We’ve seen it on the news, in our communities, families, friends, and maybe in ourselves: people are addicted. Addiction, also known as substance use disorder, pulls families apart and destroys lives while simultaneously costing society a fortune in expenses related to crime, lost work productivity, prevention and treatment programs, and overall healthcare for the addicted. These costs are upwards of $800 billion a year in the United States alone . The desperation the addicted and their families can feel is overwhelming, and often people find themselves spending more money than they can afford to attempt different treatments to cure addiction.
Unfortunately, addiction frequently leads to death. Every year 480,000 Americans die from cigarette addiction , and more than 70,000 die from drug overdose . This number doesn’t take into consideration those whose addiction damages their health so severely that they are later driven into death or serious, debilitating medical conditions. Simply put, addiction is a life-or-death struggle.
The cost of addiction is high, both with respect to finances and human life. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why so many people will do whatever they can to find treatment for themselves or their loved ones, but what treatments have been proven to work? What treatments have the best outcome for sustained success? Researchers have repeatedly found that CBD is helpful as a part of an overall treatment plan for addiction.
HOW CAN CBD HELP WITH ADDICTION?
CBD is already known for its therapeutic properties and ability to help people with chronic pain management, inflammation, anxiety, and sleep. It’s also being researched for its ability to target and reduce risks associated with drug relapse, drug cravings, and managing addictive behaviors triggered by drugs .
How does it do this? Well, CBD is able to work by directly influencing our endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is the part of our body that is responsible for controlling our mood, behavior, sleep, and even appetite. It strives to create a perfect state of homeostasis within our bodies.
However, this same system also has a hand in the neurotransmitters responsible for dopamine and glutamine, which are responsible for addictive behavior. They intensify the “reward” center of our brains, thereby enhancing the effects of addictive substances and increasing the risk of relapse. Because CBD is able to interact with the ECS system, it can attach itself to these powerful receptors, which allows it to regulate compulsive behavior, helping addicts resist the urge to use or relapse .
WHO CAN CBD HELP?
Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. We lose almost half a million Americans annually because of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, costing the country almost $170 billion yearly in medical costs . Over the last couple of decades, there has been a push to help people quit smoking tobacco. Still, with withdrawal symptoms like irritability, restlessness, and insomnia, people struggle to quit once and for all.
However, researchers have found that by providing smokers with CBD during the process of quitting tobacco, users reduced their tobacco intake by 40%! That is a huge number and a life-changing one for many tobacco addicts. When instructed to use CBD whenever they felt the desire for tobacco, research subjects were able to successfully cut back their tobacco consumption more easily and faster than those who weren’t using CBD . Studies have also found that giving addicts actively going through tobacco withdrawal a dose of CBD results in them finding tobacco products less appealing .
Opioids take many forms. Most are familiar with heroin, but other forms of opioids are prescription drugs like fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. While named differently and slightly differently chemically, all of these drugs are able to interact with the opioid receptors and nerve cells in the body and brain. It should be noted that these prescription drugs are considered safe when taken for a short amount of time and as prescribed, however, these drugs are also the most commonly abused after a legal prescription has been given .
Every single day, 128 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids . The opioid epidemic has become a national crisis that society has been trying to get a handle on for years, yet each year we see more and more deaths. Treatments are expensive and often ineffective 11. Addicts relapse or die before they’re able to find a treatment plan that works for them.
Due to the highly addictive nature of opioids, rehabilitation often fails because the withdrawal symptoms are so severe. Addicts can experience fever, sweating, nausea, vomiting, body aches, anxiety, and insomnia while trying to detox themselves from these drugs. It’s a difficult process, and 72 to 88% of people will relapse after recovery .
The effects of CBD help recovering addicts manage and overcome these terrible withdrawal symptoms  and can help addicts reduce their cravings for opioids during and after rehab . Recovering opioid addicts often struggle with drug craving for the drug they’ve left behind. It’s one reason many of them relapse and may end up worse off than they were before treatment. However, researchers who conducted clinical trials, have discovered that by giving recovering addicts a high dose of CBD, they show a noticeable reduction in craving for the drug and in their overall anxiety about the recovery process than those who do not take CBD during treatment .
Even with the rise of opioid addiction in the U.S., alcohol is still one of the most abused substances. More than 14 million Americans struggle with alcohol addiction, and it’s the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. More than 80,000 die from alcohol-related deaths every year . Like with opioid treatment, alcoholics often find themselves lost when looking for a treatment that provides lasting results, and around 80% of them will relapse within a year .
Alcohol withdrawal is a trying process, and where addicts sometimes give up in their battle with addiction. With symptoms like anxiety, irritability, sleep disruption, tremors, sweating, nausea, and hallucinations, it’s easy to see why recovering from alcohol abuse is a difficult hurdle for many to get over.
Current research suggests that CBD may be able to assist alcoholics in reducing the amount of alcohol they consume, as well as providing protection to their liver and brain. Research is preliminary, and minimal testing has been done on humans so far. CBD has been shown to reduce the stress, inflammation, and death of specific cells in the liver in animal models. It also helps the brain resist alcohol-related damage by protecting the brain cells in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, resulting in fewer lost cells. Like with opioids, research has suggested that alcohol-recovering addicts may be less likely to relapse if they take CBD as part of their treatment .
Stimulants can be just as addictive and damaging as depressants. Amphetamines kill many people every year, and the increased risk of heart attack or stroke sends more to the hospital daily. In fact, about 9% of all drug-related hospital admissions are because of amphetamines .
While not considered physically addictive, they are psychologically addictive, causing withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, irritability, agitation, depression, and paranoia. Thankfully, these are conditions CBD has a proven history of managing. By levelling out anxiety and impulsivity levels, CBD may help keep recovering amphetamine addicts from relapsing. Research shows that even months after the last dose of CBD, recovering study subjects still have less desire to relapse than those who didn’t take CBD during treatment .
One of these things is not like the others. Actually, food addiction and binge eating are severe conditions affecting almost 3 million Americans . Like other substance abuse, it leads to many dangerous health concerns, such as diabetes, heart disease, and bone disease.
Food addiction comes from the reward system in our brains. Researchers have found that food addiction — just like a drug addiction — causes a change in the dopamine, acetylcholine, and opioid systems . So the same rush a heroin addict gets from a fix, a food addict gets when eating food. CBD helps control and regulate the reward system, which will consequently reduce the dopamine release that causes cravings .
People often binge eat and find themselves addicted to food as a result of stress or emotional distress. CBD can help manage those feelings, allowing a person to realize when they are just trying to eat emotionally instead of for sustenance .
HOW TO TAKE CBD FOR ADDICTION?
There are different CBD products available on the market that you can take. While combating addiction, CBD oil and CBD gummies are considered the most effective CBD products to help with the effects of addictive substance withdrawal.
• CBD oil – it is the most popular method of taking CBD and can be applied sublingually or added to food and drinks
• CBD gummies – they are chewable, tasty, and come in different flavors. Their form guarantees a convenient CBD use
IS CBD RIGHT FOR YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONE?
Addiction is a disease that can and does affect any and every community. People often feel helpless or alone because of addiction. Treatments can be costly or ineffective, leaving those affected feeling more hopeless than when they started.
When it comes time for a treatment plan that works, CBD may be a beneficial addition. Because of the way CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system and regulates the reward system, it can be a powerful tool when it comes to controlling drug cravings and the risk of relapse. CBD has proven itself a powerful tool in controlling anxiety and stress, so it may lend itself to helping to recover addicts and manage their emotions while working through their addiction issues and towards a brighter future.
Only you know for sure if CBD is right for you or a loved one suffering from addiction. As you’ve seen in this article, adding CBD to the treatment may be beneficial. Always talk to your doctor before adding CBD to your routine and communicate any concerns you may have to a healthcare professional who will provide you with professional medical advice.
Finally, if you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, there is help available to you. Please contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for more information.
CBD FOR ADDICTION FAQS
Does CBD Help with Cravings?
Some clinical evidence suggests that using CBD to treat drug addiction or any other substance abuse may be helpful for people showing addictive behaviors. The CBD’s neuroprotective properties can help reduce anxiety and combat negative consequences of addiction, such as drug abuse.
Still, more research is needed to determine the psychological effects of CBD on people struggling with addiction.
What Is the Best CBD Product to Take for Addiction?
There is a wide range of CBD-infused products available on the market that you can take when you’re struggling with addiction. Depending on your needs and preferences, you can opt for CBD oil that you can take sublingually or add to your food or drinks. You can also try CBD chewable gummies that come in different flavors and are a convenient way of taking CBD.
How Much CBD Should I Take for Addiction?
There’s no ideal dosage of CBD that you should take if you’re struggling with addiction. The dosage varies from person to person and depends on many factors, including bodily properties, overall health condition, and the severity of your addiction.
The best option is to start with low CBD doses, for example, 1 drop of CBD oil, and observe your organism’s reaction to it. You can then gradually increase the dosage until you achieve desired effects.
The statements expressed on this website are purely opinion of the author and not factual. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products referenced on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It’s highly suggested to consult with your medical professional prior to any use of the products referenced on this website. This website and author specifically disclaim any liability in connection with the products contained on the website.