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  • by Nicola Boulton August 26, 2022 6 min read

    Is CBD Addictive?

    CBD or cannabidiol is a natural remedy for many ailments. CBD is non-addictive. This article looks at how CBD eliminates the ailments in a body without altering brain function and improving your well-being.

    Cannabidiol or CBD is a natural compound with many therapeutic benefits. While offering its therapeutic benefits, CBD does not alter how the brain works. CBD is linked to addiction treatment in alcohol and drug abuse. It helps in opioid intoxication and withdrawal. People with an addiction to other drugs may benefit from taking CBD. While CBD contains THC, the THC content does not cause addiction. THC in CBD is 0.3%, and these levels do not impede brain function. Some CBD products contain THC, and the combination improves entourage effects. Addiction is a brain disease, and CBD is not an addictive substance.

    CBD vs. THC

    THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is a compound found in the cannabis plant. According to Sharma et al. (2020), THC is psychoactive in altering thoughts and behaviors when entering the brain. THC percentage in medicinal products is 2%, 5%, 15%, 20%, or 30%.  THC binds to the CB1, which signals the brain to release dopamine. The role of the hormone is to create pleasurable feelings and highness. THC also causes memory impairment. Taking THC interferes with the function of the Hippocampus- the part of the brain vital for memory. Hippocampus impairment leads to memory loss. THC is habit-forming, and when people stop using it, it causes withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of THC addiction include irritability, difficulty staying asleep, loss of appetite, nausea, and more. However, if you take THC with high potency, the more it will cause unwanted effects.

    CBD is non-psychoactive. According to Matsunaga et al. (2014), CB1 causes the production of dopamine. THC produces a high feeling since it binds to CB1, stimulating dopamine release. Contrary, CBD blocks the production of dopamine by inhibiting CB1. It increases the production of anandamide which maintains the body's homeostasis. This is why CBD is an effective treatment for pain and inflammation, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and other conditions. Unlike THC, which impairs memory, CBD does not interfere with the brain. Instead, it improves cognitive processes such as memory, focus, and thought. CBD is well-tolerated even in higher doses. It is worth noting that THC is available in some CBD products. The role of THC is to increase its effectiveness. Regarding the entourage effect, when CBD is combined with THC, it produces a wide range of benefits than taking it alone. The percentage of THC in CBD products is reduced to 0.3% to ensure that it does not cause addiction and meets the medicinal purpose.

    Risks of THC

    Impair Psychomotor Skills

    THC impairs the corticosteroid networks which are involved in motor learning and control. In short, THC changes how the brain functions, and people cannot engage in motor performance such as speaking, driving, and other simple actions.


    Patel et al. (2020) proved that although THC does not cause schizophrenia, extended use of THC is associated with the mental disorder. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects thoughts and behaviors. People with this disorder show psychotic symptoms such as trouble in planning, avoiding social interaction, lack of energy, and more.   When recovering from THC addiction, there is a risk of suffering from schizophrenia symptoms.

    Effect on Intelligence

    Long-term THC use by young people is associated with decreased intelligence and cognitive impairment. When teenagers use THC, it changes their brain structure. It affects the decisions making, focus, and memory.

    How Does CBD Work?

    It is important to know that THC binds directly to the cannabinoid receptors. THC makes the CB1 activate and causes a high feeling. CBD does not bind directly to the receptors.   It works by blocking the effect and potency of THC.

    Paronis et al. (2012) asserted that while THC acts as an agonist to produce psychoactive properties, CBD acts as an antagonist and dampens the biological effect of THC. There are independent pathways that CBD uses to exert its therapeutic benefit. According to Lowin  & Straub (2015),  CBD works with the non-cannabinoid receptors such as serotonin receptors to carry out physiological processes such as combating anxiety, reducing nausea, stimulating appetite, improving sleep, and more. CBD produces its therapeutic properties by binding to TRPV1 to reduce pain and inflammation. CBD blocks the GPR55. The receptors control various processes, including bone density. However, when GPR55 is overstimulated, the bone becomes weak. CBD can block the receptor from destroying the bones. CBD activates PPARs. The latter plays a vital role in preventing cancer cells from increasing, thus preventing tumor growth. CBD has an anti-proliferative effect that inhibits the overproduction of cancer cells.

    Benefits of CBD

    Skin Health

    Baswan et al. (2020) suggested that CBD is a proven treatment for skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis. These opioids cause skin inflammation, dryness, and intense itching. CBD has inflammatory effects that reduce itching and pain and help the skin to regenerate.


    THC is linked with schizophrenia symptoms. McPartland et al. (2015) revealed that CBD inhibits the effects of THC,  preventing the paranoid systems.


    Blessings et al. (2015) proved that CBD has anxiolytic effects that treat PTSD. The study above also showed that the anxiolytic effects calm and relax the mind, unwind the negative thoughts, and give you a good night's sleep.

    Chronic Pain

    Eskander et al. (2020) proved that CBD's anti-inflammatory properties help alleviate all types of pain, from muscle soreness to arthritis and back pain.

    Opioid Addiction

    CBD is not addictive. Unlike THC, which leads to addiction, CBD is proven to treat addiction. Heroin and opioid addiction is a health issue associated with high mortality and a significant treatment gap. Researchers have explored new treatment options for addiction. They have shown that CBD reduces the craving for addictive drugs and substances, caving for CBD products such as gummies, oil, chocolates, pills, capsules, and more. The craving for CBD helps those in recovery to healthy habits.


    CBD is not addictive. It does not interfere with how the brain works. While it does not directly interact with CB1, it exerts its therapeutic effect in multiple molecular pathways. It offers various therapeutic benefits without psychoactive effects. CBD helps in ai reduction, better skin, healthy skin, prevents the reproduction of cancer cells, alleviates anxiety and depression, improves sleep, and many more. The compound that causes addiction and produces a high feeling is THC. However, THC has therapeutic benefits when combined with CBD. CBD products contain 0.3% THC, which is too low to cause euphoric feelings. When THC and CBD work together, they become a powerful intervention in treating many conditions. CBD is safe, and the combination of CBD and THC is more effective in treating d ailments.


    Baswan, S. M., Klosner, A. E., Glynn, K., Rajgopal, A., Malik, K., Yim, S., & Stern, N. (2020). Therapeutic Potential Of Cannabidiol (CBD) For Skin Health And Disorders. Clinical, Cosmetic And Investigational Dermatology, 13, 927.

    Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol Is A Potential Treatment For Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics, 12(4), 825-836.

    Eskander, J. P., Spall, J., Spall, A., Shah, R. V., & Kaye, A. D. (2020). Cannabidiol (CBD) As A Treatment Of Acute And Chronic Back Pain: A Case Series And Literature Review. J Opioid Manag, 16(3), 215-8.

    Lowin, T., & Straub, R. H. (2015). Cannabinoid-Based Drugs Target CB1 And TRPV1, The Sympathetic Nervous System, And Arthritis. Arthritis Research & Therapy, 17(1), 1-13.

    Matsunaga, M., Isowa, T., Yamakawa, K., Fukuyama, S., Shinoda, J., Yamada, J., & Ohira, H. (2014). Genetic Variations In The Human Cannabinoid Receptor Gene Are Associated With Happiness: Plos One, 9(4), E93771.

    Mcpartland, J. M., Duncan, M., Di Marzo, V., & Pertwee, R. G. (2015). Are Cannabidiol And Δ9‐Tetrahydrocannabivarin Negative Modulators Of The Endocannabinoid System? A Systematic Review. British Journal Of Pharmacology, 172(3), 737-753.

    Paronis, C. A., Nikas, S. P., Shukla, V. G., & Makriyannis, A. (2012). Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Acts As A Partial Agonist/Antagonist In Mice. Behavioral Pharmacology, 23(8), 802.

    Patel, S., Khan, S., Saipavankumar, M., & Hamid, P. (2020). The Association Between Cannabis Use And Schizophrenia: Causative Or Curative? A Systematic Review. Cureus, 12(7).

    Sharma, P., Murthy, P., & Bharath, M. S. (2012). Chemistry, Metabolism, And Toxicology Of Cannabis: Clinical Implications. Iranian Journal Of Psychiatry, 7(4), 149.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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