World-first clinical trial finds CBD can help treat cannabis addiction

Positive results from the world’s first clinical trial testing the potential for cannabidiol (CBD) to treat cannabis addiction suggest daily use of medical-grade CBD is both safe and effective at reducing problematic cannabis consumption.

The researchers quickly identified 200 mg to be an ineffective dose, so a second phase of the trial recruited more subjects to test the two higher doses. In the end, 82 subjects with moderate to severe cannabis use disorder were recruited.

Alongside evaluating the safety profile of the treatment, the primary outcome measures involved self-reported cannabis consumption as well as urine tests tracking THC levels. After four weeks of daily CBD doses, or placebo, the researchers found both the 400 mg and 800 mg doses led to similar reductions in urine THC levels and increases in self-reported periods of cannabis abstinence.

The new research hypothesizes the psychoactive “high” generated by THC in cannabis may underpin the addiction problems seen in people suffering cannabis use disorder. Interestingly, a preliminary study last year from researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai suggested CBD can reduce drug cravings in subjects with a history of heroin abuse.

“Whilst it may seem counterintuitive to treat problematic cannabis use with CBD – a constituent part of the cannabis plant – THC and CBD have contrasting effects on our own endogenous cannabinoid system,” say Tom Freeman, lead author on the new study. “Unlike THC, CBD does not produce intoxicating or rewarding effects and it shows potential for a treating several other medical disorders.”

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