Estimates say that one in 10 marijuana users suffer from cannabis use disorder, characterized by withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia.
Those suffering from a cannabis addiction should use more cannabis, new research indicates. That doesn’t mean smoking more weed, though. Instead, a new study found that individuals taking a pill containing cannabidiol (CBD) extract successfully halved the amount of cannabis they smoked.
The results were recently presented at New Scientist Live, and have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. However, this initial experiment into assisting those suffering from marijuana addiction offers an avenue to recovery. Estimates say that one in 10 marijuana users suffer from cannabis use disorder, characterized by withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia.
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Val Curran, the University College London professor behind the trial, says there’s a rising number of people seeking treatment after developing a dependency on cannabis. This, in part, because of newfound access to legal marijuana following widespread legalization efforts across the world.
For the trial, Curran and her team had individuals undergo a four-week course of CBD to potentially alleviate the cannabis withdrawal symptoms. The participants, all of whom Curran classified as severely addicted, were given three different doses of CBD capsules or a placebo. While the lowest dose didn’t work, those who received the middle dose of 400 milligrams experienced positive results, as they halved their cannabis intake after six months when compared to the placebo. Individuals who received 800 mg of CBD saw some results, thought the dosage wasn’t as effective to the 400 mg group.
“CBD gets rid of the toxic effects of THC,” Curran told News Scientist.
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Urine tests analyzed how much THC remained in the participants’ systems following the trial. Those receiving the 400 mg dose more than doubled the amount of days they had no THC in their bodies. University of Sydney professor Iain McGregor, who assisted with the trial, noted that “CBD has a variety of anti-addictive properties.” As a result, McGregor has assembled a team to analyze how CBD could treat alcohol addiction.
“Two of the main features during alcohol detoxification is severe anxiety and risk of seizures. We think CBD has very strong anxiety-reducing properties,” he said.
Previous research has shown that Sativex, an FDA-approved drug effective in treating severe forms of epilepsy, was also effective in helping those suffering from cannabis use disorder. Sativex contains both CBD and THC, treating individuals in a way similar to nicotine patches.