The non-psychoactive chemical compound of marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), may reduce the risk of relapse in addicts, a study finds.
Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. While relapse rates vary depending on the addictive, it is estimated that relapse rates are between 40 and 60 percent.
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in California set out to discover how CBD can help prevent relapses in addicts. In the animal study, published by Springer Nature, researchers gave the subjects a daily dose of CBD gel.
The animals in the study voluntarily consumed alcohol or cocaine daily, which led to addictive behavior. The researchers agitated the animals through various tests to analyze their impulsivity, which is a psychological behavioral trait associated with those prone to develop an addiction.
The researchers at the Scripps Research Institute concluded that CBD is an effective treatment for drug relapse prevention induced by stress. CBD also help reduce relapse in the situations or environmental that the animals associate with drug or alcohol use.
CBD helps reduce anxiety and impulsive traits in animals that show addictive behavior. The CBD was completely cleared from the brain and blood of the animals after three days.
The researchers were surprised to find that after five months, the animals in the study that had been treated with CBD were still less likely to relapse.
Further research in humans, such as double-blind trials, will need to be conducted to determine its medical efficacy. However, studies from human trials have supported the anxiety-reducing effect of CBD, according to peer-reviewed medical journal Neurotherapeutics.
A peer review, published in Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment, looked at 14 studies consisting of both animal and human trials.
The researchers determined that clinical data in the studies reviewed suggests CBD can help reduce opioid dependence and addiction to strong stimulants, such as cocaine.
There is currently an opioid crisis due to additive prescription and black-market painkillers. It is estimated that 2 million Americans are dependent on painkillers such as morphine and oxycodone.
Illegal drugs, such as heroin, are often laced with a more powerful opioid fentanyl, which increases the chances of a fatal overdose.