In a new study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, it has been shown that weed addiction in people can be treated with the help of CBD, or cannabidiol. This is significant as most of the people with weed dependence often go untreated.
Right now, in the world and especially in United States, smoking marijuana has become a norm in social settings as laws around the drug as become lax over a period of time. Though not the drug is not harmful in small amounts, continuous use can have many ill effects on health.
Another factor at play here is the fact that not everyone can use cannabis for recreational use. Many become dependent on the drug. Estimates suggest that around 22 million people around the world are dependent on marijuana and this dependency affects their ability to function in life.
Abnormal usage of this drug can lead to both addiction and dependency. The dependency can cause serious psychological, physical and social functioning impairments in people. In United States, more than 11.8 million young adults used marijuana in 2018.
In last year, 2.5% of American adults, or about 6 million people, had suffered from marijuana use disorder in the past year, while 6.3% had the disorder at some point in their lives.
Treating Weed Dependency
Scientists from United Kingdom have come up with a solution that can help treat weed dependency. The solution is CBD which is one of 80 chemicals in cannabis.
This CBD (hemp or cannabis derived) does not get people “high”, which is a typical presentation of weed usage because the inherent chemical (tetrahydrocannabinol) that provides this high is in very low concentrations in CBD alone.
Tom Freeman of the University of Bath in the United Kingdom and his team checked to see if CBD can help people wean off cannabis in a first of its kind double-blind, placebo-controlled study, which is the gold standard of drug research. They checked to see the optimal dosage of prescription-grade CBD for cannabis use disorder.
More than 80 subjects were given different dosages of CBD in a month-long study, along with six counseling sessions focused on helping them quit using cannabis.
They found that both 400 mg and 800 mg per day of CBD significantly reduced marijuana dependence when compared with a placebo. The 200 mg dose however did not bring any significant change in the cannabis dependency.
The research team measured CBD impact on cannabis use by measuring THC in urine and the average number of days per week volunteers could go without using cannabis. The team found that CBD was more effective than the placebo treatment on both accounts.
People in the study used cannabis about half a day per week less when they got 400mg of CBD daily, and just under a third of a day per week less after 800 mg of CBD daily. The scientists also found that there were no serious side effects of using CBD.
However, this does not mean that you can self-medicate with over the counter CBD, to treat your addiction issues because they can contain different concentrations of CBD along with impurities or toxins.
Currently there is no effective treatment available to treat people with weed dependency in UK and US. This new study shows that high doses of CBD may be the answer. But the scientists on the research team have called for additional research to determine the duration and efficacy of CBD in treating cannabis use disorder.
Future research can also help researchers understand if CBD directly reduces cannabis use or reduces other mental health issues, which could indirectly affect cannabis use.
CBD has many potential health implications. Though over the years not too much research is done on the subject, the existing literature suggests that CBD can help treat many health conditions like anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, schizophrenia, arthritis, inflammation, childhood epilepsy, and seizure disorders.
CBD has also shown some anticancer properties and benefits in managing the side effects of cancer treatment.
Still the cannabis derived products are not widely available as treatment options and Food and Drug Administration has till date only approved one CBD drug. Epidiolex, which contains a purified form of the CBD is used for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome in patients 2 years of age and older.