CBD: Friend or Foe of Addiction?

At 1606, we don’t make health claims about CBD. We do, however, share the abundant research on hemp and CBD—specifically, how they affect the human body. we just share the research. We like to provide references to relevant literature in science, but keep in mind that this stuff is all purely informational, not medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor before making serious changes to your healthcare regimen.  

Now, everyone has heard speculation that cannabis is addictive.

Specifically, you’ve likely heard how addictive marijuana might be, and how THC (marijuana’s active ingredient) can get you hooked. Naturally, you might have assumed that CBD (which is also produced from cannabis) can be addictive too. 

So is it? 

The short answer is no. Actually, that is probably the long answer too! CBD  is one of many cannabinoids that are mainly “non-psychoactive.” CBD alone isn’t going to get you high, and it provides pretty much none of the traditional euphoric feelings that a lot of addictive drugs tend to.

Addiction, CBD, and Other Ways to Feel Good

A decent little rule of thumb is this: If a drug gets you high, it is likely addictive. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the drug is chemically addictive in the way that alcohol or nicotine are. However, just about anything that gives you a mental rush can be addictive—gambling, sugar etc. 

Anything that gives you a nice dopamine boost is likely to be habit forming.

Some people are particularly susceptible to this sort of thing, and it becomes something they have a very, very difficult time saying no to. Addiction is a complex thing, so it doesn’t depend merely on the substance in question – it includes genetics and unique life experience too. 

While CBD is mostly “non-psychoactive,” it can bring about positive feelings in other ways, not unlike a massage, a hot bath, or eating your favorite food.

If you’re a chocolate fan, you may be interested to know that CBD and chocolate work in similar ways – they increase one of your body’s “feel-good” endocannabinoids without relying on the habit-forming dopamine reward system. This endocannabinoid, called anandamide, is also responsible for “runner’s high,” a euphoric sensation that some people report after running for a certain amount of time. Feels great, but not addictive in the way that, say, nicotine is.

CBD—Addictive or Not?

The World Health Organisation once reported that CBD’s potential for addiction was not observable. In other words, there isn’t any potential for addiction—at least, not that anyone could tell.

Here’s a key snippet: “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”

Based on available studies, CBD’s safety profile is exceptional. Subjects have taken up to 300mg of CBD per day for up to 6 months, for example. As far as the average user is concerned, this is not your everyday dose! It’s much higher. 

We all have different levels of susceptibility to addiction, and while THC in cannabis can be profoundly habit forming, (since it releases dopamine in users), CBD’s mechanism of action is different. THC activates something called the “CB1” receptor to provide you with a sense of reward, and this is usually what entices cannabis users to develop their habits of THC use.

CBD, on the other hand, does not activate CB1 receptors – sometimes, it can actually block them when THC is around! In this way, CBD potentially reduces THC’s addictive potential.

Can Hemp & CBD Help With Nicotine Addiction?

Of course, tons of people choose hemp (and its CBD content) because of a very specific addiction—nicotine. It’s actually one of the stronger addictions right up there with things like heroin. No joke! So can CBD help with something as potent as that? Well, in a randomized controlled trial, some randomly selected  nicotine users were given a CBD inhaler. They were instructed to use this inhaler whenever the urge to smoke popped up.

During the next week, those participants smoked 40% fewer cigarettes than those who had been given a fake inhaler with no CBD content. So, can CBD and hemp really help with your nicotine habit? We think the numbers speak for themselves…

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