Is CBD Oil Addictive?

The supposed benefits of CBD have been reaching all over, and there is an ever-growing amount of research to back up those benefits. Studies have shown that CBD provides anti-inflammatory and seizure-suppressant properties, and has even demonstrated the ability to reduce social anxiety. 

Outside of the United States, other countries across the globe have also started allowing cannabidiol (CBD) to legally seep into their borders. In Canada, following the passage of The Cannabis Act, which legalized adult-use cannabis, both hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD are available in all provinces. 

The European Union has also created regulatory guidelines for hemp-derived CBD oil, which allows the cultivation of hemp provided that the THC content does not exceed 0.2%, that’s 0.1% lower than what the farm bill allows.

Also, a growing number of South American countries have also loosened restrictions against CBD oil and medical marijuana in general. Both Mexico and Brazil currently allow CBD products to be imported for certain medical conditions, while other countries such as Chile, have already established a full-scale medical marijuana program.  

Even with all these new regulations, some people may still be reluctant to give this non-intoxicating cannabinoid a chance, as they have a stigma that CBD could possibly create the same type of psychoactive effects as THC, the intoxicating and most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. 

Similar to THC, when CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, it binds to CB1 receptors, which are primarily found in the central nervous system where they regulate brain function, and CB2 receptors located on immune cells throughout the body. But when this interaction takes place at the molecular level, CBD does the opposite of what THC does. 

While THC initiates a psychoactive effect when coming in contact with CB1 receptors, CBD has proven to do the opposite. In other words, THC activates these receptors but CBD does not. It does, however, interact through several other biological pathways, and has been reported to provide therapeutic benefits, such as anti-inflammation.

To clear the misinformation and keep you well-informed, it’s very important we set the record straight about whether CBD has addictive properties.

Is CBD Addictive? 

The short, simple answer is no. At the molecular level, CBD is neither addictive, nor does it produce the so-called stoned effect that THC does.    

A March 2017 study published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence examined this by administering various oral dosages of CBD to frequent marijuana users alone and in combination with smoked marijuana, which contained 5.3% to 5.8% THC. After analyzing the abuse liability profile of CBD compared with an oral placebo and active marijuana, the research team concluded that CBD did not display any signs of abuse liability. 

It’s important to acknowledge that even THC does not induce the same degree of physical withdrawal symptoms that opiates or alcohol do, but chronic cannabis use could cause cannabis use disorder (CUD). This condition causes cannabis withdrawal symptoms that stem from the development of dependency, creating symptoms that can be described as similar to nicotine withdrawal. While cannabis withdrawal symptoms certainly exist, they’re typically limited to increased feelings of anxiety, agitation, poor mood, and sleep disturbance.

Since numerous CBD products contain varying levels of THC, the matter is slightly complicated if we ask the more pointed question: ‘is CBD oil addictive?’ First, we must examine a precursory question: where does CBD come from? 

There are two subspecies for the cannabis plants that produce CBD which are marijuana and hemp. 

CBD derived from hemp plants contain little to no trace of THC (less 0.3% according to federal law in the U.S.), and therefore should not put an individual at risk of developing cannabis withdrawal symptoms that might come from heavier THC intake. 

Marijuana-derived CBD is extracted from marijuana plants that are usually grown for their intoxicating properties. Unlike hemp-extracted CBD, marijuana-derived CBD oil often contains levels of THC that exceed the legal 0.3% limit set by the U.S. government. In the event the CBD oil has particularly high levels of THC, an individual could possibly experience cannabis withdrawal symptoms if used in excess. But CBD oil with THC levels above 0.3% is only available in states with medical or adult-use cannabis legalization.   

According to a study done in 2011, researchers found that high doses of CBD of up to 1,500 milligrams per day were well-tolerated by the human subjects. Compared with THC, CBD did not impair motor or psychological functions, nor did it alter the heart rate, blood pressure, or body temperature. This improved safety profile could be a result of CBD being an inverse agonist, meaning it does not cause psychoactive effects when interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors.

While all signs suggest that CBD is not addictive, it’s possible that someone who takes large amounts of CBD on a daily basis could experience side effects such as changes in sleep, inflammation, and anxiety if they quit suddenly.

CBD Oil Side Effects

We’ve established that CBD is neither addictive nor intoxicating, however the question still comes up, is there any CBD oil side effects to be aware of? 

One area of concern is the potentially adverse effect that CBD has on certain prescription medications such as blood thinners. 

A 1993 study found that CBD blocked a family of enzymes called cytochrome P450, which are responsible for eliminating 70% to 80% of pharmaceutical drugs from the system. Researchers found that CBD blocked these enzymes from being broken down and metabolized in the liver. This blockage could enable patients to take lower doses of prescription drugs, however it could possibly cause the toxins from these prescription drugs to build up in your body, so make sure to always speak with your healthcare professional before using CBD in conjunction with any other medications.. 

Outside of these mild side effects, there is nothing to be concerned about — and the benefits seem to outweigh the potential drawbacks.

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