Rich Kania, MLADC, offers substance abuse services in a limited private practice in Derry NH. In this article he presents the latest research about how using CBD products may be helpful to people who are trying to find freedom from drug and alcohol addiction. He was the first Philip's Own Brand Ambassador and is also an auricular acupuncturist.
Sober and Free with CBD?
How CBD can help in the treatment and recovery from addiction? CBD (cannabadiol), is one of many components found in both the cannabis plant and hemp plants. I’m sure you have seen the CBD ads everywhere from the Internet to your local gas station convenient store. What’s this all about? What does it do? Will it get me high? The cannabis plant and hemp plants are genetic cousins and are very similar. However, in the cannabis plant, the well-known psychoactive drug THC is abundant, but in the hemp plant, it is virtually non-existent with a barely detectable levels of up to only .3% THC. However, the legendary health and wellness benefits of CBD are dominant in the hemp plant in contrast to the low levels of CBD found in the cannabis plant. Most important, the level of THC in CBD oil from the hemp plant is so very low that you don’t get high from CBD. I’m sure you’ve already noticed that the health benefits of CBD that are highly promoted throughout the media. From the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory benefits to restful sleep, reduced anxiety, depression and PTSD. However, what is not generally covered is both the anecdotal and now peer reviewed evidence that validate the effectiveness of CBDs for substance abuse in detox, treatment and relapse prevention.
First of all, CBD can help alleviate anxiety and depression. CBD enhances the natural production of the “feel good” brain neurotransmitter serotonin that creates a relaxed “warm and fuzzy” feeling. As a result, CBD is very effective for stress management, anxiety and depression which are the major relapse “risk” factors for substance abuse. In a major study, animal subjects who were using cocaine and alcohol every day, were treated with a CBD infused topical gel for a week. The study showed “decreased anxiety and impulsivity for a further 5 months without additional application of CBD. (Neuroscience, 2009 Nov 14764-9).”
Second, CBD reduces drug cravings. Ironically, a well know benefits of CBD is that it reduces the “high” from THC and actually reduces “drug seeking behavior” for THC and other drugs. As an example, in a double blind, placebo study, heroin addicts were administered CBD for 3 days and then reported a significant reductions in cravings to use.
This study (Neurotherapeutics, 2015 Oct:12(4) 807-15) validated the reduction of “cue induced cravings.” 12 Step programs call these type of cravings as “People, places and things” that trigger the impulse to use. Third benefit of CBDs is anti-inflammatory pain regulation. CBD’s ability to regulate pain both emotionally and physically makes it especially useful for the treatment of opioid addiction. Relapse often occurs when a pain management patient tries to reduce opioid use but relapses due to unbearable physical pain. In states where cannabis is legal, opioid use is 14% less. A major meta review (University of Montreal 2015, May 21 933-38) of all available studies on CBD was conducted by the Department of Psychiatry investigating the impact of CBD on substance abuse treatment and recovery. The researchers concluded “a limited number of preclinical studies suggest that CBD may have therapeutic properties on opioid, cocaine and psycho-stimulant addiction. Further studies are recommended.”
After 30 years as a credential substance abuse clinician, I am pretty excited to see this new tool in the fight against addiction and how CBD can support long term recovery. I encourage further education and investigation of this natural “plant medicine.” However, buying off the Internet from strangers can be very problematic. It is important to consult with a knowledgeable CBD adviser like Philip and use a quality, hand crafted CBD product. Although there are virtually no side effects for a healthy person, remember to always inform your doctor before trying these beneficial oils because CBD sometimes can increase the potency of your present prescriptions.