CBD (the full-length name being cannabidiol) is, as you may have heard, one of the chemical compounds of cannabis (the marijuana plant). It is a chemical that is found in the cannabis Sativa plant.
THC (also known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is another one of the cannabinoids of the cannabis plant, and it is the most famous as well as the one with psychoactive effects.
Unlike THC, CBD comes from hemp plants, meaning that after the extraction of CBD, there is only a trace amount of THC content. And while there is evidence that CBD does have effects on the brain, these are very different from the ones THC has, and they do tend not to make the user feel altered or “high” in any way.
Because pure CBD does not tend to have these kinds of mind-altering effects, there has been legislation that has been passed in order to legalize it either completely or for medicinal purposes. Since 2018, it is legal on a federal level to sell both hemp and hemp products.
However, the regulation and legalization of CBD is still left up to the individual states, meaning that different places can have different sets of regulations on this chemical. At the same time, CBD is still not federally approved by the FDA as a food additive or a dietary supplement.
This means you should be wary of any product that claims to have CBD in it and only purchase these products from reputable sources. However, it is still a good idea to look into the benefits of CBD for yourself or a loved one. So let us get into it.
What Is CBD Definitively Effective For?
Although for certain types of disorders, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that it can be definitely helpful, the long stigmatization and banning of CBD as an addictive and harmful substance has made it so that for certain issues, the benefits of CBD have been criminally understudied.
There are still few clinical trials that fully confirm their benefits. As you may have noticed, it is a fairly recent phenomenon that lawmakers are starting to allow the use and study of CBD and distinguishing it from actual addictive substances, meaning we are still only discovering what it could possibly do for us.
What we can say definitively that CBD can help you with is epilepsy. There are certain prescriptions on the market today (such as Epidiolex, GW Pharmaceuticals) that are approved for the treatment of seizures that use certain forms of CBD.
These are specifically prescribed for people with Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis complex.There are studies that suggest CBD can be helpful in other areas and for other disorders, although these have less overwhelming evidence and therefore can vary in terms of real-life results much more. We will take a look at them now.
What Is CBD Possibly Effective For?
It is also posited that CBD can help you reduce anxiety. Research has suggested that using CBD may help change the way that your brain’s receptors react with serotonin. Serotonin (as well as dopamine) is a chemical that is significantly linked with mental health.
When your brain has trouble processing serotonin, it can cause you to feel depressed or anxious, as well as a myriad of other conditions. CBD may be able to help regulate your neurotransmitters. CBD is also thought to help with neurodegenerative disorders.
These are diseases that make your brain and your nerves deteriorate over time. CBD is able to interact with a receptor called CB1, which may help ease the symptoms of certain neurodegenerative disorders, such as:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s disease
Another, more well-known effect of CBD is that it can help relieve pain. This is not only useful for cancer patients, who are perhaps the most famous for using cannabis during chemotherapy treatment, but for sufferers of other conditions too, such as:
- Chronic pain
- MS pain
- Muscle pain
- Spinal cord injuries
CBD is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This means it may even be able to help with your acne. CBD oil prevents excess activity in your sebaceous glands, making it less likely that you will develop acne.
If you have MS, medications with both CBD and THC (such as Sativex), are also used to prevent pain, muscle-tightness, and urination frequency.
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of CBD?
Although CBD is considered a very safe drug, it is still possible to get side effects from using it. Here are some of them:
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
If you are a regular user of CBD, it is recommended that you do not take more than 300 mg of it daily. If you are only taking it for a short period of time (up to 4 weeks), it is also considered safe to take high doses of 1200 to 1500 mg per day.
It is still uncertain whether it is safe to apply CBD products directly to your skin, so you should proceed with caution and if possible, talk to your doctor before proceeding. Similarly, if you are either pregnant or breastfeeding, it can be unsafe to take any form of CBD. You should avoid taking it or only do it if your doctor approves it.
The only CBD product that is currently deemed safe for the use of children is Epidiolex, up to 25 mg per kg a day. This should obviously be prescribed by your child’s doctor first. If you have liver disease, it is also recommended that you take lower doses of CBD.
Finally, if you have Parkinson’s disease, then you should probably also refrain from taking high levels of CBD as this might make your muscle movements or tremors worse.
Does CBD Interact With Other Medications?
As of publication, there is no information on whether the consumption of CBD interacts with any other medication. If you are worried, or you take a certain kind of heavy prescription, it is recommended that you speak to your doctor about possible issues.
What Is The Proper Dosing Of CBD?
As mentioned in one of the sections above, CBD use is recommended at 300 mg or less a day. Usually, adults take around 200 mg or less per day, unless they require a higher dose. It obviously depends on the kind of condition you are facing, so talk to your doctor about it before you take it. Now, onto everyone’s burning question about CBD - can it be addictive?
Is CBD Addictive?
Finally, we have reached the long-awaited question - is CBD actually addictive? And luckily for all of us, the answer seems to be a resounding no. Here are some of the reasons why.
Because CBD is not like THC, which produces physical and psychological effects such as a faster heart rate and blood pressure, as well as euphoria. CBD produces none of these effects, making it safe to consume regularly.
Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has come out in support of the claim that CBD is not addictive. They confirm that CBD is “not associated with abuse potential”.
It is already a relief that CBD does not present a threat to addicts and people with worries about addictions, but this chemical may even be useful in another area - treating addiction.
There have been studies that suggest CBD may be used in order to ease the symptoms associated with withdrawal from alcohol and drugs. The next few sections will delve into this possibility a little bit further. If you are struggling with substance abuse and addiction, it is important to get help.
Can CBD Be Used To Treat Addiction?
Now, as we mentioned before, research into the effects and health benefits of CBD is still, unfortunately, in its early stages. This means that you have to take every piece of advice you see online with a grain of salt, and if you are truly struggling with a serious addiction, there are several other steps you should take first before trying to take CBD as an end-all-be-all solution to substance use disorders.
Regardless, there is some evidence that CBD products can alleviate stress and anxiety, therefore being a useful tool in preventing relapse. It may also work as a mild and natural antidepressant, which could be incredibly useful for those struggling with the difficult process of recovery. It may also even prevent drug craving and addictive behaviors from worsening.
Since there is still such limited evidence, however, it is unlikely the use of CBD will be integrated into any drug or alcohol rehabilitation program. At this time, there are still no studies done on humans that confirm its benefits and study its possible side effects.
As always, you should consider contacting your physician if you are planning on starting a CBD regimen to help you deal with anxiety and cravings.
Can CBD Help With Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction is a tough cycle to break, and depending on the circumstances, it can even become a physically dangerous process.
This is why, if you are struggling with alcoholism, you should consider regular forms of treatment first, and make sure you are overseen by a doctor through this process before trying to take anything that has not been recommended to you by a medical professional.
Although the prospects of CBD in this area can look promising, they have still not been confirmed by the medical community and you should always refer to them first before engaging in experimental tactics yourself. With that out of the way, we can now look at the possible link between CBD and alcoholism recovery.
CBD has been observed to inhibit the part of the brain that is usually activated not only by alcohol consumption but also by drugs and tobacco. This means that there is a possible link between CBD consumption and reduced cravings. It is also theorized that CBD can help reduce the pleasure one feels from consuming alcohol or another substance.
This means that since it can reduce the pleasure and satisfaction from taking the substance you are addicted to, it may make it easier for you to quit. CBD also features antioxidant properties, which can be especially helpful if you have a buildup of toxic substances in your body from drinking, smoking, or taking drugs.
Additionally, CBD can also help you not only fall asleep easier but stay asleep as well. People in recovery may find it difficult to fall asleep, some even developing insomnia during their rehabilitation period.
Taking CBD in order to relax your muscles and fall asleep easier can be an absolute godsend to those that may find that to be yet another reason to reach for the bottle again. Similarly, if you suffer from pain as a result of your addiction and the recovery process, CBD can also help. It can reduce inflammation and lower pain levels which will allow you to feel better both physically and mentally.
This can be especially useful if you are recovering from an opioid addiction (which we will discuss below) but if you are a recovering alcoholic, this can help you too.
Finally, the last benefit CBD might have if you are a recovering alcoholic is that it can prevent and lower the incidence of seizures. In the more severe cases of alcoholism, you may be struggling with seizures caused by withdrawal. CBD may help you manage and prevent this.
Can CBD Help With Opioid Addiction?
Opioid addiction is a real and growing concern, especially in the United States. People may be prescribed opioids or even get them illegally. This kind of addiction often starts as a way to deal with chronic pain and develops into a need and reliance that is harmful to both the user and the people around them.
It has already been mentioned many times but we will say it once again - the potential benefits mentioned in this list have not been fully confirmed by the scientific community, so if you are struggling with a serious addiction, be it to opioids or something else, then you should contact a medical professional. They can direct you to a proper rehabilitation program.
Regardless, CBD can be helpful not only in reducing stress and anxiety as well as cravings, its pain-relieving components are what might be the most helpful to people with an addiction to opioids.
Since these are often prescribed for pain, and many addictions develop from a genuine need to address this pain, CBD may be used not only to ease the withdrawal symptoms but also to address the chronic pain that may have led you to this issue in the first place.
CBD has also been shown to be helpful in dealing with heroin dependency in mice. As always, you should talk to your doctor about the issues you are facing and have them help you decide whether CBD is a good option for you.
So, now that you know that CBD is not only physically and psychologically safe, but also a non-addictive chemical, it is time to explore what it can possibly do for you.
Whether you struggle with addiction, or you want something to decrease your pain and anxiety, looking into this natural alternative can have a whole myriad of benefits. Just remember to stay informed and communicate with your doctor about any major decision you make, if you can.