You have read the title correctly – cannabis might be a great help in the battle with various drug addictions. Or at least this is what several studies have shown us so far about the effects of the major cannabis non-psychoactive component cannabidiol (CBD).
An excerpt from a 2017 report on the different effects of CBD according to clinical data, among many other valuable points, describes a patient treated for cannabis withdrawal on 11-day oral intake of CBD. The treatment resulted in a fast and progressive reduction in withdrawal, dissociative and anxiety symptoms, as measured with the Withdrawal Discomfort Score, the Marijuana Withdrawal Symptom Checklist, Beck Anxiety Inventory, and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Hepatic enzymes were also measured daily, but no effect was reported. Interestingly, CBD was able to reduce the “wanting/liking” – or – implicit attentional bias caused by exposure to cannabis and food-related stimuli. CBD might work to alleviate disorders of addiction, by altering the attentive salience of drug cues.
The results of extensive research for the prevention of relapse to drug use were published a year later by a large scientific team. Rats with alcohol or cocaine self-administration histories were used for the tests. The results provide proof of principle supporting potential of CBD in relapse prevention along two dimensions: beneficial actions across several vulnerability states and long-lasting effects with only brief treatment.
A small study from 2019 suggests that craving in heroin addicts could be heavily reduced with the help of CBD. Forty-two volunteers with heroin-use disorder, but trying to abstain, were shown visual cues intended to trigger drug craving. Those cues consisted of videos of people using heroin, or objects involved in drug use, like syringes. Participants who received CBD reported experiencing lower drug cravings in response to the cues, as well as lower anxiety, compared with those who received a placebo before the session. What’s more, the effects appeared to be somewhat durable, lasting up to a week after participants took CBD.
We should not forget that drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease and addicts remain at risk for a plethora of reasons. Different sensatory cues could trigger craving at any time. Addicts are also very easily susceptible to anxiety, stress and other harsher psychological disorders. CBD appears to be effective for reducing all those risks.
All those findings also inform the ongoing medical marijuana debate concerning medical benefits of non-psychoactive cannabinoids and their promise for development and use as therapeutics. CBD has found application for the treatment of epilepsy and neuropathic symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. It has long received attention for therapeutic potential in the treatment of numerous neurological and psychiatric disorders. The findings in these studies extend understanding of CBD’s therapeutic profile to potential medical benefit for relapse prevention in substance use disorders. The only things that are still a subject to research include correct dosage and possible side effects in long-term CBD intake.
Another study in Australia, published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2019, found that an oral cannabis spray called nabiximols combined with cognitive behavioural therapy helped reduce the number of days people with a cannabis addiction smoked the illicit drug by about 40 per cent. Lead author Conjoint Professor Nicholas Lintzeris from the University of Sydney said the randomised 12-week trial of 128 patients who had previously tried and failed to reduce their cannabis usage showed “pretty significant” results.
The Cannabisradar-Team wishes you an nice day!