More people than ever are trying Cannabidiol (CBD) as a supplement, to potentially improve their wellbeing. But some are being put off by confusion and misinformation, and the fact it's derived from hemp and cannabis plants. So can you get addicted to CBD?
It's important to understand the facts before adding any new supplement to your diet, so if you're concerned about becoming addicted to CBD, long-term use or withdrawal, hopefully this article will help.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many compounds found naturally in hemp and cannabis plants. There are various methods to extract and isolate it from the other chemicals found within the plants, and this allows you to choose from broad spectrum CBD products (which contain small amounts of the other ingredients to promote the 'halo' effect) or 0% THC Isolate CBD Oil.
This is why CBD is non-psychoactive and won't give you a high feeling, as it's the THC in cannbis which will get you intoxicated. Any CBD oil or products on sale legally in the UK can only contain tiny trace amounts of THC at most, as it's a controlled substance.
Many people consume CBD regularly as a supplement because it's shown to interact with the endocannabinoid system in your body which regulates many of your physical and mental processes, including pain, mood, memory and your immune system.
Is CBD addictive?
There's no evidence that CBD is physically or psychologically addictive as a supplement. A 2017 Pre-Review Report by the World Health Organisation states that "evidence from well-controlled human experimental research indicates that CBD is not associated with abuse potential".
Even at the very high levels used for various medical trials and research, CBD is not addictive.
The simple reason is that while CBD may help general feelings of wellbeing, it doesn't intoxicate you. So there's nothing to trigger physical or mental cravings in your body.
And as it takes time to see the potential benefits, there's also no incentive to take more than your recommended daily amount.
In our own experience, it's perfectly normal to occasionally forget to take the occasional dose of CBD, especially if you're just starting to use it in your wellbeing routine. Or to take a short break if you're unable to take CBD with you on holiday (you can check our guide to travelling with CBD Oil if you're not sure). The levels of CBD Oil will decline gradually over time with no cravings or symptoms of addiction.
Is CBD safe to take long-term?
As a relatively new product, research into long-term CBD use is ongoing. It's recommended that you don't take CBD if you are pregnant, and check with your doctor or medical professionals before consuming it alongside any other medication. And it should not be given to children.
A small number of people will experience mild side effects including tiredness, dry mouth, or occasional diarrhea when starting to take CBD, but pausing and reintroducing a lower amount will generally remove any issues.
Where long-term cannabis use has been studied, it's been shown that higher amounts of CBD seems to reduce the negative psychological effects. And there is growing evidence that it can also reduce existing addictions. But while short term studies have shown CBD to be safe, we'll have to wait for longer-term research before making any definitive statements.
Does CBD have withdrawal symptoms?
If you've ever had to pause taking CBD for a few days, you'll know that CBD itself doesn't produce cravings or withdrawal symptoms.
Because there's no psychoactive effect, essentially there's nothing to become addicted to. The role of CBD is thought to be encouraging and boosting the natural endocannabinoid activity already occuring in your body. So things will simply return to the levels before you began taking it.
What you might find if you stop taking CBD, is that any symptoms or issues that it reduced or removed will return over time.
Can CBD tackle existing addictions?
Studies into how CBD interacts with reward systems in the brain have shown that CBD can reduce existing addictions without creating any new dependency, such as for cannabis users. Another small study has found that CBD reduced craving and anxiety in patients recovering from heroin use.
While it isn't an instant magical cure for existing addictions, this research shows that CBD may play an important role in helping to tackle these problems in the future.
The reason may have been discovered in a recent study of brain activity in 23 healthy individuals. This showed that CBD only affected reward anticipation and feedback in areas which have already been 'perturbed'. While further research is needed, this again suggests that CBD might have a positive effect on pre-existing issues including addiction and depression, without creating any new reward behaviour which would trigger a new addiction.
What does this all mean?
All of the existing evidence and scientific analysis of CBD show that it doesn't produce any addictive effects, and is safe to use regularly for the majority of adults with few side effects and no withdrawal symptoms if you decide to take a break.
While long-term research is still under way, there's no suggestion that this will indicate any potential for substance abuse, and recent studies have shown that CBD can potentially help people to tackle existing addictions without creating any new dependencies.
As always, it's important to do your own research, purchase any CBD products from reputable suppliers, and to check with your doctor if you're taking any existing medication.