CBD may prevent relapses in drug and alcohol use, study finds


Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main components of cannabis, and one of the most studied cannabinoids in the medical field. It’s thought to be responsible for many beneficial health effects, without inducing psychological alterations or addictive behavior, unlike other cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC).

Besides being effective in managing conditions such as pain, anxiety, mood disorders, psychosis, schizophrenia, and skin conditions, CBD is also a powerful substitute for strong opioids. Moreover, and according to the latest scientific findings, this substance also displays promising effects in the treatment of substance addiction behaviours.

According to a recent study published in the scientific journal Neuropsychopharmacology, the application of a CBD preparation using skin patches, in rats, displayed an interesting “anti-relapse potential”.

The animals consumed alcohol and cocaine solutions for several days, before being placed under abstinence and stressful conditions designed to trigger consumption relapses.

The findings report that the CBD patch was able to significantly decrease signs of anxiety, impulsivity and poor self-control, thus decreasing the conditions that promote relapse into substance abuse. Moreover, researchers refer that the treatment with CBD didn’t cause any tolerance development, sedative effects, or changes in the rats’ normal behavior.

According to the researchers, CBD produced “unexpected long-lasting therapeutic effects” following very short treatments. After the end of the full treatment, which only lasted for 7 days, traces of CBD could only be found on the animals’ brains and blood for the next 3 days, after which they became undetectable. However, and despite not finding any remnants of CBD in the animals’ bodies in the following days, the beneficial effects of the treatment lasted for the next 5 months.

In other words, 1 week of daily treatments with the CBD patch prevented the animals from relapsing into alcohol and cocaine consumption for more than 5 months.

These findings provide compelling evidence regarding the use of CBD in the prevention of substance abuse relapse and, although more studies and human clinical trials are required, this new information may contribute to the development of new addiction management strategies and treatments.


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