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CBD Withdrawal (Is CBD Oil Addictive?)

Kirsten Thornhill |

CBD Withdrawal (Is CBD Oil Addictive?)

CBD Withdrawal Symptoms & Information

CBD can’t cause withdrawal symptoms and may even reduce the withdrawal symptoms of other substances. Read on to learn more. 

Since CBD is an active compound in cannabis, some people who are new to CBD may be concerned about the ramifications of consuming CBD.

What can it do to you? Is it addictive? Will it result in CBD withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it?

The good news for those who want to try CBD is that CBD doesn’t cause withdrawal symptoms. It could help to reduce the more serious withdrawal symptoms of addictive substances. 

What Is CBD?

CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp plants.

This active cannabis compound has gained a reputation for its therapeutic effects. Research shows that CBD has demonstrated a strong ability to act as a pain reliever (1), anti-inflammatory (2), anxiolytic (3), antidepressant (4), sleep aid (5) and skin treatment (6). 

CBD induces these impressive effects on the body by interacting with non-cannabinoid receptors and acting on other receptor pathways. This is slightly different to other cannabinoids, which largely induce their effects through the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. CBD has a weak binding affinity for these receptors. 

CBD can be extracted from cannabis and hemp plant material and consumed as an isolate. The recent rise in CBD’s popularity has seen an explosion of products on the market with everything from CBD oils and candy to shampoo. 

Research shows that CBD is largely well-tolerated and has a high safety profile (7), although its use can still have some side effects. Side effects from CBD use are typically mild and can include lethargy, dizziness, suppressed appetite, and diarrhea. 

One side effect that you won’t experience from CBD use is a high. Despite CBD’s association with the intoxicating effects of cannabis, another cannabinoid called THC is responsible for the psychotropic effects of cannabis. 

Does CBD Cause Withdrawals?

If you are wondering whether stopping CBD use will give you CBD  withdrawal symptoms, the short answer is no. 

You will likely experience a return of the symptoms that were being treated by the CBD.  However, this is different from a withdrawal reaction. Pain or anxiety returning or increasing after stopping CBD use is simply an example of your previous symptoms returning after cessation of treatment. 

Thanks to its structure, binding ability, and receptor placement, CBD is not addictive and will not place you at risk of overdose. 

Both clinical and animal studies have shown that even high doses of CBD are well-tolerated. Some studies show that even CBD doses of up to 1,500 mg per day were well-tolerated (8). 

CBD’s safety profile extends to overdose risk. An overdose occurs when someone consumes a lethal dose of a substance, most commonly resulting in respiratory failure. CBD receptors are not found in the brainstem areas that control respiration, meaning that even excessive amounts of CBD do not seem to be able to suppress respiration and result in overdose (9). 

Can CBD Be Used to Treat Withdrawals? 

Besides not having withdrawal symptoms, research indicates that CBD may treat the withdrawal symptoms of other substances. 

It is thought that CBD might treat addiction and withdrawal symptoms by interacting with AMPA receptors. AMPA receptors are glutamate receptors found in the central nervous system, where they allow for faster synaptic transmission. CBD may regulate these receptors in the nucleus accumbens, an area of the brain strongly associated with addiction. 

The nucleus accumbens and addiction:

When the brain is exposed to addictive substances such as illicit drugs or tobacco, it can result in structural disruption of the nucleus accumbens. The disruption then results in addictive behavior. 

CBD has been shown to modulate AMPA receptors in this region, possibly helping to lessen the effect of this addiction-causing damage (10). By reducing the risk of addiction, CBD may be able to reduce the need for withdrawal at all. 

CBD and Withdrawal Symptoms 

CBD may also be able to help those already addicted to a substance and who face withdrawal symptoms upon cessation. 

CBD has shown a strong ability to improve withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for people to quit addictive substances. CBD’s action on serotonin receptors is thought to be one way it facilitates this reduction of withdrawal symptoms. 

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that can induce feelings of happiness and is closely linked to addiction and withdrawal. CBD has been found to act on the serotonin receptor 1A which could improve withdrawal symptoms and act on the reward effect that occurs with addictive substances (11). 

Current research backs up the idea of CBD as a cessation tool and treatment of withdrawal symptoms. 

A 2018 study investigated the effects of CBD on tobacco smokers who wanted to quit (12). Participants were shown images associated with smoking after 12 hours of smoking abstinence. The researchers found that those who received CBD treatment experienced a reduction in the pleasant factors associated with the cigarette images. 

A 2013 study also found that CBD may help treat addiction and withdrawal (13). Patients in the study were tobacco smokers who wished to quit and were told to consume their treatment (CBD or placebo) every time they felt the urge to smoke tobacco. Participants who received the CBD treatment option reduced their tobacco cigarette consumption by roughly 40%, while placebo patients had no tobacco use reduction. 

How Can CBD Be Used Safely?

Even with a high safety profile and addiction treatment potential, there are still some things you can do to ensure your CBD use is safe and effective. 

CBD has been found to interact with some medications, particularly those that are metabolized by the enzyme family CYP450. It’s advised that you consult your doctor before consuming CBD if you take any other medications and stick to lower CBD products like CBD lotions when starting out. 

Because it is not psychotropic, CBD shouldn’t affect your ability to work, drive, or do basic tasks. But be sure to consult your local laws and workplace rules before driving or operating machinery and be aware that CBD can make you lethargic and dizzy. 

Once you’ve decided to add CBD to your routine, products like CBD pills, CBD oil drops, pure CBD oil, and even CBD workout powder are convenient and effective options that won’t result in withdrawal symptoms.

* DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. It does not exploit or provide medical advice of any kind. Therefore, any reliance you place on the information below is strictly at your own risk. Please check with your medical provider before starting or changing a CBD routine.

Kirsten Thornhill, MS
Nanocraft Sciences
Content Writer | Physiologist | Researcher
Kirsten Thornhill was born and raised in a small farm town in Stanislaus County, California. Kirsten graduated with a Master of Science degree in exercise physiology from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. She is very passionate about human physiology and the metabolic and nutritional adaptations that occur during exercise in active individuals and athletes. Kirsten has specialized in maximal oxygen consumption testing in athletes and teaching laboratory, clinical, practical, and research applications of exercise testing to college students. She enjoys educating and informing people on the importance of lifetime movement, plant-based eating, and health research and development. Her passion for natural, lifestyle medicine enables her to strive when promoting health and education.

 

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