Addiction is the condition of being extremely dependent on a particular substance or activity. AUD or the Alcohol Use Disorder is a chronic relapsing brain disorder that weakens the ability to stop or control the intake of alcohol. This chronic condition can lead to severe health issues. 14.4 million adults and 401,000 adolescents (ages 12-17) have AUD in America. What’s even more shocking is that over 5.1% of global diseases are related to alcohol in some way. In the age group of 20–39 years, approximately 13.5 % of the total deaths are due to alcohol. Alcohol kills over 206,000 Indians annually. Similarly, drug addiction is also a menace that causes uncountable deaths around the globe every year.
A study in 2017 shows that illicit drug abuse causes the death of 750,000 people globally and the numbers are rapidly increasing. Scientists are continuously exploring various methods that will allow people to overcome this evil. CBD is looked upon as a possible resolution to this crisis. Let us explore how CBD and alcoholism are related and whether CBD is the antidote required to get rid of alcoholism.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol is commonly known as CBD which is derived from the Cannabis plant. Cannabis is a type of plant having two main subspecies Marijuana and Hemp. Any components found in them are known as Cannabinoids. The two most operational compounds among them are CBD or Cannabidiol and THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. These Cannabinoids have several medicinal and recreational implementations. The recreational value or “high” element of marijuana is due to this compound called THC. Thus, THC is a psychoactive element that alters the way a person perceives certain things.
CBD, on the other hand, has no psychoactive property and is not addictive which has enabled it to gain tremendous attention. Researchers claim that CBD can curb drug cravings and substance dependency on the brain. Thus, a study on its influence on neurocircuitry plays a major role in controlling addiction and relapse. The FDA has only approved CBD that is extracted from hemp having a THC content lower than 0.3%. Any other combination will automatically yield a positive drug test. A hemp plant is used because it has a higher CBD and a lower THC content.
CBD and Addiction Recovery:
In light of new research, CBD oil has been shown to provide some relief when it comes to dealing with alcoholism. For many years, the cannabis plant as a whole was considered a great source for therapeutic usage, but later it was revealed that one cannabinoid- Cannabidiol, plays the most important role in fighting alcohol addiction and reliance.
Several tests performed on rats in 2018 revealed some very interesting discoveries. The rats were addicted to either alcohol or drugs and CBD was used as the major influencer. CBD was applied to the rats’ skin as a gel for seven days. After 7 days of experimentation, the following results were seen-:
- It reduced the effect of drug and alcohol-seeking behaviors without changing normal behavior, tolerance, sedative effects.
- It also reduced experimental anxiety in addicted rats while preventing the impact of high impulsivity in them.
An important conclusion from the study was that it provided proof to the claim that CBD has a potential relapse quality with different actions across several vulnerability states and long-lasting effects with only short-term treatment. It was also noted that the brains and blood of the rats did not have any sign of CBD within three days of stopping gel application. The animals portrayed a reduction in relapse even after five months of treatment.
Other studies also verify the ability of CBD products to reduce the presence of pro-inflammatory compounds in the body and brain which is one possible reason for addiction. The researchers are optimistic that CBD can be the victorious component for controlling drinking, initiating withdrawal, and even quitting alcoholism.
Special studies done on drug addicts shows that participants who had the aid of CBD were able to combat drug cravings in a far more competent manner than those who did not have help. Affirmative results were also found in a reduction of anxiety and stress-related to drug cues and antidepressant activity, with the usage of CBD.
However, pre-clinical trials have been carried out only on animals and negligible human trials have been performed. So, we cannot confidently intervene in CBD as a safe treatment for drug addiction. Extensive research is awaited that can help save many lives and livelihoods.