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CBD and Drug Addiction: How Does Addiction Work?

Let’s learn about addiction and how it works to figure out if CBD joins a non-addictive club. Drug addiction, also known as Substance Use Disorder, is a brain game. It plays with your brain’s reward system. 

This system loves dopamine. Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter. Normally, our brain produces dopamine chemical on its own, and the body’s nervous system sends it to the nerve cells. For this, it’s also called chemical messenger.  

When dopamine is released, it makes you feel positive, satisfied, and motivated. Many controlled drugs, for instance, amphetamine or cocaine stimulate the brain to release too much dopamine. A person who has a drug addiction will experience a continuous loop of needing more and more dopamine. 

So, when it comes to CBD, it's safer and less habit-forming than any controlled substance. When someone consumes CBD, it interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). CB1 and CB2, both cannabinoid receptors interact with CBD. 

Unlike THC, CBD does not have any psychoactive effects. But CBD does affect the dopamine and serotonin receptors to fix your pain and mood. In that sense, the question may arise again, is it possible to become addicted to CBD? 


Signs of Drug Dependence

Drug dependence means when someone can not function normally without the use of the substance. The patient faces withdrawal symptoms like nausea or vomiting, headache, chills, restlessness, and palpitation depending on the substance they’re using. There are some common symptoms to understand whether your loved one is going through opioid Use Disorder (OUD) or Alcohol Use Disorder.   


Here is a list of signs of drug dependence or opioid use disorder: 

  • Loss of appetite or increased appetite 
  • Disrupted sleeping habits. 
  • Withdrawal symptoms if the opioid is discontinued. 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Hiding secrets from friends and family 
  • Extreme cravings for the substance 
  • Social Isolation 
  • Blackouts 
  • Decreased libido 
  • Weight Loss 
  • New financial difficulties 

Is CBD Addictive?

No, CBD is not addictive. CBD is one of the helpful cannabinoids. It doesn’t appear to have addiction-related effects. Also, it doesn’t exhibit any dependence potential. In fact, CBD can be used as addiction treatment. A study published by the American Journal of Psychiatry demonstrates that CBD treatment can reduce cravings for heroin drug addiction. 


This study also revealed the added health benefits of CBD such as a reduction in heart rate, and anxiety. This happens because CBD has the ability to interact with your stress hormone. 


On the other hand, marijuana contains THC. So, people who are taking marijuana can experience opioid use disorder. Using marijuana becomes an addiction when a person cannot stop taking it. It also has negative effects like rapid heart rate and euphoria. When comes to CBD, studies show that it doesn’t affect blood pressure, heart rate, and cognitive function.  


A study published in the journal "Drug and Alcohol Dependence" found that CBD reduced cravings for cocaine in people who were addicted to the drug. 


The World Health Organization (WHO) has also stated that “CBD is not associated with abuse potential”. The WHO's report on CBD states that “evidence from well-controlled human experimental research indicates that CBD is not associated with abuse potential”. WHO added that "CBD appears to be safe for human consumption". 


However, it is important to note that CBD is still a relatively new substance and more research is needed to fully understand its safety and potential side effects. If you are considering taking CBD, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider. 

Learn More: Does CBD Show Up On Drug Tests Probation? 


How CBD Helps to Reduce Addiction?

 CBD can reduce addiction (e.g., alcohol addiction, tobacco addiction, opioid addiction) by combatting the withdrawal symptoms of drug abuse. CBD which is mostly legal in the United States (Read: CBD laws by state) plays a crucial role in regulating various psychological processes including those related to addiction.  


CBD can a drug user by helping him/her by providing the following benefits: 

  1. Reducing Cravings: CBD can help reduce drug cravings which makes it easier for individuals to manage withdrawal symptoms.
  2. Anxiety and Stress Reduction: CBD has anxiolytic properties which help lessen anxiety and stress. Anxiety and stress are common triggers for substance abuse.  
  3. Neuroprotection: CBD may protect against the neurotoxic effects of drug addiction. This can potentially mitigate the damage caused by long-term substance abuse. 
  4. Modulating Memory: Cannabidiol can influence memory processes. It may reduce the association between drug cues and the brain reward system. 

In addition, CBD can help with chronic pain, arthritis, and inflammation. The only safety concern an individual should keep in mind is the recommended dosage and risk of interactions with prescription medications. 

What Do Studies Say Regarding CBD Dependency?

Research into CBD dependency has yielded promising insights. Numerous studies suggest that CBD is non-addictive and lacks the intoxicating effects associated with THC. 


A review of preclinical and clinical data even indicates CBD's potential in reducing addiction to substances like cocaine and opioids. While some users report regular CBD use, no substantial evidence indicates the development of physical dependency. Recent studies on CBD dependency reveal that CBD body rub may offer a promising avenue for exploring non-addictive pain relief alternatives. 


However, psychological dependency is always a consideration with any substance. As we continue to unravel CBD's effects, these findings highlight its potential as a safer option for those seeking relief without the risks of traditional addictive substances. 


Read more: Can you take too much CBD 


Expert Opinion: What Leading Researchers Say

Prominent experts in the field of cannabinoid research have weighed in on the question of CBD's addictive potential. 

"CBD may be a promising new treatment for opioid addiction. It reduces withdrawal symptoms and can help people to stay off opioids." - Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). 


"CBD has the potential to be a novel and effective treatment for alcohol dependence. It reduces cravings for alcohol and can help people to stay sober." - Dr. Yasmin Hurd, Director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai 


"CBD is not addictive in the traditional sense. It does not produce the same euphoric effects as THC, and it does not cause withdrawal symptoms when it is stopped." - Dr. Ethan Russo, Director of Research and Development at the International Hemp Association 

Responsible CBD Uses

Responsible use of CBD products is paramount, underscoring the importance of adhering to recommended guidelines. 

Before introducing CBD into your regimen, consult with a healthcare expert who can provide specific insights depending on your medical history and existing prescriptions. 

While CBD offers potential benefits, acknowledging potential side effects such as dry mouth, drowsiness, fatigue, and changes in appetite is essential. 

Additionally, considering potential interactions with other medications is imperative to ensure safety and efficacy. Prioritizing informed decision-making, open communication with healthcare providers, and vigilance in monitoring your body's response will contribute to a well-balanced and responsible use of CBD. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some queries asked by searchers regarding CBD and addiction. We’ve answered these questions so that you can have a better understanding of cannabidiol and its effects.

1. Is full-spectrum CBD addictive?  

Answer: Full-spectrum CBD products contain trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. While these amounts are usually too low to cause addiction, it's important to use CBD products responsibly and consult a healthcare professional if you have concerns. 

2. Are CBD gummies addictive?  

Answer: CBD gummies typically contain CBD isolate or broad-spectrum CBD, which should not be addictive. However, it's wise to follow recommended dosages and seek medical advice if you're worried about dependency. 

3. What additive is needed to conduct the CBC (Cannabichromene) extraction? 

Answer: CBC extraction typically doesn't require additives beyond standard laboratory equipment and solvents. The process involves separating CBC from the cannabis sativa plant through various extraction methods. 

4. Is CBD harmful or addictive?

Answer: CBD is generally considered safe and non-addictive. It doesn't produce the high associated with THC. However, individual responses may vary, and it's recommended to consult a healthcare professional before using CBD, especially if you have existing health conditions. 


Bottom Line  

The evidence suggests that CBD, or cannabidiol, is not addictive. Numerous studies and anecdotal reports indicate that CBD does not produce the characteristic high associated with its counterpart, THC. 


Its potential therapeutic benefits, ranging from chronic pain management to anxiety reduction, have been widely explored without significant addictive tendencies. 


Before incorporating CBD into your routine, it is essential to exercise caution and consult healthcare professionals, particularly if you have a history of substance abuse. 


While CBD appears to be a promising and non-addictive option for many, personalized guidance is crucial to make informed decisions about its use. 



Grinspoon, P. (2018, August 24). Cannabidiol (CBD): What we know and what we don’t - Harvard Health. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476

Dimitrova, M. (2019, August 22). Can CBD be Used to Treat Drug Addiction? News-Medical.Net; News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Can-CBD-be-Used-to-Treat-Drug-Addiction.aspx

Robinson, D. (n.d.). Can You Become Addicted to CBD? | CBD Explained | Acquiesce. Acquiesce. Retrieved October 13, 2023, from https://acquiesce.org.uk/cbd-explained-can-you-become-addicted-to-cbd/

Opioids: Recognizing the Signs. (n.d.). New York State Department of Health. Retrieved October 13, 2023, from https://www.health.ny.gov/community/opioid_epidemic/signs.htm

Opioid Use Disorder | Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2022b, November 11). Johns Hopkins Medicine, Based in Baltimore, Maryland. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/opioid-use-disorder

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