Does CBD Cause Physical Dependency?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is arguably the most popular cannabinoid on the planet right now. As evidence of that, consider the fact that ‘CBD’ is Google’d more often than ‘THC’, and that has been the case for multiple years now.
Interest in CBD has spiked partially because of increased availability thanks to recent policy reforms around the globe, as well as partially because it is effectively helping suffering patients treat their conditions.
CBD is just one of the dozens of cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. It does not cause intoxication and can be infused into a number of products.
A team of researchers in the United Kingdom and the United States recently collaborated on a study to try to determine if CBD causes physical dependency and/or withdrawal symptoms in rats.
“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a constituent of the cannabis plant with a diverse array of pharmacological activities as well as potential therapeutic uses. An oral formulation of CBD (Epidiolex® in the US; Epidyolex® in Europe) is approved for treating seizures associated with rare and severe forms of epilepsy. These studies, which supported the approval of the medication, investigated abuse-related effects of CBD in rats and nonhuman primates (NHPs) using drug self-administration, drug discrimination, and physical dependence procedures and characterized its pharmacokinetics.” the researchers stated in their study abstract.
“In NHPs (n=5) that self-administered midazolam (0.01 or 0.032 mg/kg/infusion), CBD (0.1-3.2 mg/kg/infusion) failed to maintain responding above vehicle levels. CBD maintained very modest levels of self-administration in rats (n=7-8) that self-administered heroin (0.015 mg/kg/infusion) and did not increase drug-lever responding, up to a dose of 150 mg/kg (p.o.), in rats (n=6) trained to discriminate 0.5 mg/kg (i.p.) midazolam. In juvenile (5-6 weeks old) and adult (10-11 weeks old) male and female rats, discontinuation of chronic treatment (twice daily for 20 days) with an oral formulation of CBD (20 or 100 mg/kg, p.o.) did not reliably produce signs of withdrawal.” the researchers went on to say.
“Pharmacokinetic studies confirmed that the dosing regimens used in these studies resulted in therapeutically relevant plasma levels. Taken together, the lack of reliable self-administration, the failure to increase drug-lever responding in rats trained to discriminate midazolam, and the absence of withdrawal signs upon discontinuation of chronic treatment indicate that CBD has very low abuse potential and is unlikely to produce physical dependence.” the researchers concluded.
Obviously, this study involved lab rats and not humans, so the results need to be kept in perspective. With that being said, with so many humans now using CBD around the globe, and no reports of dependency or withdrawal, the results of this study seem to be in line with what we are seeing among the global human population in real-time.