popular supplement. This is mainly due to the recent developments in scientific research on the medical potential of CBD (cannabidiol). The strong association of CBD with its notorious parent (cannabis) leaves a bit of a stigma surrounding its use. For example, is CBD oil addictive? This is among the many questions surrounding its safety. In this article we will discuss all things relating to the safety of CBD and its (spoiler: non existing) addiction potential.

CBD vs Marijuana?

Cannabidiol, also called “CBD”, is the second most abundant constituent of cannabis (marijuana). Although it can be found in medical marijuana as an important component, it’s also found in the hemp plant, which is related to marijuana. The most important thing about CBD is that it doesn’t cause a “high” when consumed. It’s important not to confuse CBD with THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) that is psychoactive and is responsible for the high.

Is CBD Oil Addictive?

Although current studies associate heavy long term cannabis use with dependance, pure CBD appears to not show any addictive properties. The WHO declared that CBD has no abuse potential. Furthermore, a study in 2016 showed that CBD does not have an effect on heart rate or cognitive function. This leads to the conclusion that CBD is not a euphoric substance and is not addictive.

Is CBD legal?

The legal status of CBD is a bit confusing. In all 50 states of the United States of America, there are no specific laws against it. It’s basically seen as an ingredient of marijuana, so it’s not highly regulated. Because of this, it’s not difficult to acquire CBD all around the country. Although, it appears some people get CBD online without a medical license. Efforts are being made by the Congress to legalize the hemp plant worldwide, and this will in turn make the distribution of CBD legal. For now, the US FDA has taken some steps in that direction. From December 2015, researchers have been allowed to conduct clinical trials using CBD under less strict regulations.

For legal and health reasons it’s important to distinguish the full-spectrum CBD oil, which contains THC, and broad-spectrum CBD oil, which is a pure CBD isolate.

CBD Health Benefits

CBD has received great praise for its many health benefits, but the one that stands out the most is its effectiveness against two very serious epileptic conditions in children; Driver syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). Studies have shown that CBD drastically reduced the number of seizures, sometimes eradicating them completely. This is striking, seeing as these two syndromes are usually irresponsive to available anti-seizure drugs. It’s exciting to note that the FDA has recently approved the first-ever cannabis-derived drug called Epidolex. This anti-epileptic medicine is a liquid formulation containing CBD.

Moreover, CBD has the potential to fight anxiety. For people having trouble sleeping, CBD has proved to be a great option, studies say. It will be able to induce sleep as well as sustain it.

CBD is also very helpful in treating chronic pain. According to certain animal studies, CBD fights against the two most challenging types of chronic pain as far as treatment is concerned; inflammatory pain and neuropathy pain. In these studies, researchers use topical CBD lotions, which are effective in reducing pain. More human studies would help solidify these results.

CBD and Addiction

Not only is CBD non-addictive, but studies have shown that it can help fight addiction to other substances. This can be explained by CBD’s ability to counter anxiety that is a major factor in craving and drug withdrawal. Furthermore, CBD allows the regulation the body’s natural cannabinoids which produce a calming effect on the body and mind.

THC Addiction

According to recent studies, CBD might also be effective in treating THC addiction. Certain reports have shown that CBD reduces adverse effects associated with THC, a compound found in cannabis. A 2013 study reported that a woman who had withdrawal symptoms after she stopped taking cannabis experienced relief after a ten-day administration of CBD. In addition, a more comprehensive study published in Neuropsychopharmacology on 94 cannabis users gave similar results. In this study, researchers observed the subjects to confirm the role of the CBD-to-THC ratio on psychological drug stimuli. The results showed that smokers of high CBD-containing strains had less predisposition to drug stimuli as compared to those who smoked strains with less CBD content. The study concluded that CBD definitely has the potential to be used as a treatment for addictive disorders.

Nicotine Addiction

Moreover, CBD oil has shown to work against other addictive substances like tobacco. A study on tobacco users showed that CBD inhalers could help reduce addictive behavior. In this study, researchers studied 24 tobacco smokers for a week. Half of them were given CBD inhalers to use whenever they felt the urge to smoke, while the other half served as the placebo group. Following the week of observation, the researchers reported that CBD inhalers caused a 40% decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked. The placebo group showed no significant difference. This suggests that CBD holds promise in treating smoking addiction.

Opioid Craving

In 2019, a clinical trial on individuals who recently quit heroin found that CBD is able to reduce craving and withdrawal anxiety when compared to participants who took a placebo. The study used the FDA approved Epidolex as well as placebos on random former heroin addicts. The doses of CBD were 400 mg and 800 mg. The study found that subjects who took CBD reported a significant decease in craving when exposed to heroin cues. Furthermore, those who received the high dose reported a decrease in cravings and anxiety for weeks following CBD treatment.

CBD safety

CBD has a few side effects; nausea, fatigue, and irritability. Just like grapefruit juice, it raises the level of certain drugs in your system. It increases the level of coumadin, a blood thinner. Because the FDA does not regulate CBD, it is sold as a supplement. This generates a safety concern because one cannot be sure that the product gotten is exactly what it claims to be. Also, the doses of CBD for therapeutic purposes are not known for sure.

CBD Oil Side Effects

Although CBD is generally safer than CBD, it does possess certain side effects. CBD can cause a few side effects such as diarrhea, dry mouth, drowsiness, fatigue and decreased appetite. Researchers have also reported that CBD may cause hepatotoxicity. Epidolex, a recently approved CBD medication has been found to cause hemp-like side effects. CBD also produces side effects similar to those caused by hemp, such as drowsiness and fatigue. Due to its low potential to cause addiction, the withdrawal effects of CBD are expectedly low. However, it’s still important that you examine the benefits and risks before you start taking CBD oil.

Drug Interactions

Certain drug interactions with CBD have been a matter of concern, particularly the one with blood thinners. Research shows that CBD blocks a group of enzymes collectively belonging to the Cytochrome P450 family. These enzymes are normally responsible for removing drugs from the system after they’ve shown their effect. They are usually metabolized in the liver, and CBD has been found to stop this process. Although this could reduce the need to take high doses of drugs, it could also lead to a toxic buildup of drugs in the system.

To Conclude

No, CBD oil is not addictive. Furthermore, while CBD obviously has a number of beneficial health effects, it hasn’t been proved to cure everything. More human studies are required to solidify the acclaimed benefits of CBD. Moreover, CBD is currently sold as a supplement, and we need more studies to determine how to accurately dose CBD. No matter what, always consult your doctor if you intend on using CBD, at least to be sure it doesn’t interfere with any medication you may be on.