Is CBD Addictive?

Can You Get Addicted to CBD Oil?

It’s completely normal when considering a new supplement to have concerns about its safety and efficacy. And given how cannabis is typically portrayed in the media, you might wonder whether CBD oil could be addictive. Luckily, there’s a quick, easy answer to this question: it’s not.

According to the World Health Organization, CBD oil is not addictive, and evidence from both animal and human studies supports this assertion. In fact, there are a number of ongoing studies into CBD’s potential use as a treatment for drug addictions, although the evidence is far from conclusive.

Why Is CBD Popular?

While individual experiences vary greatly, users of CBD oil report a wide range of benefits. Many use the supplement to achieve overall better health and wellness. Because the compound acts on the endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for regulating some of the essential processes in the human body.

Just a few of the processes regulated by your endocannabinoid system include:

  • Stress responses
  • Sleep and sleep cycle regulation
  • Pain perception and inflammation
  • Circulatory and digestive functions
  • Processes of the reproductive systems
  • Immune system function
  • Memory and learning
  • Muscle movement and neuroprotection
  • Moods and emotions

What CBD Oil is Not

It’s easy to confuse CBD with other substances found in cannabis plants. The first and most important distinction to be made is that CBD is not a psychoactive compound. THC, which is also found in Cannabis, is the cannabinoid responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects, but CBD oil derived from hemp plants, contain less than 0.3% THC. In a nutshell, this means that CBD oil will not get you the same “high” that is associated with the use of marijuana.

How Do We Know CBD Is Not Addictive?

The factors underlying addiction are extremely complex and not fully understood. Still, psychologists and neuroscientists have devised a number of highly effective tests that can determine a substance’s abuse potential.

Behavioral Tests of Addiction

Much of what we know about addiction comes from humane animal testing, typically on rats. There are a number of ways that animals can be used to test abuse potential, many of which have been applied to CBD. Most often, these tests involve measuring animal behaviors in response to a substance or drug.

One of the most common protocols for testing addiction is called Conditioned Place Preference or CPP. In this test, animals are placed in a cage with two very distinct rooms. Scientists administer the substance to the rats periodically, but only within one of the two rooms. Then, the time spent in those rooms is measured. If the substance is rewarding and potentially addictive, the rats will spend more of their time in the room where they are used to receiving the drug.

Biological Tests of Addiction

In addition to having behavioral effects, substances with high potentials for abuse also tend to cause measurable physiological changes. For instance, animals often develop a tolerance to addictive substances, meaning they begin to require higher doses to experience the same effects. Tolerance develops when a substance causes a change in the number of receptors in the brain, so by measuring this change in receptor density, scientists can determine whether a substance is likely to cause dependence.

Another indication that a substance may be addictive is if it releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with reward, into a specific pathway in the brain involving the nucleus accumbens. The nucleus accumbens, or NAc, is involved in pathways of reward that cause you to repeat behaviors associated with survival. Virtually all drugs of abuse coopt these pathways, leading to the intense need to continue taking a substance.

CBD Oil Passes All the Tests

Extensive testing using many of these methods has shown CBD oil to be safe and non-addictive.

  • Administration of CBD had no effect on conditioned place preference in rats.
  • Subjects do not seem to develop a tolerance to CBD.
  • CBD does not release dopamine into the NAc the way that most drugs of abuse do.
  • Although comparatively fewer studies have been conducted involving humans, the evidence we do have points in the same direction. Rigorous testing of the substance in humans has found that CBD performs similarly to a placebo, or a sugar pill, on standard measures of reward, addiction, and intoxication. That means that humans find CBD no more addictive than a pill with absolutely no active ingredient.

The Takeaway

If all this science reads like gibberish to you, here’s the gist: CBD is not an addictive substance, and the risk of becoming addicted to CBD oil is extremely minimal.

Buying CBD Oil

If you’re ready to try CBD oil for yourself, you’ll want to go to a trusted retailer that offers only high-quality hemp-derived CBD. Hemp-derived CBD comes from cannabis plants containing extremely low levels of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.