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Is CBD Addictive?

CBD, or cannabidiol, comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. It is a cannabinoid, which is a chemical substance that binds to receptors in the endocannabinoid system to bring about effects on the body. For example, over a quarter of Dragonfly CBD customers take CBD oil to aid sleep.

While many people find taking CBD beneficial, there are some that are hesitant to try it due to certain aspects of cannabis’ reputation. The first thing to note is that CBD is not the same as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), another cannabinoid that induces the high effect of smoking marijuana. Unlike THC, CBD does not trigger any psychoactive effects.

However, another possible concern is whether CBD is addictive, as chronic recreational cannabis use can sometimes result in addiction. There’s plenty of evidence showing that CBD is not addictive and won’t give way to withdrawal symptoms or dependence. Here, we discuss the science in more detail.

Cannabis Plants

What does science say about CBD addiction?

While current scientific evidence suggests constant cannabis use may increase the risk of dependence, CBD does not appear to be addictive on its own.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that “evidence from well-controlled human experimental research indicates CBD is not associated with abuse potential.” In other words, the WHO has declared that CBD is not addictive.

CBD does not cause intoxication, therefore it’s unlikely people will become addicted to it. A small 2016 study showed CBD had no effect on heart rate, blood pressure, or cognitive function of any kind. In fact, CBD had similar self-reported feelings of intoxication to a placebo. In simpler terms, people who were taking CBD felt no more intoxicated than those who weren’t. Conversely, THC induced significant physical effects on the autonomous systems like increased heart rate, as well as psychological effects like euphoria.

Research into the long-term effects of CBD usage is still in its early stages, but findings so far suggest that there’s no reason to believe addiction is likely. If you’d like to try CBD oil, our beginner’s guide tells you everything you need to know when exploring our CBD oil products.

Is CBD addiction likely in users with addictive tendencies?

There is even early evidence to suggest not only is CBD addiction-free, but it may also help prevent drug addiction, with one study finding that CBD could promote resilience to cocaine and methamphetamine use disorders. In a similar vein, another study found evidence that CBD may decrease the risk of relapsing after sobriety. “A limited number of preclinical studies suggest that CBD may have therapeutic properties on opioid, cocaine, and psychostimulant addiction, and some preliminary data suggest that it may be beneficial in cannabis and tobacco addiction in humans,” the researchers wrote.

Withdrawal

Does absence of CBD cause withdrawal symptoms?

A 2020 study found no evidence of CBD withdrawal syndrome when healthy volunteers abruptly stopped taking it after short-term use. This is expected since CBD does not create any kind of biological dependence. The same cannot be said of addictive substances like alcohol, cocaine and nicotine, which alter the internal systems so that the person eventually becomes dependent. When the substance is suddenly removed, the user is desperate to have it back. However, this is not the case with CBD.

What happens when I stop taking CBD oil?

While there’s no evidence to suggest you’d experience CBD withdrawal symptoms, removing it from your routine could cause a resurgence of any symptoms it helped treat. For example, if you used CBD oil to relieve back pain or to help you sleep, these issues may start to reappear once the substance is no longer in your system.

Fear of addiction or withdrawal shouldn’t put you off taking CBD as there is no evidence suggesting this would happen. And if you started taking it and then decided you wanted to stop, that would be perfectly safe too.

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