Addiction, or dependence, comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be both a physical or psychological issue. This article will address how CBD oil, or cannabidiol oil, can help individuals with dependence on a variety of substances — including cocaine, alcohol, food, drugs, opioids, social media, or anything else that causes them to lose their will to fight their demons. When someone has an addiction, they have lost control of their free will regarding that issue. Much of it is based on a system that the brain recognizes as being rewarded for certain actions. When a logical brain weighs the risks versus the rewards, it can determine what is best for them. Conversely, when a brain is affected by the change addiction has made to it, people lose control of their impulses and will crave the harmful substance that has caused an altered state of mind. There have been hundreds of clinical studies on how CBD oil fills the void left in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to balance the desire to continue the harmful behavior.
What is addiction? Is it psychological or physical?
The short answer is yes, addiction can come from a mental place where someone has convinced themselves that they need the substance or behavior in question or a substance may have produced a chemical alteration in their body causing, them to physically require the substance to avoid getting ill. While the person initially made the choice to put the drug of choice into their system, they can experience a change in their brain’s wiring that causes them the overwhelming desire to continue the harmful behavior. The brain’s reward system is triggered when it has experienced the euphoric feelings that accompany the use of a mind-altering substance, like cocaine, opioids, heroin, alcohol, and many other vices. Not only does someone find that they enjoy the feeling it provides and want to continue the behavior, but the brain has produced a rush of dopamine to enhance that feeling. The user has been rewarded.
The mind and body are intricately intertwined and cannot be treated as separate entities. The psychological component of an addiction can be recognized while they are being acted upon. They include:
- Anxiety, depression, irritability, and restlessness when someone attempts to stop or slow their addictive behavior
- Mood swings when not using drug or behavior of choice
- Appetite loss or increase when not using drug or behavior of choice
- Sleep issues when not using drug or behavior of choice
- Uncertainty about the behavior’s role in their life
- Obsessing over supply of drug of choice
- Lack of focus, memory issues, and problems with judgement
Physical symptoms usually manifest themselves when an addict stops using their drug of choice after they have become used to it; however, it’s difficult to separate which is worse in intensity of withdrawal. The following substances are among those that connected to the display of primarily psychological withdrawal:
- Cocaine, Ritalin, and most stimulants
- LSD and most hallucinogenic drugs
- Most inhalants
- Antidepressants and other psychotropics
Physical dependence leads to whole host of withdrawal symptoms along with psychological withdrawal. The difference is that the physical withdrawal process can produce seizures that can result in death, so care must be taken when approaching recovery. Substances that cause a strong physical dependence include:
- Heroin, morphine, Vicodin, and other opiates
- Xanax, valium, Ativan, and other benzodiazepines
- Seconal, phenobarbital, and other barbiturates
What are the consequences of addiction and why stop?
The brain and the body want to continue the cyclic behavior of taking the drug that is producing the euphoric feeling, even if it’s temporary. Withdrawal can be mentally and physically painful when a “dose” is missed, causing addicts to continue to self-medicate just to feel normal. Physical and mental consequences can occur when someone becomes addicted and engages in long-term drug use. Drugs can interfere with the user’s ability to make choices, leading to intense cravings that they cannot fight. It also has social consequences. They alienate friends and family with various forms of mental and physical abuse, as well as hurt themselves in accidents. Many health issues can occur due to constant drug abuse as well:
- Weakened immune system (increased illness and infection)
- Heart conditions (from abnormal heart rate to heart attacks)
- Nausea and abdominal pain (leading to appetite changes and weight loss)
- Brain damage (seizures and strokes)
- Lung disease
- Liver damage and failure
With these health problems being a significant reason for an addict to look for ways to change their addictive behavior, the one thing that may make them realize they have a problem is the threat of the most severe consequence — death.
What is the ECS and how does CBD oil help addiction?
Present in all vertebrates, but not discovered until the 1990s, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) performs one of the most vital functions in the human body. Its main role is to maintain homeostasis. In other words, it keeps the body balanced when it is responding to changes from the environment. When the body becomes overwhelmed, it cannot function at an optimal level. The ECS contains receptors that are concentrated in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves; however, they are also found throughout the entire body, from skin and fat tissue to the heart and gastrointestinal system. This system balances the immune system, mood, pain, sleep, stress, and other important process in the body.
ECS receptors have been studied in regard to their role in the addiction process and have been shown to have therapeutic properties on a vast array of addictions, which include opioid, cocaine, tobacco, and psychostimulants. Much of the focus is on receptor CB1, on which CBD oil has exhibited anti-psychotic, antidepressant, and anti-anxiety properties. Its use has also resulted in reduction of stress and compulsive behaviors.
Addiction is characterized by not being able to stop a pleasure-seeking behavior while knowing that it causes bodily harm. CBD has been put through rigorous testing regarding its effect on addiction. One study indicated that CBD was administered to a heroin addict for three days then stopped. The CBD halted heroin-seeking behavior for up to two weeks after the last administration. Cigarette smokers were found to have reduced cravings for cigarettes using CBD administered with an inhaler. CBD has also been proven to help curb cravings in relapse phases during any recovery process.
With CBD’s ability to help the brain control impulse and harmful behavior, it is not only beneficial in the fight against drugs, but it can also help people who have battled other addictions throughout their lives, such as food, social media, and gambling. Interactions through social media platforms, such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter can create a dopamine-inducing environment, which is the same process that the circuitry of the brain follows in a gambling or drug addict.
CBD is less frequently studied even though it’s the second most prevalent cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, THC being the first. While there is no cure for any addiction, CBD oil has hundreds of studies behind it showing that it can provide a positive impact on an impressive amount of psychological and physical issues. With the ECS’s goal being to balance inconsistencies, it can ease the underlying symptoms that may have caused the addiction in the first place, from anxiety and depression to chronic pain and chemotherapy-related nausea. Curing addiction from cocaine, alcohol, food, drugs, heroin, and opioids is a process that involves help both psychologically and physically, and using CBD oil to perform its specific task of balancing the body’s systems puts anyone on the right path to finding freedom from the grips of their addiction.