Could CBD Help Decrease the Severity of Alcohol Addiction?
May 7, 2020 04:22 pm ET
Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
CBD, the widely available cannabinoid touted for various health benefits, may have the potential to help people with serious alcohol issues, according to a new review of current scientific evidence. Only recently have scientists begun to investigate, study, and understand how critical of a role the endocannabinoid system plays in addiction, but mood disorders, pain management, anxiety relief, and other health-related issues.
Not much is known about the effects of mixing CBD and alcohol.
Because research on the safety of CBD and alcohol is limited, it’s not advisable to take the two together. If you decide to mix the two, stick to low amounts of both to minimize your risk. Rather than seeking an enhanced “buzz’, let’s focus on replacing alcohol with CBD. Since plenty is known about alcohol withdrawal; we know when someone stops consuming it, the result is a slew of painful withdrawal symptoms.
CBD May Offer Protection From the Damages of Alcohol Use
Promising research shows that CBD may protect against some of alcohol’s negative effects. Alcohol-related damage can cause significant cognitive impairment for heavy drinkers. Several animal studies have observed that CBD may protect against cell damage caused by alcohol consumption.
In one study, researchers found that the livers of mice that’d been given CBD prior to being force-fed alcohol every 12 hours for five days were less damaged than those of mice not exposed to CBD. The brains of rats who’d binged on alcohol and had been given CBD were found to have lost “significantly” fewer brain cells in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex. In those rats, CBD acted as a “neuroprotective antioxidant”. In another experiment, CBD also appeared to restore the neurological and cognitive functions of rats with acute liver failure.
CBD Shows Promising Results in Rat Studies
Another recent study found that CBD helped reduce alcohol intake, prevented relapse, and decreased motivation to consume it. Based on this empirical data, CBD may also assist in reducing alcohol consumption and prevent relapse in recovering alcoholics. Furthermore, studies suggest that CBD could also be beneficial when dealing with some of the underlying conditions that lead people to self-medicate before they become addicted. Other studies found that mice regularly dosed with the non-intoxicating cannabis compound were also less likely to relapse after they’d been weaned off alcohol, even when they were stressed.
CBD, Addiction, and Endocannabinoid Receptors
As many people suffering from addiction also suffer from underlying mental health issues like depression, psychosis, and anxiety disorders (PTSD, social anxiety, etc.), CBD could make people less likely to abuse alcohol in the first place. It has been suggested these overall benefits of CBD regarding problematic alcohol use may be due to the “complex” way the cannabinoid interacts with CB2 receptors, which are located throughout the body. Other studies have found that endocannabinoids, including the number of endocannabinoid receptors in our brains, can be severely depleted and even entirely extinguished by heavy drinking.
The pharmaceuticals available to help people stop drinking are insufficiently effective and new therapeutic prospects are needed. Moreover, no drug for reducing alcohol-related harm, either on the brain or the liver, has ever been studied.
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