CBD and Alcohol, Cigarettes, and More: How Does CBD Interact With Other Substances?

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CBD for Addiction - What's The Science Say?

One of the most interesting areas of study when it comes to the effects of CBD is its potential to manage our impulses and addictive tendencies. This article will focus on a review of journal published research relating to CBD’s ability to function in a harm reduction capacity against substances like alcohol, opioids, and cigarettes by reducing cravings, managing withdrawals, and protecting against relapse.

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What The Research Says About CBD and Alcohol

Study: CBD Intervention for Addictive Behaviors

A 2015 study of CBD as an intervention for addictive behaviors found that “CBD has several therapeutic properties that could be useful in the treatment of addictive disorders, such as its protective effect on stress vulnerability and neurotoxicity.” In other words, CBD’s neuroprotective properties may help protect the brain from alcohol-related damage.

Study: CBD for Alcohol Use Disorder

A 2019 study on CBD for alcohol use disorder reports that “CBD reduces the overall level of alcohol drinking by reducing motivation, relapse, anxiety, and impulsivity.” Since dependence on alcohol is linked in part to the down-regulation of our CB1 receptors, supplementing with a full-spectrum CBD formula can help make cravings easier to manage for those who struggle with drinking.

Study: Medical Cannabis Harm Reduction

A 2009 study of US medical cannabis patients found “cannabis has the potential to reduce negative outcomes in a harm reduction framework.” The most common reasons given for the use of medical cannabis were “less adverse side effects, better symptom management, and less withdrawal potential” compared to alcohol and other drugs.

Research on CBD and Other Addictive Substances

Study: CBD for the Prevention of Relapse

A 2018 study on CBD for the prevention of relapse reports “interactions of CBD with brain circuitry mediates drug-seeking behavior.” The lab study noted CBD’s ability to manage relapse tendencies towards both cocaine and alcohol abuse. 

Study: Medical Cannabis vs Benzodiazepines

A 2019 study on the reduction of benzodiazepine use in patients prescribed medical cannabis reports “45.2% of study participants had discontinued benzodiazepine use, showing a stable cessation rate over an average of 6 months.” 

Study: Medical Cannabis vs Opioids

A 5-year study published in 2018 that tracked over 500 severe arthritis patients in the UK who needed joint replacements found medical cannabis is helping to decrease opioid use.  “While cannabis use increased more than 60%, opioid use decreased about 30% over a 5-year interval.”

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Precautions and Dr. Love’s Insights

Although we have many studies using data obtained in the lab or through review of medical outcomes, we still have very few double-blind placebo controlled clinical trials, which are the gold standard for medical research. This is because of cannabis’ outdated classification which makes clinical trials difficult, but that trend is changing!  Here are two stop smoking studies showing positive results for CBD, both of which are double-blind, placebo controlled trials!

If you are struggling with an addiction, or even an addictive behavior related to impulse control, CBD can help - but remember that any drug or supplement you take must be balanced with proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep to help ensure the best long-term outcome for you and your health.