Development of Cannabidiol as a Treatment for Addiction | cannabisMD

Development of Cannabidiol as a Treatment for Addiction

Addiction and cannabidiol development to treat it

Cannabinoids are a collection of chemical compounds derived from the marijuana plant (cannabis sativa). Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of these compounds and studies have suggested that it has anti inflammatory properties to treat animals with nervous system problems. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another one of these compounds that wields a psychoactive effect in animals.

Cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) are found in the endogenous cannabinoid system and allow cannabinoids to bind and do their job in the body. This paper provides an overview of preclinical animal and human clinical investigations, and presents preliminary clinical data that collectively sets a strong foundation in support of the further exploration of CBD as a therapeutic intervention for opiate abusers.

Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.

Main Points: CBD Properties For Addiction

Cannabinoids May Have Therapeutic Potential

Multiple cannabinoids naturally found in the marijuana plant have potential analgesic benefits but most have not been well studied, despite the widespread legalization of medical marijuana in the USA and other countries. Therapeutic indications will depend on determinations as to which of the multiple plant cannabinoids, and other biologically active chemicals that are present in the cannabis plant, can be developed to treat rare symptoms and/or diseases.

Such insights are specifically crucial for addiction disorders, where different phytocannabinoids appear to induce opposite actions that can fuel the development of treatment interventions. Whereas tetrahydrocannabinol has been well documented to be rewarding and to enhance sensitivity to other drugs, cannabidiol, in contrast, appears to have low reinforcing properties with limited abuse potential and to inhibit drug-seeking behavior.

Other considerations such as CBD’s anxiolytic properties and minimal adverse side effects also support its potential viability as a treatment option for a variety of symptoms associated with drug addiction. However, significant research is still needed as cannabinoid drugs investigations published to date primarily relate to its effects on opioid drugs abused, and CBD’s efficacy at different phases of the withdrawal syndrome for different classes of addictive substances remain largely understudied.

CBD for Addiction Disorders

Despite its long history of pervasive recreational use in society, the understanding of medicinal aspects of cannabinoids is only in its infancy. Significant research efforts are still necessary to review fully the development of CBD as a potential treatment for addiction disorders.

To date, the evidence appears to at least support a potential beneficial treatment for long term opioid abuse. The fact that patients with substance use disorders often present with various psychiatric and medical symptoms that are reduced by CBD—symptoms such as anxiety, mood symptoms, insomnia, and pain—also suggests that CBD might be good for treating opioid addicted individuals.

Currently most medications for prescription opioid abuse directly target the endo-opioid system. CBD could thus reduce side effects normally associated with current opioid substitution treatment strategies.

The Need to Educate

The fact that CBD and THC have divergent effects on behaviors linked to addiction vulnerability emphasizes the important need to educate the general public. Medical cannabis represents a complex chemical mixture, all of which may not be an appropriate treatment for substance use disorders; while one cannabinoid constituent in the plant can alleviate negative symptoms, another may exacerbate them.

As more studies are directed towards cannabinoids, scientists will soon be able to understand how best to harness the potentially beneficial abilities of cannabinoids to develop more targeted treatment interventions.

Jonathan Neilly
Jonathan Neilly
Jonathan Neilly is registered with the British Psychological Society, breaking the taboo on mental health issues is one of the driving forces in his life. His background in biomedicine gives him additional understanding of the factors that work together to influence the human condition.

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