Can You Get Addicted To CBD Oil

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Is it possible to develop a CBD addiction? Learn more about current evidence on whether addiction is possible and other side effects that CBD may have. By WeedMaps News, provided exclusively to Benzinga Cannabis.

Is CBD Addictive?

Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Verywell / Theresa Chiechi

Because marijuana can be addictive, particularly when it is used heavily and at high doses, you might wonder if CBD addiction is also possible. CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the many compounds found in cannabis. Products containing CBD have grown in popularity in recent years, found in everything from gummy supplements to post-workout smoothies to CBD-infused pillows.

CBD’s burgeoning popularity has been fueled in part by the compound’s purported mental health-boosting properties. However, some people may hesitate to use such products for fear that CBD might have the same potential for addiction as cannabis.

This article discusses whether CBD addiction is something to worry about. It also covers some of the other possible concerns you might have when taking CBD.

Is CBD Addictive?

Drug addiction is defined as a compulsive need to use a substance and an inability to stop using it despite negative consequences.

Substances that lead to dependence and addiction affect the pleasure centers of the brain, often making it so that people need to consume a substance to avoid experiencing symptoms of withdrawal. In many cases, people may also need to use more and more of a drug in order to continue experiencing the same euphoric effects that they initially felt.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the high associated with marijuana. When administered, THC travels to the brain via the bloodstream and attaches to the endocannabinoid receptors found in areas of the brain that are associated with things such as pleasure, movement, memory, and thought.

While cannabidiol also interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, CBD does not have the same intoxicating properties that THC has. Research suggests it has a good safety profile and is well tolerated at doses up to 600mg to 1,500 mg.

Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not produce psychoactive effects. And while marijuana use can lead to dependence, current research suggests that CBD is not addictive.

According to the World Health Organization, in humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence suggested that CBD has the same potential for dependence as a placebo pill.

However, it is important to note that many CBD products may contain some level of THC. Federal law requires that hemp-derived CBD products contain less than 0.3% of THC. However, research has found that 70% of CBD products contain significantly more THC than their labels suggest.

While CBD is not addictive, THC is. Evidence suggests that people can develop a tolerance to THC and may experience withdrawal symptoms. Physical dependence on THC is more likely among people who use high-THC cannabis strains.

CBD Might Help Treat Addiction

Some evidence suggests that CBD may actually be helpful for treating drug addiction and addictive behaviors. For example, while the research is still scarce and preliminary, studies have found that CBD shows promise in the treatment of cocaine and methamphetamine addiction.

A 2015 review of available preclinical and clinical data found that CBD had therapeutic properties in the treatment of cocaine, opioid, and psychostimulant addiction. Evidence also indicated that it might have benefits in the treatment of tobacco and cannabis addiction.

A 2019 study found that cannabidiol might help reduce drug cravings, paranoia, impulsivity, and withdrawal symptoms associated with crack-cocaine addiction.

While promising, more research is needed to understand how CBD might be utilized for the treatment of substance use disorders.

Effects of CBD

While CBD does not have psychoactive properties, it does have a variety of effects. Its potential impact on mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression has been a specific point of interest for many.

In addition to mental health benefits, some research indicates that CBD might be helpful for reducing pain, relieving nausea, and treating inflammation. The World Health Organization also suggests that CBD may be helpful for treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Some of the potential uses are listed below.

Seizures

Research has found that CBD may help reduce seizures caused by epilepsy. A 2018 study of children and adults with treatment-resistant epilepsy found that the use of CBD was associated with reductions in the frequency and severity of seizures.

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In 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, a CBD solution, for the treatment of rare, severe forms of epilepsy.

Anxiety

Research also suggests that CBD may be helpful for alleviating symptoms of anxiety. For example, one study found that cannabidiol was useful for reducing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety disorder.

Depression

Studies also suggest that CBD may have potential in the treatment of depression. For example, one study found that CBD influences how the brain responds to serotonin, which may have an antidepressant-like effect.

What the Research Says

While CBD does not appear to be addictive and may have some benefits, one large-scale review concluded that there was not enough evidence to support the use of CBD as a treatment for mental health conditions.

This doesn’t mean that CBD might not be helpful. It means that more studies are needed to determine what CBD might treat, when it is best used, and what dosage people should take.

Side Effects and Other Concerns

Current evidence suggests that CBD use does not lead to addiction and that the substance may have a number of health benefits. However, it is also important to be aware that CBD does have some potential side effects.

Some side effects that may occur when taking CBD include:

  • Anxiety
  • Changes in appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Drug interactions
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea

Research indicates that CBD is generally well-tolerated up to doses of around 600 mg and as high as 1500 mg. However, it can often be difficult to determine how much CBD you are actually taking. According to one study, 43% of commercially-available CBD products contain substantially more cannabidiol than indicated on the label.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health cautions that CBD may be harmful to some people. In some studies, the use of Epidiolex was linked to liver problems and drug interactions.

While such issues can be managed when taking a prescribed medication under doctor supervision, self-administered CBD could potentially have the same harmful effects, particularly since it can be difficult to determine how much CBD many products actually contain.

CBD products may also contain higher levels of THC than stated on the label. This can be concerning if you are trying to avoid THC.

Recap

While current evidence indicates that you won’t develop a CBD addiction, it is possible to have an adverse reaction to cannabidiol. Talking to your doctor first and starting with a low dose can reduce the risk of unwanted side effects.

A Word From Verywell

CBD doesn’t appear to be addictive, but that doesn’t mean that it is right for everyone. If you are thinking about trying CBD, discuss it with your doctor first. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you might be taking in order to prevent any potential drug interactions. Watch for side effects and don’t take more than the dose that your doctor recommends.

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

American Society of Addiction Medicine. Definition of addiction.

Zehra A, Burns J, Liu CK, et al. Cannabis addiction and the brain: A review. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology : The Official Journal of the Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology. 2018;13:438–452. doi:10.1007/s11481-018-9782-9

Sales AJ, Crestani CC, Guimarães FS, Joca SRL. Antidepressant-like effect induced by Cannabidiol is dependent on brain serotonin levels. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2018;86:255‐261. doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2018.06.002

Black N, Stockings E, Campbell G, Tran LT, Zagic D, Hall WD, et al. Cannabinoids for the treatment of mental disorders and symptoms of mental disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry. 2019;6(112):P995-1010. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(19)30401-8

Bonn-miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling accuracy of cannabidiol extracts sold online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708-1709. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Cannabis (marijuana) and cannabinoids: what you need to know.

By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

Is CBD Oil Addictive? Here’s What You Really Need To Know

The purported benefits of CBD have been spread far and wide, and there’s a growing amount of research to back it up. Studies have shown that CBD provides anti-inflammatory and seizure-suppressant properties, and has even demonstrated the ability to reduce social anxiety.

Following the legalization of industrial hemp production, which transpired with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, and the massive influx of CBD products hitting the market, more and more people are starting to ponder: What is CBD used for?

Outside of the United States, other countries across the globe have also started allowing cannabidiol (CBD) to legally seep into their borders. In Canada, following the passage of The Cannabis Act, which legalized adult-use cannabis, both hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD are available in all provinces. The European Union (EU) has also established regulatory guidelines for hemp-derived CBD oil, allowing the cultivation of hemp provided that the THC content does not exceed 0.2%.

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A number of South American countries have also loosened restrictions against CBD oil and medical marijuana in general. Both Mexico and Brazil currently allow CBD products to be imported for certain medical conditions, while others, such as Chile, have already established a full-scale medical marijuana program.

But some may still be reluctant to give this non-intoxicating cannabinoid a chance, as they have a misnomer that CBD could create the same type of psychoactive effects as THC, the intoxicating counterpart to CBD and the cannabis plant’s most abundant cannabinoid.

Similar to THC, when CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, it binds to CB1 receptors, which are primarily found in the central nervous system where they regulate brain function, and CB2 receptors located on immune cells throughout the body. But when this interaction takes place, at the molecular level, CBD does the opposite of what THC does.

While THC is considered as an agonist to CB1 receptors, CBD has proven to be an inverse agonist. In other words, THC activates these receptors but CBD does not. It does, however, interact through several other biological pathways, and has been reported to provide therapeutic benefits, such as anti-inflammation.

To clear the misinformation and keep the canna-curious well-informed, it’s critical we set the record straight about whether CBD has addictive properties.

Is CBD Addictive?

The short, simple answer is no. At the molecular level, CBD is neither addictive, nor does it produce the so-called stoned effect that THC does.

A March 2017 study published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence examined this by administering various oral dosages of CBD to frequent marijuana users alone and in combination with smoked marijuana, which contained 5.3% to 5.8% THC. After analyzing the abuse liability profile of CBD compared with an oral placebo and active marijuana, the research team concluded that CBD did not display any signals of abuse liability.

It’s important to acknowledge that even THC does not induce the same degree of physical withdrawal symptoms that opiates or alcohol do, but chronic cannabis use could cause cannabis use disorder (CUD). This condition causes cannabis withdrawal symptoms that stem from the development of dependency, creating symptoms that can be described as similar to nicotine withdrawal. While cannabis withdrawal symptoms certainly exist, they’re typically limited to increased feelings of anxiety, agitation, poor mood, and sleep disturbance.

Since numerous CBD products contain varying levels of THC, the matter is slightly complicated if we ask the more pointed question: ‘is CBD oil addictive?’ First, we must examine a precursory question: where does CBD come from?

There are two classifications for the cannabis plants that produce CBD: marijuana and hemp.

CBD derived from hemp plants contain little to no trace of THC (less 0.3% according to federal law in the U.S.), and therefore should not put an individual at risk of developing cannabis withdrawal symptoms that might come from heavier THC intake.

Marijuana-derived CBD is extracted from marijuana plants that are usually grown for their intoxicating properties. Unlike hemp-extracted CBD, marijuana-derived CBD oil often contains levels of THC that exceed the legal 0.3% limit set by the U.S. government. In the event the CBD oil has particularly high levels of THC, an individual could possibly experience cannabis withdrawal symptoms if used in excess. But CBD oil with THC levels above 0.3% is only available in states with medical or adult-use cannabis legalization.

A 2011 study concluded that CBD has a better safety profile compared to THC and other cannabinoids. Researchers found that high doses of CBD of up to 1,500 milligrams per day were well-tolerated by the human subjects. Compared with THC, CBD did not impair motor or psychological functions, nor did it alter the heart rate, blood pressure, or body temperature. This improved safety profile could be a result of CBD being an inverse agonist to the body’s cannabinoid receptors.

While all signs suggest that CBD is not addictive, it’s possible that someone who takes large amounts of CBD on a daily basis could experience side effects such as changes in sleep, inflammation, and anxiety if they quit suddenly.

This doesn’t mean that CBD oil with higher THC levels should be avoided, however, as the combination of CBD and THC has shown to work together to produce an entourage effect that boosts therapeutic benefits while subduing negative side effects. For instance, in a 2010 study involving patients with cancer pain, researchers found that the combination of THC and CBD was more effective in treating the pain than the THC and placebo combination.

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CBD Could Help Fight Addiction

Evidence suggests that CBD could also be used to help combat the adverse effects of THC, such as cannabis withdrawal symptoms. In a 2013 report, researchers administered CBD to a 19-year-old woman with cannabis withdrawal syndrome over a ten day period, which effectively resulted in reduced withdrawal symptoms. Another study, conducted in 2010 and published in Neuropsychopharmacology, examined a total of 94 cannabis users to see what role CBD-to-THC ratios played in reinforcing the effects of drugs and implicit attentional bias to drug stimuli. Compared with smokers of low-CBD strains, the study found that smokers of high-CBD strains showed reduced attentional bias to drug and food stimuli, as well as lower self-rated liking of cannabis stimuli. The research team concluded that “CBD has potential as a treatment for cannabis dependence” and could offer a potential treatment for other addictive disorders.

Existing research also demonstrates that CBD oil could help thwart addiction to other dangerous substances, such as tobacco or opioids. A 2013 study published in Addictive Behaviors looked at the effectiveness of CBD as a way to reduce tobacco cigarette consumption. Observing a total of 24 tobacco smokers, researchers gave half of the subjects an inhaler of CBD and the other half a placebo, instructing them to use the inhaler when they felt the need to smoke. Over a weeklong period, those treated with CBD reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by 40%, while those with the placebo showed no notable difference.

CBD has also demonstrated beneficial properties in the treatment of other addictive substance. In a preclinical animal study published in Neuropsychopharmacology on March 22, 2018, researchers applied CBD gel to lab rats that had a history of voluntary alcohol or cocaine use and showcased addiction-like behavior. The study concluded that CBD was effective in reducing drug use, and also reduced common side effects of drug dependency, such as anxiety and impulsivity.

This non-intoxicating cannabinoid has also shown promise in human models. A May 2019 study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found that CBD could be effective in reducing cravings associated with heroin addiction. To conduct the study, researchers recruited 42 adults who had been using heroin for an average of 13 years. The subjects were divided into three groups: one group was given 800 milligrams of CBD, another 400 milligrams of CBD, and another a placebo. Compared with the placebo, those who were administered CBD significantly reduced both the craving and anxiety induced by the drug cues.

CBD Oil Side Effects

We’ve established that CBD is neither addictive nor intoxicating, and can potentially reduce cannabis withdrawal symptoms and dependency to other addictive substances, but are there any CBD oil side effects to be aware of?

According to Mayo Clinic, the U.S.-based nonprofit academic medical center, CBD use can potentially cause slightly adverse side effects, including dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. In an investigation on CBD hepatotoxicity in lab mice, researchers from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences found that this non-intoxicating cannabinoid elevated the risk for liver toxicity. The epilepsy medication Epidiolex, which is currently the only U.S> Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved CBD product on the market, has some side effects that are similar to those of other hemp-derived CBD products.

One area of concern is the potentially adverse effect that CBD has on certain prescription medications such as blood thinners.

A 1993 study found that CBD blocked a family of enzymes called cytochrome P450, which are responsible for eliminating 70% to 80% of pharmaceutical drugs from the system. Researchers found that CBD blocked these enzymes from being broken down and metabolized in the liver. While this blockage could enable patients to take lower doses of prescription drugs, it could also cause a toxic buildup of pharmaceutical chemicals in the body.

Most CBD oil side effects, such as drowsiness and fatigue, are similar to hemp oil side effects, even though this hemp fiber-derived product usually doesn’t contain any CBD or THC. Outside of these mild side effects, there are no known CBD withdrawal effects to be concerned about — and the benefits seem to outweigh the potential drawbacks.

© 2022 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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