You’ve probably been hearing about CBD for a while now, and you likely have some questions. What exactly is it, how does it work, and are there any side effects? Namely, is CBD addictive?
While it’s easy to understand why people might think otherwise, CBD is not addictive. Let’s explore the non-psychoactive, non-habit-forming properties of CBD.
Table of Contents
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is extracted from the hemp plant to make CBD products. Today, people are learning about CBD’s wellness benefits and trying goods like CBD oil to remedy their ailments. It seems like there are new findings every day on the wonders of CBD and hemp.
This isn’t a new concept, though! People have been using hemp as a natural medicine (among many other uses) for thousands of years. According to MIT’s “The People’s History,” doctors would recommend hemp seeds and flowers for troubles ranging from childbirth to upset stomachs.
Where Does CBD Come From?
Hemp, a cannabis plant containing <0.3% THC, was banned in the United States during the late 1930s due to a successful propaganda campaign. It remained that way until 2018, when the Farm Bill federally legalized the growth and sale of hemp and hemp-derived products, opening the door to the modern world of CBD.
Today, CBD is constantly researched for its therapeutic benefits. Though it is federally legal as long it contains 0.3% or less THC, CBD has not yet been FDA approved for medical use (other than in one anti-seizure medication, Epidiolex).
How Does CBD Work?
CBD is a cannabinoid that boosts the function of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a body-wide network of cannabinoid receptors partly responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. It does so by regulating such things as temperature, mood, breathing, appetite, and much more.
The Various Forms Of CBD Today
There are three different formulations of CBD available on the market: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. Each formula has unique benefits that make them suitable for a consumer’s various needs.
Full-Spectrum CBD Oil
While CBD is the most abundant cannabinoid found in the hemp plant, there are other cannabinoids present (see our list of cannabinoids here). This also includes trace amounts of THC. Full-spectrum CBD oil is made using that complete cannabinoid profile, which gives it the ability to produce the “entourage effect.”
The entourage effect is the outcome of two or more cannabinoids (like CBD and THC), and other hemp plant compounds working together to increase each other’s efficacy. When you ingest a diverse profile of cannabinoids, the resultant entourage effect creates a heightened experience.
While THC is not necessary to produce the entourage effect, its presence creates the most beneficial and synergistic effects. Full-spectrum CBD has <0.3% THC which is not enough to make you “high.” The additional THC makes full-spectrum a potent, effective, and popular option for experiencing the effects of CBD!
Broad-spectrum CBD is also made using a vast profile of cannabinoids and other natural hemp compounds. Though, it has gone through an extensive process to remove all THC. This means that it can produce the entourage effect, though it isn’t quite as tangible as that from full-spectrum.
Broad-spectrum is a good choice for those who wish to avoid THC for various reasons. While full-spectrum only contains extremely low THC levels, continuous drug and alcohol dependence may lead to a positive drug test. If you need to be cautious for work or athletics, broad-spectrum is the way to go.
CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD. This is because it’s gone through an extensive process to remove all other cannabinoids and hemp compounds. Like oil, it can be mixed into beverages or foods, but isolate can also be vaporized.
CBD isolate is an excellent option for those who wish to experience the therapeutic effects of CBD without the hindrance of any other cannabinoids. It’s versatile, discreet, and incredibly potent!
Why Do People Use CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is continuously being researched for its range of potential benefits. As we discussed, hemp and hemp-derived products have been used in natural remedies for thousands of years. CBD remains mostly unapproved by the FDA for official medical use. Though, CBD experts and consumers alike suggest that CBD may help alleviate or relieve issues such as:
- Worried/nervous thoughts
- Trouble sleeping
- Upset stomach
Many people take CBD because it benefits the endocannabinoid system (ECS), as we discussed earlier. We naturally produce endocannabinoids that help maintain our homeostasis. When you ingest cannabinoids like CBD, you supplement your endocannabinoids and increase the functionality of your ECS.
The short of it is that CBD can be beneficial in various ways. However, its ability to support our bodies’ natural balance is one of the most well-known and researched benefits at this time.
Does CBD Get You High?
So now that we’ve discussed how low levels of THC are present in the hemp plant and full-spectrum CBD oil, you’re probably wondering if CBD can get you “high.” The short answer is no, federally regulated, hemp-derived CBD products will not get you high. Now, let’s explore why that is.
Marijuana and hemp are two variations of the cannabis plant. Both contain a range of cannabinoids, including THC and CBD. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is well-known for its psychoactive properties – or, its ability to give the consumer a “high” or intoxicated feeling.
Marijuana contains high levels of THC (certain high cbd strains can reach more than 20% THC!) and is commonly used for its intoxicating and soothing side effects. At this point, marijuana is only recreationally legal in 19 states and Washington DC, though it is approved for medical use in 37 states.
On the other hand, Hemp is federally legal in all 50 states as long as it adheres to federal guidelines. If you think about THC levels in marijuana that induce a “high,” the amounts found in legal hemp and CBD products are minuscule. It is not enough to make you feel intoxicated.
A 2019 study done by the Journal of Neuroscience reported that “CBD functionally mitigates the neuropsychiatric side effects of THC.” Simply put, CBD can help inhibit the intoxicating side effects of THC that make people feel “high.”
If you’re interested in marijuana but worried about the psychoactive effects, look for a strain with high levels of CBD to help moderate your reaction to the THC.
Is CBD Addictive?
The answer is a resounding no. According to a 2017 roundup of clinical trials from the World Health Organization (WHO), “evidence from well-controlled human experimental research indicates that CBD is not associated with abuse potential.” Good news, right? Just wait – it gets even better.
In the same report, they mention that CBD may have a reverse tolerance effect. This means that you will most likely need less CBD to experience its beneficial effects as time goes on. This is an opposite reaction from “drugs of abuse such as cocaine,” to which people typically develop tolerances.
Throughout their research, the WHO discovered that THC did produce some “abuse-related subjective effects,” indicating that it may have addictive behaviors.
Can CBD Help With Cannabis Addiction?
CBD will not cure addiction! Though, the calming properties and health benefits of CBD products may help alleviate withdrawal symptoms from opiates and benzodiazepines. Some common side effects of heroin addiction withdrawals are:
- Stress or Anxiety
- Body aches
- Neuropathic pain
- chronic pain
If you compare this list of cannabis withdrawal symptoms to the list of complaints CBD may potentially help alleviate, you’ll find overwhelming similarities. Again, CBD is not a cure for addiction, but it may be able to soothe some of the physical and mental strains of quitting.
Final Thoughts – Is CBD Addictive?
Hopefully, this gave you some insight into the world of CBD and answered some of your questions. Here are some of the main takeaways:
CBD Is NOT Addictive
Based on scientific studies, CBD is non-habit-forming in humans and animals, containing no addictive properties. Additionally, you won’t experience CBD withdrawal if you suddenly stop your cannabidiol routine.
CBD Products Derived From Hemp Will Not Get You High
Both hemp and marijuana contain THC and CBD. CBD derived from hemp plants will only legally contain 0.3% or less THC. However, pure CBD derived from marijuana will contain much higher levels of THC, which could produce psychoactive effects.
CBD Could Help Soothe Withdrawal Symptoms
Cannabidiol will not cure drug addiction. But, its calming benefits may help alleviate some of the side effects commonly reported during the quitting process.