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Is CBD Addictive? Can Products Be Abused?

September 29, 2022 4 min read

Is CBD Addictive? Can Products Be Abused?

Is CBD Addictive? Can Products Be Abused?

CBD is a non-intoxicating chemical compound existing in the cannabis plant. Unlike cannabis sativa, CBD does not cause addiction. This article provides a comprehensive guide on addiction and whether CBD products could result in addiction or drug dependency. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the over one hundred and thirty chemical compounds (cannabinoids) in the cannabis plant. Numerous studies support the therapeutic benefits of CBD. Research points to CBD as a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal agent. Individuals use the cannabis derivative for various reasons ranging from pain, anxiety, and sleep disorders to neuroprotective purposes. Since its popularity has grown, users are concerned about its downsides. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most bodies tolerate CBD well, confirming its safety and efficacy. The chemical components in a drug may cause addiction or dependency. Herein, we explore the chemical components of CBD and determine whether these components could lead to addiction. 

Understanding Addiction

According to Koobs & George (2021), addiction is an intense urge to utilize a particular substance persistently. Addiction interferes with how the brain works and its structure too. Scientists note that pleasure triggers, learned behaviors, and prolonged utilization of specific substances are significant triggers of addiction.

How CBD Interacts with the Body

CBD is a naturally occurring compound present in the cannabis plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD has no psychotropic properties, meaning it cannot cause a high effect. It possesses the ability to mitigate the kaleidoscopic properties of THC. Cooray et al. (2020) noted that CBD interacts with specific receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex system responsible for significant body functions, including but not limited to sleep, pain, memory, and addiction. Its receptors are available throughout the body and are responsible for dispatching signals to the brain. As a result, the ECS brings about homeostasis in the body. The cannabis derivative affects the 5-HT1A receptor (a serotonin receptor). The serotonin hormone is responsible for mood management. It also enhances happiness and promotes calmness. Since it is a natural inhibitor of this receptor, it prevents serotonin reuptake, making it easier for the body to use it more effectually. Also, CBD binds to the TRPV1 receptors to manage pain. 

Is CBD Addictive, and Can Its Products Be Abused?

Drennan et al. (2021) commented that cannabidiol does not cause intoxication. Studies show that 1500mg of CBD daily may not cause adverse effects. Additionally, it does not impair one's mental state like THC. Since THC may be habit-forming, you should know what sources your CBD originates from; CBD can be derived from marijuana or hemp.

Hemp Extracted and Marijuana Extracted CBD.

Both hemp and marijuana plants fall under the cannabis Sativa plant. What differentiates them is the chemical profiles and levels of THC and CBD. The marijuana plant is richly concentrated with THC, so CBD products derived from marijuana will have more significant amounts of THC than those derived from hemp. On the other hand, the hemp plant only contains around 0.3 percent of THC or less and is highly concentrated with CBD. Since hemp-derived CBD products have less THC, they rarely cause addiction. Federally CBD products are legal and widely available in physical and online stores. 

CBD as a Treatment for Addiction

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that CBD is safe and cannot lead to potential abuse. Instead, it is a treatment for overcoming withdrawal symptoms of drugs. Higher doses of CBD may help treat drug dependence and addiction (Lafaye et al., 2022). Furthermore, CBD can also be utilized in treating opioid addiction due to its potential therapeutic properties. 

Is It Possible to Overdose on CBD?

Overconsuming CBD and other cannabinoids are not fatal; the brain lacks cannabinoid receptors that regulate respiratory functions.

CBD Side Effects

Ongoing research suggests that CBD is not addictive and cannot lead to potential abuse. Urits et al. (2020) suggested that, although most individuals tolerate it well, it may show some side effects on others:

  • Changes in weight and appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Dry mouth

Most bodies can tolerate up to 1500 milligrams of CBD. Since the FDA does not regulate the product, it may not be easy to know how much CBD you consume. Many manufacturers list inaccurate cannabidiol levels on their labels than what the products contain. 

Legality of CBD

What primarily determines whether CBD is legal is the source. Notably, the cannabis derivative is extracted from hemp or marijuana. Hemp-derived CBD was federally legalized after the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. However, some states still ban its use, sale, and production. So you must know about your state laws before taking any CBD product. 

Effects of CBD

CBD has many potential benefits. It could treat various mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. In addition, it is also effective for conditions such as pain and inflammation (Cooray et al., 2020). According to WHO, it can also treat arthritis and Parkinson's diseases. 

Summary

Addiction is a complex condition. It may affect an individual physiologically or physically. Most addicts tend to ignore the potential risks like reduced productivity. Some symptoms associated with addiction include impaired cognition and compromised body functions. No evidence has proven that CBD may be addictive or lead to any cognitive disturbances.

Additionally, it does not cause any psychoactive effects associated with smoking marijuana or lead to withdrawal symptoms. Instead, CBD can suppress addictions and alleviate withdrawal symptoms of nicotine and alcohol. While the cannabis derivative is well tolerated in the body, improper usage could lead to side effects, especially for first-time users. 

References

Cooray, R., Gupta, V., & Suphioglu, C. (2020). Current aspects of the endocannabinoid system and targeted THC and CBD phytocannabinoids as potential therapeutics for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases: a review. Molecular Neurobiology, 57(11), 4878-4890.

Drennan, M. L., Karoly, H. C., Bryan, A. D., Hutchison, K. E., & Bidwell, L. C. (2021). Acute objective and subjective intoxication effects of legal-market high potency THC-dominant versus CBD-dominant cannabis concentrates. Scientific reports, 11(1), 1-10.

Koobs G. F. (2021). Drug addiction: hyperkatifeia/negative reinforcement as a framework for medications development. Pharmacological Reviews, 73(1), 163-201.

Lafaye, G., Karila, L., Blecha, L., & Benyamina, A. (2022). Cannabis, cannabinoids, and health. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience.

Urits, I., Gress, K., Charipova, K., Habib, K., Lee, D., Lee, C., ... & Viswanath, O. (2020). Use of cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of chronic pain. Best Practice & Research Clinical Anaesthesiology, 34(3), 463-477.