Is CBD addictive – cannabidiol addiction even possible?

With everything we consume on a daily basis, the focus is on safety. No one likes to be addicted to a substance, because this creates a dependency. Those who are addicted change their behavior and are in a permanent state of need. This triggers stress and in this form can lead to a serious addictive disease. But does CBD have the potential to trigger such an addiction? How does cannabidiol affect the body and what is there to consider when using it?

Cannabidiol in check - what is it anyway?

Cannabidiol or CBD is a cannabinoid that occurs naturally in the hemp plant. It is, next to THC, the best known substance of the hemp plant, but does not belong to the drugs.

CBD is counted among the non-psychoactive substances and consequently cannot produce intoxication. Instead, the active ingredient is said to bring positive properties for health. Some of these have been reported by consumers, others have even been proven in studies.

How does an addiction develop?

An addiction arises from the repeated and persistent use of substances or the repeated performance of behaviors (keyword gambling addiction). These events stimulate the reward center in the brain and cause an increased release of dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline. These messenger substances are also known as happiness hormones and provide a positive body feeling.

If you consume a certain addictive substance regularly, the reward system changes and shrinks. As a result, more and more neurotransmitters have to be released to create the supposedly positive addictive feeling. This leads to an increase in consumption. People with an addiction initially only need a small amount of the addictive substance, but the need increases more and more. A so-called tolerance develops towards the behavior or product that is addictive.

How does an addiction become noticeable?

An addiction often goes unnoticed for a long time, because the people affected cover up the dependency. When friends and relatives notice the difference in behavior, it is often already too late. Here you will find a list of the most relevant symptoms that could have an addiction as a reason:

  • Constant cravings: The need for the drug or behavior increases more and more. Sufferers keep thinking about it and take every opportunity to continue using.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: If access to the addictive substance (e.g., marijuana, hashish, alcohol, nicotine) is denied, withdrawal symptoms occur. Physically, these manifest themselves with symptoms such as sweating, nausea, uncontrolled trembling and loss of appetite. Mentally, withdrawal manifests itself with depression, anxiety, irritability, and acting out behaviors.
  • Neglect of responsibilities: Addicted individuals are often unable to carry out their regular daily routines and neglect their responsibilities. Contact with family is reduced, and attention at work or study declines.
  • Disregard for health consequences: Many addictive substances have negative effects on the body. Despite clear awareness regarding these effects, people affected by addiction are unable to stop using.

Does CBD have an addictive effect?

CBD is also often referred to as “legal cannabis” and is particularly popular as CBD oil or in the form of flowers. With all products, it seems clear that the possibility of addiction does not exist. So far, no study has been able to prove that CBD is addictive or creates dependence.

This excludes rituals that do not relate to the substance itself. Many people establish behaviors in their lives that are difficult to do without. This can be the cigarette in the morning with coffee, the glass of cola with dinner or the dose of CBD before going to sleep. Such behaviors are not comparable to addiction, where the body and mind crave the triggering substances.

Can the THC in CBD be addictive?

Unlike CBD, THC has an addictive potential and is therefore also classified as a drug. On the other hand, its effectiveness has long been proven in studies. THC can already be prescribed by a medical professional to reduce pain and treat various ailments. But what about addiction? CBD may contain up to 0.2% THC, is that enough to cause addiction?

Although conclusive studies are still pending, scientists agree that the amount of THC in cannabidiol/CBD is too low to produce an addictive effect.

On the contrary, CBD even seems to have a positive effect in withdrawal from classic cannabis. There is much evidence to suggest that CBD products can help people with a classic THC addiction to reduce their consumption and end the addiction.

Can other cannabinoids cause addiction?

Besides CBD and THC, there are many other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. If you’re using a full-spectrum CBD oil, some of them are in it. CBN, CBC and CBG are particularly frequently mentioned. They are similar to CBD in their effects and also have no psychoactive influence. Thus, the reward center is not activated and the cannabinoid products do not produce addiction!

What is CBD for if it does not activate the reward center?

The activation of the reward center is not perceived as a problem by consumers. One of the characteristics of addictive substances is that consumption is experienced as pleasant. After a cigarette, the smoker feels relaxed; when consuming THC and other drugs, intentional strong effects are produced.

CBD does not activate the reward system and therefore has no addictive potential. Nevertheless, cannabidiol/CBD can lead to a release of dopamine! This is due to the endocannabinoid system, which plays a large part in providing neurotransmitters and messengers.

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system and with the CB1 and CB2 receptors present in the body. Thus, it can gently provide for an increase in the so-called happiness hormones, without any addictive potential.

However, CBD is not used with the intention of inducing a state of intoxication. Most users use the substance, among other things, to reduce physical discomfort. Its efficacy is repeatedly described for the following complaints, among others:

  • acute and chronic pain
  • inflammatory diseases
  • chronic gastrointestinal complaints
  • irritable stomach
  • migraine attacks
  • menstrual cramps
  • mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders and depression

So is CBD free of side effects?

A CBD oil contains high-quality omega-3 fatty acids and is primarily used to increase well-being. Wherever there is an effect, there may also be side effects. The WHO has classified the active ingredient CBD as well tolerated, yet side effects can never be completely ruled out. They usually occur when CBD is used in too high a dose.

A toxic overdose is theoretically not possible, but a “too high” dose (for beginners) is. If the body is not yet accustomed to substances such as CBD, CBN, etc., it often reacts oversensitively and thus sensitive. Common side effects are dizziness, fatigue, stomach pain or even increased appetite. They usually disappear by themselves once the body has broken down the CBD and the effect wears off in the person.

Conclusion: No addiction with CBD

As you can see, CBD is not one of the drugs, nor does it make you addicted. However, don’t forget that every person is different. You may well get used to consuming CBD products and find it detrimental if you are denied access to it. However, CBD does not produce physical withdrawal symptoms at all. However, if you had been using the substance to reduce physical symptoms, they may reappear after you stop using CBD!