CBD for Alcoholism & Drug Addictions. CBD is the second most common cannabinoid in cannabis plants and its properties are being investigated more and more by us and many others worldwide. It has been demonstrated that CBD has potent anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, antipsychotic and anti-convulsant properties. And as you can read on our site, there are many more applications in which CBD is explored. In this article, we will look at the mode of action of CBD in addictive behaviors such as alcoholism.
It has been found that there have been recent studies on the use of CBD in various types of addictive behaviors. As well as studies on the use of CBD with regard to alcoholism. And especially for the intervention in addictive behavior. CBD has shown that it has beneficial properties in all these studies and the potential benefits in the treatment of addictive behaviors. These include opioid, alcohol, cocaine, cannabis and cigarettes but also addictions that come from psychostimulants. What these studies have shown and the research results they provide can be read in the following lines.
A well-known fact about alcohol consumption is that the consumer of alcohol builds a tolerance to the substance. Meaning that they forever need to consume more and more of it within the same period of time as the first time they drank alcohol, in order to experience the same effect as then.
When an alcohol dependent person abruptly quits drinking, they will begin to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms as soon as the effect of their last intake of alcohol starts to wear off.
These withdrawal symptoms can include conditions such as depression, irritability, anxiety, severe fatigue, heart palpitations, the development of shakiness and/or tremors, etc.
In some cases alcohol withdrawal can become extreme, including the onset of seizures and delirium tremens. The term “delirium tremens” is an umbrella term for a number of conditions including fever, seizures, mental dysfunction, tremors/shakiness, irritability, hallucinations, etc. Delirium tremens leads to death in between 1% and 5% of all alcohol withdrawal cases.
In general, the adverse impact of alcohol withdrawal symptoms results in alcohol dependent people not attempting to quit drinking, even if they desperately want to stop. They will continue drinking merely to avoid the feelings associated with alcohol withdrawal.
Statistically, there are approximately 38 million people or more that drink too much; of the 38 million, approximately 17 million people have alcohol abuse tendencies. Alcohol abuse ranks 3rd from the top on the list of causes of preventable deaths.
Looking at the total annual cost expended on alcohol abuse, which is over $200 billion as well as the traumatic experiences associated with hospitalization, one can see that the impact and results of trauma caused by alcohol abuse on the lives of people and their families are quite considerable.
The impact on society alone is already a largely negative one, as well as other negative effects on the economy. Therefore, helping people to manage alcohol consumption and overcome alcohol abuse is imperative.
CBD for Alcoholism: Recent Studies
A study was done in February 2014 to measure CB1 receptors. These are Cannabinoid receptors found mainly in the brain and spine. The study determined that Cannabinoid signals vary in the brains of people who did not use alcohol at all, people who used alcohol in a responsible manner and people who were dependent on alcohol.
It was determined that in social drinkers not dependent on alcohol there was a significant increase in CB1 receptor activity directly after ethanol (alcohol) was injected into the bloodstream. While a significant decrease of CB1 receptor activity was detected even after 1 month of withdrawal from alcohol use.
Activity was particularly decreased in the vicinity of the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain responsible for co-ordination of movements. It also co-ordinates finer movements, maintaining posture and balance and areas responsible for planning. After even longer periods of being without alcohol, CB1 receptor activity was drastically decreased in the ventral striatum, an area where damage can cause epileptic seizures.
CBD Study with rats consuming Alcohol or Cocaine
A recent study with rats has shown that CBD has the potential to help alcoholics and drug addicts. IN this study, which was published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, rats were given alcohol or cocaine for a long time to create a dependency. The rats were then given a daily dose of CBD in the form of a gel for one week.
The purpose of this study was to see if the CBD-treated rats would experience a change in their craving for the drug. And if it would help them in stressful situations to fight off the urge to get their drug of choice.
The study showed that the rats that were given CBD consumed less Cocaine or Alcohol even in stressful situations or induced Anxiety. However, in the same situation the rats consumed more of the drugs without administration of CBD. In addition, other rats were also given topical CBD (via the skin) and the scientists were able to detect a reduction in stress and impulsivity there as well.
The scientists supplemented this finding with the insight that these results were not temporary in the rats. After one week of treatment with CBD, the benefits of this treatment could still be seen in the rats, lasting for up to 5 months even when the CBD was broken down from the body of the rats after 3 days and no traces were found in the plasma and the brain.
The Leader of this study said that the study provides prooffor the school of thought supporting potential of CBD in relapse prevention,” as the substance helped the rats resist certain would-be triggers and provided positive results for months.”
How Can CBD Help with Alcoholism?
Usually when someone reaches the stage where they would consider virtually anything just so that they can get released from the suffering of alcoholism they have crossed the bridge from denial to acknowledgement. CBD should be introduced when that stage is reached.
When CBD is introduced into the system, this results in increased anadamide production, which binds with the CB1 receptors, resulting in a sense of satisfaction or being “rewarded”. CB1 receptors are found mainly in the brain and spine. As far as the theory goes to the studies.
The brain is most affected by alcohol, so it is very important to take enough CBD to fight alcoholism.
Note that CB1 receptor stimulation involves a subjective sensation of reward or pleasure. Alcohol magnifies natural physical sensations. During a period of having no alcohol, the decreased stimulation then leads to an intense craving for alcohol in the hope of restoring the positive sensations caused when using it.
During the early phases of abstinence from alcohol, neurons become hyper-excitable or over-activated, a condition that damages and kills them.
CBD for Alcoholism: Preventing Alcohol Cravings
When you take CBD it will stop the craving for alcohol and suppress the negative effects of alcoholism.
Therefore, when an alcohol-dependent person attempts to reduce or eliminate their alcohol consumption, treatments to increase the signals of cannabinoid receptors in the brain may prove to be useful, the motivations behind my statement are as follows:
- Cannabinoids are likely to act as neuroprotective (nerve protecting) agents having the potential to limit hyper-excitability and therefore preventing brain cell damage. Therefore, Cannabinoid therapy may actively avert the brain damage that would otherwise have been caused by withdrawal;
- Using CBD in conjunction with eliminating alcohol may be useful in treating alcohol dependence and alcohol withdrawal by helping to prevent alcohol cravings.
- Using CBD for alcohol is still a new concept, but it does have a lot of potential.
Further Studies on CBD as an Intervention for Addictive Behavior
PubMed and MEDLINE were dedicated to finding and exploring preclinical and clinical data on CBD and addictive behaviors. Pubmed is a text-based database of medical articles related to the entire biomedical field of the United States National Medical Library.
They searched for English and French articles and studies published before 2015. They found 14 studies on CBD and addictive behaviors, 9 of which were carried out using animal models. The remaining 5 were performed on humans.
The studies showed that CBD can play a beneficial role in various addictions and has therapeutic potential.
- Some preclinical studies suggest that CBD has benefits in cocaine and opiate addiction.
- Other studies show the potential benefit of using CBD in psychostimulant addiction.
- Further data suggests that CBD may be potentially beneficial for people with cannabis and tobacco addiction.
Although more studies are needed, there are already some data which point to the potential of CBD in the treatment of addictions. Read more in our sources.
- Unique treatment potential of cannabidiol for the prevention of relapse to drug use: preclinical proof of principle