If you have never had an addiction to anything, consider yourself lucky. If you have never had to deal with a family member or a close friend with an addiction, that’s a rare circumstance. Substance addiction is something that touches almost everyone’s life at some time or another, in one way or another.
Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco use are among the most common types of substance addiction. Even though many people may dabble in these substances from time to time, not everyone becomes addicted to them. For those that have substance addictions, it can cause life altering-challenges that are hard to overcome.
There are many treatment methods for substance addictions. Sometimes it includes prescription medications and therapy. Researchers have looked into whether Cannabidiol (CBD) could be a potential treatment for some addictions. Some studies have shown CBD to have several benefits that might be useful.
What Is Addiction?
While addiction to alcohol or drugs may be most common, addiction can be related to a particular substance, thing, or activity. Those with substance use disorder (SUD) deal with uncontrolled use of substances, even though it can cause harmful consequences. Those with SUD focus on one or more substances like drugs or alcohol to the point their daily life functions are affected. They will continue to abuse substances, even though they know it is causing problems or will eventually cause problems. This is what addiction does to people.
Those with substance use disorder can have thinking and behavior distortion. There are changes in the brain’s structure and functions that may cause intense cravings, personality changes, abnormal movements, and other behavior issues. Studies conducted with brain imaging show changes in areas relating to learning, decision making, judgment, memory, and behavior control.
When someone repeatedly abuses substances like alcohol or drugs, it can cause changes in how the brain functions. The changes can last for a long time, even after the intoxication from the substance wears off. Intoxication causes pleasure that may be intense or euphoric. It can make a person feel calm or have an increase in perception and sense. Different substances will produce different feelings of intoxication. With most substance use disorders, people will build a tolerance to substances and need more and more to continue to feel the same effects.
Who Is At Risk For Addiction?
No one can ever be sure if they will become addicted to a substance or not. Life is always throwing challenges and curve-balls, and sometimes even those with strong characters fall prey to substance abuse. They may not intend to, but bad circumstances can interfere with the best of us. However, there are some people more at risk for substance abuse than others.
Sometimes being at risk for substance abuse begins in childhood with the environment you are brought up in. Some indicators of being risk are aggressive behavior, poverty, lack of parental supervision, peer pressure, a parent or guardian that has substance abuse issues, and drug and alcohol availability. What may intervene in the risk of substance addictions is a better parent/child relationship.
Being prone to addiction isn’t always a matter of environment or weakness in willpower or morals. Hereditary and genetic conditions can play a factor in someone’s risk of addiction. Abnormal chemical reactions can happen in the brains of some people but don’t in the brains of others. This explains why some people can experiment with alcohol, drugs, and tobacco in high school or college and not become addicted. Those with abnormal chemical reactions in the brain may make substance abuse a life-long habit.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that up to half of someone’s risk of addiction to tobacco, alcohol, and drugs can be based on genetics. When you have family members close to you that have dealt with substance abuse issues, you could be more prone to them as well. Addictive personalities sometimes run in families and can make it harder to resist addictions. Even if it is not an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, you could be prone to an addiction to other things like food, gambling, pornography, or others.
Sometimes having what is referred to as a dual diagnosis can also present an even greater risk for addiction. When you have multiple issues, it can increase the chances of addiction tremendously. When you have genetic heredity, environmental risk, and a mental condition, it can be a recipe for addiction disaster.
Depression and anxiety can make almost anyone prone to addiction risks. When those issues are combined with hereditary risks, it is compiled into odds that may be extremely hard to overcome. People that have post-traumatic stress syndrome can also be at high risk for addiction. Many times people abuse drugs and alcohol in an attempt to escape their feelings or memories.
How Is Addiction Treated?
Sometimes when people are addicted to a substance, they will check themselves into a rehabilitation facility to get the help they need. Sometimes family members will encourage an addict to get help. Even if you don’t go into a rehab facility, regularly seeing a therapist can be helpful. Alcoholics Anonymous and Drug addiction groups can help keep an addict sober.
Some prescription medications given to those with depression and anxiety can be addictive drugs. If you take anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax, you can become addicted to them. Most doctors don’t believe anti-depressants are addictive in the traditional sense, but people can become dependent on them.
Methadone is an opioid created by German doctors during World War II to treat extreme pain. Methadone is often prescribed for pain, but it is also used for treating people addicted to substances like heroin or narcotic painkillers. Taking methadone is considered safer than some other narcotics, but there is a risk of becoming addicted to it too. There are many methadone clinics across the United States.
What Are The Potential Benefits Of CBD To Treat Addictions?
This brings us to the role CBD might be able to play in treating addiction. The cannabinoid CBD found in marijuana and hemp is thought to have many potential medical benefits. Some studies have shown it to be effective in treating seizures in some rare types of epilepsy. Epidiolex is the only CBD-based drug so far that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Some studies have shown CBD can potentially treat pain, anxiety, inflammation, sleep disorders, appetite issues, and other things. There are ongoing studies to validate these potential uses. Many people already use CBD to treat these conditions even though CBD has not yet been approved for them by the FDA.
CBD has not been shown as addictive. CBD does not cause intoxication like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) does. THC is also found in hemp and marijuana. CBD from hemp contains little THC, so an addict would not get high using it. CBD has also not been shown to have the side-effects that other drugs can have.
Sometimes when substance abusers become addicted, it’s due to anxiety, depression, or chronic pain. Being an addict can interfere with sleep and appetite. It is thought that pain may be helped by using CBD and could reduce the number of addictive painkillers someone may have to take. Many times inflammation can cause pain, and CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation in some studies.
Some studies have indicated CBD might have the potential to reduce drug cravings that addicts experience. This could be of great help to those dealing with substance addiction. Even when addicts get sober, they still deal with cravings for their drug of choice. These cravings increase the chance of relapse.
If you or someone close to you deals with substance addiction, speak with your doctor about whether CBD could be a beneficial treatment. Never stop taking a medication your doctor has prescribed without talking to them first. It’s also good to speak with your doctor before starting a new treatment like CBD. CBD is a natural product that could play an important role in addiction treatment.