August 02, 2021 4 min read

We know now that high-THC cannabis has some potential to cause dependency, but what about CBD? After all, hemp CBD is still derived from the cannabis family of plants, but is CBD addictive?

Fortunately, the answer seems to be no, CBD is not habit forming. Research is still ongoing, of course, but leading organizations have suggested that CBD has very little potential for abuse. Here's what we know so far:

Table of Contents
CBD is Not Habit Forming
CBD for Managing Addition
CBD Side Effects
Where to Get High-Quality CBD
Resources

Key Takeaways

  • CBD is usually regarded as having little to no potential for dependency.
  • Some evidence actually suggests that CBD could be useful for managing addiction to other substances.
  • While addiction is not a concern, there may be some mild side effects attached to CBD, especially when used incorrectly.

CBD is Not Habit Forming

As we mentioned, research concerning the habit forming potential of CBD, as well as CBD’s multitude of benefits, is still ongoing. Still, we understand that CBD has unique interactions with the body via the Endocannabinoid System.

A jar of CBD oil softgels near a hemp leaf, a common form of CBD for daily use.

Unlike THC, which bonds directly to pleasure centers in the brain and can temporarily boost dopamine, CBD binds indirectly and doesn’t have this effect. Research shows that even though small doses of THC are linked to a dopamine boost, larger doses over time can lead to low dopamine production. Decreased dopamine is frequently linked to addiction.

A 2016 study evaluated the differences in the psychological and euphoric effects between CBD and THC. The study found that CBD had no impact on heart rate, blood pressure, or cognitive function. THC, however, substantially impacted all three areas, and as you probably already know, produced substantial euphoria.

In general, the psychoactive, mind-altering effects of THC are addictive to some people. CBD lacks these psychoactive effects, which arguably reduces its potential to be habit forming for many people.

In 2017, the World Health Organization released a report on CBD that verified these theories, which stated that “evidence from well-controlled human experimental research indicates that CBD is not associated with abuse potential.”

CBD May Actually Be Useful in the Case of Addiction

We mentioned that CBD doesn’t impact dopamine production in the same way that THC and other habit forming drugs may. Still, evidence suggests that CBD may indirectly regulate dopamine production by increasing the production of natural endocannabinoids (like anandamide known as “the bliss molecule") in the brain, and specifically in the brain’s “pleasure center.”

Through its regulatory role it may help raise dopamine levels, which researchers theorize could positively impact motivation and reward-seeking behaviors. Thanks to regulatory actions like these, various studies have found that CBD not only has very low potential to be habit forming, but it may also be useful in combating addiction.

CBD oil tinctures, a natural hemp derived form of CBD that's chosen for therapeutic, daily use.

A 2015 study found that CBD may be helpful in managing both nicotine and cannabis addiction, while another review found that it may lower the risk of addiction and help combat the likelihood of relapse for newly sober patients.

Some evidence even looks at CBD's potential benefits for managing pain as an alternative to commonly prescribed opioids. One study looked at this interaction by evaluating 97 patients who had used opioids for at least one year to manage chronic pain.

After an 8-week study, over half of subjects were able to reduce or eliminate opioid use after adding CBD to their regimen, while 94% of patients reported an increased quality of life overall.

Experts believe that if CBD can be used in place of opioid medications to manage pain, it may even help curb the opioid epidemic, which is the leading cause of addiction in the U.S.

CBD’s Side Effects

Although “risk of dependency” may not be listed as a side effect of CBD, many people often wonder if the hemp-derivative has any other drawbacks. The truth is, nearly every wellness product or medication comes with some level of risk, and CBD is no exception.

Various studies evaluated the risks of CBD, and most have confirmed similar results—CBD is generally safe and has very little potential for adverse effects, but some side effects are still possible.

One study that evaluated CBD’s side effects concluded that the safety profile of CBD in humans was “favorable.” In this study, side effects were found to be rare. When they did occur, they were mild, and the most common side effects reported were diarrhea, tiredness, and changes to weight or appetite.

When all research and anecdotal reports are taken into effect, the consensus is the same. CBD side effects are uncommon, but the following side effects are possible in some cases, especially when taking too much:

  • Tiredness
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight changes
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety (only for formulas with THC)

Vida Optima Vitality CBD Tincture

Where to Get High-Quality CBD

Now that your concerns about CBD addiction are out of the way, you can grab some high quality CBD without worry. You can buy CBD online from any state where it’s legal and have it shipped to your door, but it’s important that the CBD you buy is high-quality and third-party lab tested.

We recommend checking out our Vitality CBD Collection, a collection of edibles, oils, and more that are each uniquely optimized for your daily routine. All of our third-party lab test results are on the product page for you to view before you buy, or you can contact us if you have any questions!

Resources

  1. “The effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol on the dopamine system” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5123717/
  2. “The Dopamine Hypothesis of Drug Addiction and Its Potential Therapeutic Value” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3225760/
  3. “Oral cannabidiol does not produce a signal for abuse liability in frequent marijuana smokers” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5361620/
  4. “CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Pre-Review Report” https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf
  5. “A Brain on Cannabinoids: The Role of Dopamine Release in Reward Seeking” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3405830/
  6. “Cannabidiol as an Intervention for Addictive Behaviors: A Systematic Review of the Evidence” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4444130/
  7. “Cannabidiol Treatment Might Promote Resilience to Cocaine and Methamphetamine Use Disorders: A Review of Possible Mechanisms” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6680550/
  8. “Evaluation of the effects of CBD hemp extract on opioid use and quality of life indicators in chronic pain patients: a prospective cohort study” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31711352/
  9. “An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/

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