New research shows CBD may help addicts maintain sobriety. The researchers involved in the study recently released their findings from a study of lab rats in a scientific journal.
CBD has shown the potential for use as a treatment for various psychiatric and neurological conditions. Scientists are also currently studying its possible ability to help addicts in recovery. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. It is non-psychoactive and not addictive.
Friedbert Weiss is a scientist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. He and his colleagues used CBD to treat laboratory rats addicted to cocaine or alcohol.
Topicals For Lab Rats
The study focused on rats that had a history of self-administering cocaine or alcohol and exhibited addictive behaviors. Researchers applied a gel infused with CBD to the skin of the addicted rats every day for one week. Subsequently, the rats exhibited less addiction-like behaviors when they were subjected to stressful situations. Recovering rats and humans often return to their addiction as a response to stress or anxiety.
Researchers found benefits from using CBD in two areas. First, the treated rats relapsed at a lower rate than usual. Secondly, the CBD reduced anxiety and impulsive behavior. Other studies have shown success in using CBD to treat opiate abuse, as well.
Weiss said that the study had proved the potential of CBD as a treatment for addiction.
“The efficacy of the cannabinoid [CBD] to reduce reinstatement in rats with both alcohol and cocaine—and, as previously reported, heroin—histories predicts therapeutic potential for addiction treatment across several classes of abused drugs,” he said.
“The results provide proof of principle supporting the potential of CBD in relapse prevention along two dimensions: beneficial actions across several vulnerability states, and long-lasting effects with only brief treatment.”
Weiss also noted that this double benefit could make CBD an especially effective treatment for addiction. Many different factors figure into whether or not a person in recovery will return to their old ways.
“Drug addicts enter relapse vulnerability states for multiple reasons. Therefore, effects such as these observed with CBD that concurrently ameliorate several of these are likely to be more effective in preventing relapse than treatments targeting only a single state.”
Final Hit: Research Shows CBD May Help Addicts Maintain Sobriety
Although the rats were only treated with CBD for a period of one week, the effects were long-lasting. The CBD cleared from the brains and plasma of the rats only three days after the end of treatment, according to analysis. But it seemed to still be working long after that.
After the treatment ended, researchers continued to study the rats. As much as five months later, the animal subjects showed the positive effects of the CBD therapy. When subjected to stress or situations likely to cause anxiety, the rats still relapsed into addictive behavior at a lower rate.
The researchers have published their preliminary findings online. An article in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology is currently going through the editing and peer review process for later publication.