Is cbd oil safe for addicts

Is CBD Oil Safe to Use For Someone in Recovery?

Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD has become a nationwide phenomenon as CBD products, namely CBD oil, have burst into the mainstream. CBD is one of several non-intoxicating natural compounds found in the cannabis plant. CBD oil has widely been billed as a safe, non-psychoactive, natural alternative to many over-the-counter drugs and supplements with extensive medicinal and remedial effects. One of the more popularized rumored effects is the potential to treat symptoms of alcohol and drug addiction. However, the evidence of these healing benefits remains in question. Furthermore, even despite its non-psychoactive properties, the status of CBD as a part of the cannabis plant, the same plant that produces THC and Marijuana, can confuse whether CBD is a safe supplement for someone in recovery to use. Much is still unknown among the general public about CBD, its benefits, its safety, and even its legality. Let’s look at the facts of CBD and how CBD stacks up as a recovery supplement.

What is CBD Oil?

With advertisements appearing on more corners and products beginning to appear on more shelves, questions continue to arise, even the question of ‘What exactly is CBD?’

Simply put, CBD is cannabidiol, a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant that has non-psychoactive elements. CBD is one of many cannabinoids found in the plant (one of 113 to be exact). A cannabinoid is a group of closely related compounds that make up the active portion of the cannabis plant. These compounds have a direct effect on the human body by affecting cells that alter the brain. Despite rapidly becoming a household name, CBD is still the little brother to a more well-known compound, THC, or the compound that causes marijuana to be psychoactive. While the ties of CBD to THC, and more broadly marijuana, can be confusing, studies of the properties of CBD have shown that it does not have an intoxicating or psychoactive effect on the human brain like marijuana and THC do.

Despite lacking the psychoactive effects, the close relation CBD has to marijuana, a controversial substance that is only legalized in 11 states and Washington D.C., causes further confusion with CBD and its growing popularity. Unlike it’s psychoactive sibling THC, CBD that is derived from the hemp strain of cannabis plants is legal under the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. CBD that is derived from the marijuana plant is illegal. However, while it is legalized at the federal level there are still tight regulations around CBD. Hemp-derived CBD remains legal only if it contains no more than 0.3% THC content. While it is legalized at the federal level, states still make the final decision on its legality. Many states have made laws on its legality, with some outright banning the substance or limiting its legality to only allowing CBD products without any trace of THC. In Texas, CBD products containing any trace of THC are listed as an illegal substance; non-THC CBD products remain legal in the state. Tight regulations remain on CBD products and those who manufacture such products, yet through this, the popularity of CBD is still growing at a rapid rate due to its rumored benefits.

While CBD does not have a psychoactive effect on the human body, many claim CBD to have various healing and medical benefits.

These rumored benefits include:

· Helping with symptoms of alcohol and drug addiction

· Reduction of seizures in adults and children with epilepsy

· Limiting symptoms of anxiety and depression

· Bettering heart health

· Alleviating symptoms of cancers or cancer treatments

· Prevention of diabetes

These are just a few of the commonly discussed effects that the use of CBD products may have. However, little clinical evidence exists that confirms the rumored benefits of CBD products. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration also warns about the unknown negative side effects that CBD may cause and advises all to use caution when using CBD products. The lack of knowledge of the proven effects of CBD oil still has not dispelled the public from giving CBD a try, including even those who may be in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

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Is CBD Oil Safe To Use For Someone In Recovery?

One of the more popular discussions surrounding the use of CBD oil is the direct effect it can have on symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction. However, there is no hiding fact that CBD is a derivative of the same plant as marijuana, which is considered a schedule 1 drug by the United States Government. While CBD does not have the same psychoactive effects and side-effects as marijuana and THC-related products, many of the side-effects of CBD oil are unknown. Addiction in the form of dependency and withdrawals related to CBD use remains a possibility, but no firm studies have been done to validate this. While proof does exist of the effectiveness of CBD in reducing symptoms of epilepsy, few studies have proven its effectiveness when it comes to assisting with recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Positive signs do exist as studies have found signs of effectiveness in breaking a smoking habit and decreasing one’s cravings for nicotine. Despite small signs of benefits on curbing craving tendencies, much is still unknown when it comes to dosages or the potential side-effects from CBD use. Doctors have shied away from prescribing CBD due to the lack of recommended dosages or general guidelines for administration.

Much is still being learned about CBD, its benefits and its detractors, with more studies being conducted to learn how exactly CBD can have a positive or even negative effect on the human body, including on recovery from addiction. The concrete evidence is still being explored as to whether CBD is safe for someone in recovery to use. It is advised you consult with a medical professional about whether CBD products would be beneficial to you before use.

If you or a loved one are ready to seek help for addiction, contact our admissions team today. We’re here 24/7 to answer any questions you may have and to make the admissions process as simple and judgement free as possible. Find your path to recovery at Windmill Wellness Ranch.

About Us

Located on a 75-acre ranch settled in 1840 in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, Windmill Wellness Ranch is a co-occuring inpatient and outpatient treatment center specializing in trauma therapies, substance use disorder and mental illness.

Is CBD Addictive?

Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Verywell / Theresa Chiechi

Because marijuana can be addictive, particularly when it is used heavily and at high doses, you might wonder if CBD addiction is also possible. CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the many compounds found in cannabis. Products containing CBD have grown in popularity in recent years, found in everything from gummy supplements to post-workout smoothies to CBD-infused pillows.

CBD’s burgeoning popularity has been fueled in part by the compound’s purported mental health-boosting properties. However, some people may hesitate to use such products for fear that CBD might have the same potential for addiction as cannabis.

This article discusses whether CBD addiction is something to worry about. It also covers some of the other possible concerns you might have when taking CBD.

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Is CBD Addictive?

Drug addiction is defined as a compulsive need to use a substance and an inability to stop using it despite negative consequences.

Substances that lead to dependence and addiction affect the pleasure centers of the brain, often making it so that people need to consume a substance to avoid experiencing symptoms of withdrawal. In many cases, people may also need to use more and more of a drug in order to continue experiencing the same euphoric effects that they initially felt.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the high associated with marijuana. When administered, THC travels to the brain via the bloodstream and attaches to the endocannabinoid receptors found in areas of the brain that are associated with things such as pleasure, movement, memory, and thought.

While cannabidiol also interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, CBD does not have the same intoxicating properties that THC has. Research suggests it has a good safety profile and is well tolerated at doses up to 600mg to 1,500 mg.

Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not produce psychoactive effects. And while marijuana use can lead to dependence, current research suggests that CBD is not addictive.

According to the World Health Organization, in humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence suggested that CBD has the same potential for dependence as a placebo pill.

However, it is important to note that many CBD products may contain some level of THC. Federal law requires that hemp-derived CBD products contain less than 0.3% of THC. However, research has found that 70% of CBD products contain significantly more THC than their labels suggest.

While CBD is not addictive, THC is. Evidence suggests that people can develop a tolerance to THC and may experience withdrawal symptoms. Physical dependence on THC is more likely among people who use high-THC cannabis strains.

CBD Might Help Treat Addiction

Some evidence suggests that CBD may actually be helpful for treating drug addiction and addictive behaviors. For example, while the research is still scarce and preliminary, studies have found that CBD shows promise in the treatment of cocaine and methamphetamine addiction.

A 2015 review of available preclinical and clinical data found that CBD had therapeutic properties in the treatment of cocaine, opioid, and psychostimulant addiction. Evidence also indicated that it might have benefits in the treatment of tobacco and cannabis addiction.

A 2019 study found that cannabidiol might help reduce drug cravings, paranoia, impulsivity, and withdrawal symptoms associated with crack-cocaine addiction.

While promising, more research is needed to understand how CBD might be utilized for the treatment of substance use disorders.

Effects of CBD

While CBD does not have psychoactive properties, it does have a variety of effects. Its potential impact on mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression has been a specific point of interest for many.

In addition to mental health benefits, some research indicates that CBD might be helpful for reducing pain, relieving nausea, and treating inflammation. The World Health Organization also suggests that CBD may be helpful for treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Some of the potential uses are listed below.


Research has found that CBD may help reduce seizures caused by epilepsy. A 2018 study of children and adults with treatment-resistant epilepsy found that the use of CBD was associated with reductions in the frequency and severity of seizures.

In 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, a CBD solution, for the treatment of rare, severe forms of epilepsy.

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Research also suggests that CBD may be helpful for alleviating symptoms of anxiety. For example, one study found that cannabidiol was useful for reducing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety disorder.


Studies also suggest that CBD may have potential in the treatment of depression. For example, one study found that CBD influences how the brain responds to serotonin, which may have an antidepressant-like effect.

What the Research Says

While CBD does not appear to be addictive and may have some benefits, one large-scale review concluded that there was not enough evidence to support the use of CBD as a treatment for mental health conditions.

This doesn’t mean that CBD might not be helpful. It means that more studies are needed to determine what CBD might treat, when it is best used, and what dosage people should take.

Side Effects and Other Concerns

Current evidence suggests that CBD use does not lead to addiction and that the substance may have a number of health benefits. However, it is also important to be aware that CBD does have some potential side effects.

Some side effects that may occur when taking CBD include:

  • Anxiety
  • Changes in appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Drug interactions
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea

Research indicates that CBD is generally well-tolerated up to doses of around 600 mg and as high as 1500 mg. However, it can often be difficult to determine how much CBD you are actually taking. According to one study, 43% of commercially-available CBD products contain substantially more cannabidiol than indicated on the label.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health cautions that CBD may be harmful to some people. In some studies, the use of Epidiolex was linked to liver problems and drug interactions.

While such issues can be managed when taking a prescribed medication under doctor supervision, self-administered CBD could potentially have the same harmful effects, particularly since it can be difficult to determine how much CBD many products actually contain.

CBD products may also contain higher levels of THC than stated on the label. This can be concerning if you are trying to avoid THC.


While current evidence indicates that you won’t develop a CBD addiction, it is possible to have an adverse reaction to cannabidiol. Talking to your doctor first and starting with a low dose can reduce the risk of unwanted side effects.

A Word From Verywell

CBD doesn’t appear to be addictive, but that doesn’t mean that it is right for everyone. If you are thinking about trying CBD, discuss it with your doctor first. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you might be taking in order to prevent any potential drug interactions. Watch for side effects and don’t take more than the dose that your doctor recommends.

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