The incidence of drug addiction globally is on the rise. Looking at the current statistics in the US, this is at epidemic levels. It’s worse when drug abuse starts during the teenage years, then the chances of lifelong addiction are drastically increased.
Is hemp-derived CBD an answer?
Well, there’s a huge debate as to the exact role that hemp derived CBD could play in helping drug addicts recover from their addiction. To some, this is even a controversial issue because of the association of CBD with cannabis- the most popular drug of abuse.
Due to many years of cannabis prohibition, there is not sufficient scientific evidence to build a concrete case around this issue. But if we are to rely on the findings that have come our way so far, there is reason for optimism.
Drug Addiction; why does this scare us?
Drug addiction is defined as a situation where a person is physiologically dependent on a drug. They cannot function without having the said drug in their system. Their lives revolve around looking for the drug, abusing it, and recovering from the effects of the drug. Consequently, the involved party loses significant relations and may not be able to perform even the most basic tasks, let alone go to school or hold down a job.
When a person is addicted to a drug, they suffer withdrawal symptoms when they have not used it, these symptoms can be severe and even fatal.
For many parents, this is one of the worst nightmares that can be imagined upon their children.
In a 2011 study investigating the global burden of drug addiction the authors commented that:
“Unfortunately pharmacological treatment of drug and alcohol dependency has largely been disappointing and new therapeutic targets and hypotheses are needed.”
What Is Hemp- derived CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 100 plus phytocannabinoids that are found in hemp, as well as other plants. Hemp- derived CBD is therefore derived from hemp, and not any other source.
Hemp has different important compounds which include phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Full-spectrum CBD contains extra cannabinoids and terpenes which are the aromatic oils in hemp.
A major difference between hemp and its “cousin” marijuana is the amount of THC (psychoactive compound) in each. Whilst Hemp has minimal amounts of THC, marijuana has high amounts.
Research has shown that CBD has a number of therapeutic benefits. This is currently an area of interest for many clinical researchers. One of the interesting areas is the use of CBD in treating drug addiction.
How Does CBD Work?
Phytocannabinoids, such as CBD, mimic the action of certain compounds in the body known as endocannabinoids. These compounds make part of the endocannabinoid system which is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body.
The exact mechanism of CBD is not fully understood. However, it’s believed that CBD indirectly influences the endocannabinoid system through endocannabinoid receptors. For example, it is believed that CBD displaces THC from CB1 receptors in the brain. By doing so, CBD is able to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC.
How Does CBD Influence Drug Addiction?
Again, the exact mechanism through which CBD influences drug addiction is not known. In one study investigating the relationship between drug addiction and CBD use, it was found that CBD “refined vulnerability states that promote relapse.” This means that CBD, when administered to drug addicts, reduces chances of relapse.
In another study, it was shown that CBD reduces craving for heroin in addicts. Heroin addiction is one of the most lethal drugs of addition; highly addictive and destructive.
The study involved 42 heroin addicts attempting to abstain from relapse. This was a double-blinded study which indicates a higher level of accuracy.
The study concluded that CBD holds significant potential in the treatment of heroin addiction.
What To Expect In The Future
This is definitely an area to be on the lookout for. Drug addiction has been a global concern for many years. In spite of huge monies being channeled in this direction, not much has been achieved in helping addicts recover fully.
CBD has a significant number of health benefits. Unlike traditional drugs that may be used to treat addiction, CBD has minimal side effects. And contrary to what is often assumed, CBD is not addictive. With this, it’s realistic to remain hopeful about the use of CBD to treat drug addiction. But for now, we have to keep our fingers crossed as we wait for significant clinical evidence in this area.
- NCBI (2018). Unique treatment potential of cannabidiol for the prevention of relapse to drug use: preclinical proof of principle. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6098033/
- Science Direct (2017). Cannabidiol: swinging the marijuana pendulum from ‘weed’ to medication to treat the opioid epidemic. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0166223617300012
- WebMD (2019): Could CBD treat Opioid Addiction? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/news/20190521/could-cbd-treat-opioid-addiction