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New Study Shows CBD Could Be Used to Treat Drug Addiction

A recent study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology has found that cannabidiol could be a potential treatment for addiction to some of the world’s most addictive drugs. The research targeted methamphetamine consumption in rats with high doses of cannabidiol, which was found to inhibit the desire for the drug.

The early evidence suggests that non-psychoactive cannabinoids like cannabidiol, or CBD, could suppress areas of the reward system in the brain. Doing so would inhibit one of the primary mechanisms responsible for the cycle of addiction to drugs like methamphetamine.

“One focus of my laboratory is to understand the neurobiology of methamphetamine addiction so that we can discover effective treatments to reduce this burden on our society,” said Jennifer Cornish of Macquarie University, the author of the study.

"Cannabinoids are showing promise as medications for a number of mental health disorders and symptoms in preclinical models, including drug addiction and relapse for opiates and psychostimulants.”

The rats used in the study were trained to administer doses of methamphetamine themselves. The dosage of CBD used to reduce the motivation to consume the addictive substance varied at 20 mg/kg, 40 mg/kg, and 80 mg/kg. Only the higher doses of CBD seemed to have an impact on the subjects’ motivation to return to the methamphetamine.

However, the CBD treatment did not deter the rats from consuming sucrose – a sugar water mixture – suggesting that the impact on the reward system is targeted rather than general.

“This study has shown that in a pre-clinical setting, high doses of CBD can act to reduce methamphetamine consumption and also relapse to taking methamphetamine,” Cornish continued. “Many other studies need to be done in this space prior to the use of CBD in human population of methamphetamine addicts – but this study is a first step for understanding the potential use of CBD treatment in methamphetamine addiction.”

According to Cornish, the study is only the first step in determining the effectiveness of CBD as a treatment and how exactly it would work in human patients. The promising preliminary results can be added to the growing body of research that already supports CBD as an effective treatment for other mental health issues like psychosis and depression.