Cannabis extract shows promise as a treatment for addiction

The study on CBD for cannabis addiction revealed that a medium-sized dose of 400 milligrams appeared to be the most effective at easing withdrawal symptoms

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Cannabis extract shows promise as a treatment for addiction

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Individuals who are dependent on cannabis could soon be using an extract of the same plant to curb cravings.

The results of a recent study on CBD for cannabis addiction were presented at New Scientist Live. Event attendees were informed that capsules filled with CBD extract managed to help frequent smokers reduce consumption by almost half.

Cannabidiol – or ‘CBD’ as it is most commonly known – is a non-psychotropic naturally-occurring cannabis compound that has shown promise in studies for easing withdrawal symptoms in frequent smokers.

Cannabis consumers who prefer to smoke the plant will generally do so as a means of inhaling the psychoactive cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD is considered to be THC’s non-psychoactive cousin.

CBD for cannabis addiction: One in 10 people may become addicted to cannabis

Although the cannabis plant is not said to be one that causes addiction, estimates show that one in 10 consumers will become dependent on it. This is based on data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Those who do become dependent on it tend to experience withdrawal symptoms when not using the plant, such as insomnia and anxiety. Thankfully, CBD could be the answer.

“CBD gets rid of the toxic effects of THC,” Val Curran of University College London said at New Scientist Live’s event.

Four-week trial on CBD for cannabis addiction helped ease withdrawal symptoms in smokers

Curran led a CBD study that saw individuals partake in a course spanning over four weeks. During the course, 82 participants dosed up on CBD in an attempt to reduce withdrawal symptoms from consuming the green, leafy plant in its smokable form. 

Each participant of the CBD study was administered with a specific dose of CBD; three different dose sizes were used. Some participants were given a placebo, but all were granted psychological support from a professional. All of the study subjects were deemed to be heavily addicted to cannabis prior to using CBD.

The results of the CBD study suggested that low doses of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid do not work in reducing cannabis cravings. A medium-sized dose of 400 milligrams appeared to be the most effective, according to Curran. The largest dose – 800 mg – was effective, albeit slightly less than the medium-size dose.

Within six months, CBD users had reduced cannabis consumption by half, as opposed to individuals administered with a placebo. Curran’s team of scientists discovered this by analyzing levels of THC in the urine samples of each CBD study subject.

Those who were administered with 400 mg of CBD had more than double the number of days without THC in their urine, as opposed to smokers consumed who different-sized doses. Curran described this finding as “remarkable.”

Although the results of this study on CBD for cannabis addiction suggest that the cannabinoid may reduce cannabis cravings, further research is needed.