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Last Updated on July 31, 2020
Finding the perfect dose for addiction
Getting the dosage right with both CBD and THC is tricky as the substances have biphasic properties. This means they affect the body completely differently depending on the amount. CBD, for instance, is energizing in small amounts and sedating in large doses. THC, meanwhile, alleviates anxiety in low doses, but can trigger it in higher levels.
A study published studied how low doses of CBD and THC were effective at treating rodents addicted to cocaine and amphetamines. Combining a 5mg/kg dose of CBD with a 0.5mg/kg dose of THC treated the reward patterns and learned behavior associated with addictions. The CBD continued to benefit the rats for nearly two weeks after the cessation of treatment.
Other important factors for treating addiction
Getting to the root cause for an addiction is key when helping to treat a patient. There is usually a reason why someone becomes addicted to drugs or any negative habit. Addictions offer a brief period of pleasure and escapism from traumatic events and other life stresses. Talking through these issues with a counsellor or therapist, and identifying the thought processes that lead to addiction are vital in conjunction with any medical treatment. Digging into uncomfortable thoughts can be troubling in itself, but is ultimately beneficial providing the care is good.
Interestingly, CBD Drip combats the learned fear that can lead to addiction. This is perhaps down to CBD’s actions on the hippocampus, where short and long-term memory is regulated. An investigation studying learned fear found that patients given CBD were less scared of an electric shock than those treated with a placebo. Hippocampal neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells) is one of CBD’s primary benefits. Studies have also found that CBD calms the brain, reducing anxiety by promoting balance between various neurotransmitters. An additional anti-anxiety comes from CBD being a 5-HT1A (serotonin 1A) receptor agonist.
Reducing learned fear and anxiety can be helpful when tackling addiction. It makes it slightly easier to dredge up the truth and talk honestly about bad habits. This could be useful if taking CBD for alcohol addiction, perhaps.
Managing addiction holistically
Some find that a holistic approach to addiction works best. There may be other reasons why someone has an addiction to a particular substance, and is struggling to quit. It’s harder to quit alcohol, perhaps, in societies where alcohol is very prominent socially. The triggers for relapse are going to be much harder to avoid. CBD can help, but developing strategies to avoid relapse situations is important too. For most, willpower only goes so far.
In addition, tackling an addiction indirectly could make all the difference. Someone taking opioid painkillers to manage a painful inflammatory illness should look at what’s causing the addiction. If a poor diet is to blame, then maybe eating healthier would reduce inflammation and the need to take opioids. On this post, there is also potential with CBD drinks for food addiction, CBD for sugar addiction and CBD for comfort eating.
What’s the most effective way to beat an addiction?
Scientists specializing in addiction are best in how to treat this issue. One side favors a ‘cold turkey’ approach, where the patient immediately stops taking the drug. Others prefer ‘harm reduction’, where intake of the addictive drug or habit is gradually rolled back, either by reducing the dose or changing to a less harmful substance.
Some patients are able to successfully go ‘cold turkey’. Their willpower is able to hold off cravings and suppress anxiety. But a strong network of support is also vital for this risky strategy to work. Why risky? Should the ‘cold turkey’ approach fail, the patient not only has an addiction to manage, but it can become even harder to quit as they have already failed at least once.
Harm reduction, however, allows the patient to build on progress. Consider someone taking CBD shatter for THC addiction: reducing the number of joints smoked over a set period enables the patient to build on their good work, and cut intake back even more the next time. This lets the addict focus on the positives, rather than the ‘cold turkey’ method which can leave patients troubled by the psychological blows of relapses.
Can psychoactive drugs help with addiction?
We have spoken a little about THC’s anti-addictive effects. Research has shown that potent psychedelics can reduce alcohol and tobacco dependence. However, studies into the likes of LSD and psilocybin have been hard to come by, never mind a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Psychedelics, of which THC is a mild one, have an effect on the central nervous system, but their impact appears much more profound than that.
Chemically and physically, these drugs help to form new brain patterns. But the psychedelic experience itself is renowned for giving the user visuals, which sometimes help them to put their life in perspective. A heroin addict, for example, may be able to perceive how their addiction is hurting those around them while undergoing a psychedelic experience. However, much of this must be viewed as speculation, since we mostly only have anecdotes to go on, as opposed to hard scientific evidence.
CBD, cannabis and several other drugs have all demonstrated anti-addictive properties. With society facing huge addiction problems, all drugs with potential must be researched thoroughly in the coming decades. CBD is perhaps more promising than others since it is non-intoxicating.