It’s widely known that THC found in marijuana gives users a “high” which can lead to a dependence in some cases, so it’s reasonable to have concerns about other compounds derived from the cannabis plant, like CBD. Addiction and substance abuse are serious problems but is CBD addictive?
A clear “no” is the answer, but to get a better understanding of why CBD is not addictive, we need to take a look first at how addiction works:
- Addictive substances trigger a release of dopamine in the brain’s pleasure centers and over time, the body becomes dependent on the substance, experiencing withdrawal symptoms if a person stops using it.
- Because CBD does not produce an excessive release of dopamine, it cannot get you high and there is no “euphoria” present that is commonly associated with other opioids and even nicotine.
Instead, CBD actually works to balance the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain—if there is too much of one neurotransmitter, CBD will help to lower it, and if there isn’t enough of another, CBD will help bring it up to a balanced level. Plus, because CBD is not addictive, when you stop taking it, there are no “cold turkey” withdrawal symptoms.
Getting in a Bind With THC
So why does THC, the chemical compound found in high levels in the marijuana plant, potentially create dependencies while CBD does not? Apart from the variance in the release of dopamine in the brain, the difference between THC’s and CBD’s impact on the body resides in how each compound interacts with receptors in the Endocannabinoid System:
- CBD does not fit the traditional definition of a drug in the sense that it does not BIND to a specific receptor/receptor set in the brain.
- THC, in comparison, binds directly to receptors. Repeated binding to specific receptors is what produces the addiction that is associated with many drugs both legal and illegal.
Holistic, honest, and safe are qualities that we feel should always be at the forefront of seeking relief from any type of discomfort, mood disturbances, tension, and even addiction. So, is CBD addictive? Current scientific research and anecdotal evidence say no, it’s not—rather, it works to promote balance and wellness.