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Can You Get Addicted to CBD?

| Spencer Beaudreault

Cannabidiol. The cannabinoid that is most commonly associated with pain relief, anxiety and stress relief, and freedom from insomnia. If CBD isn’t the most commonly discussed cannabinoid in existence, then it certainly is in second place! CBD has been hailed as a surprisingly powerful compound that may provide those suffering from various aches and pains with a natural and safe alternative to deadly painkillers.

Trouble sleeping? CBD may help.
Back pain? Try CBD.
Feeling anxious? CBD may be able to help you calm down.

cannabidiol cbd for back pain

It’s legal, safe, and all natural! It is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, neuroprotective properties, and it has even been approved by the FDA for its ability to suppress seizures in some cases! Yes, CBD is the first cannabinoid that has been proven by the FDA to assist with a specific disorder!

But with its FDA-backing already stated, does this really mean that CBD is safe? If so, just how safe is CBD exactly? Are there any negative effects or possibilities associated with CBD?

And, if CBD may be able to replace painkillers, is it possible that CBD will lead to developing a habit just as so many painkillers do? Is cannabidiol addictive?

cannabidiol and addiction

These are all very important questions. Questions that need definitive answers. Is CBD addictive, and if the possibility for addiction does exist, how prevalent is it for users of CBD? To truly be able to answer this question honestly, we first need to discuss a bit about the nature of CBD, the properties that it does and does not possess, as well as addiction itself.

Let me elaborate.


The Nature of CBD

By now, you have probably heard a good amount about cannabidiol, or CBD. For those who may have not yet done their research, we’ll go over the basics! CBD is a now-famous cannabinoid that has been heralded by many. Supporters have stated that CBD can provide relief to those dealing with inflammation, digestive problems, insomnia, general aches and pains, and a plethora of other ailments. Unlike THC, It is non-psychoactive, so you won’t feel high from using CBD. Instead, you may notice that minor aches and pains have lessened, and that you feel more calm and relaxed than before you used the CBD product. Typical CBD products include tinctures, topicals, and gummies. They even have CBD capsules that many prefer. In a nutshell, CBD won’t make you feel loopy, but it may help with your lower back pain. CBD is legal and perfectly safe to use. Like previously stated, it is also the first cannabinoid that has been backed by the FDA to assist with a specific disorder. With all of this being said, there can very well be negative sensations and experiences associated with CBD. Some of the negative side effects associated with CBD may include tiredness, dry mouth, diarrhea, and dizziness. However, it is important to note that most users of CBD do not experience these side effects unless they have ingested rather large and potent amounts of CBD. That being said, just like nearly any known substance, there are negative side effects associated with cannabidiol that a small percent of the population will experience.

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But, could addiction and dependency be yet another one of those negative experiences? Is cannabidiol addictive for a select group of the population? Can you get addicted to CBD through frequent use, and if so, what would that mean for your daily life? What would a CBD addiction look like? And, if so, is cannabidiol addictive in the same dangerous manner as opioids? Could a potential addiction to CBD dramatically affect your life?


Chance of Addiction

Addiction is a rampant and very real problem. At this time, the opioid crisis has reached newfound levels in the United States. Prescription drugs are killing Americans at alarming rates, and the microscope on “Big Pharma” has never been watched closer. From 1999 to 2019, overdose deaths involving opioids have increased by a staggering 519%.

Yes. Over 500% in a matter of twenty years. Clearly, something needs to change.

As government officials debate on what can be done to help addicted Americans, the opioid crisis rages on with little sign of slowing down anytime soon. With this being said, it is imperative that we take the time to study and research any and all substances that we may consider ingesting. For this, CBD and any other cannabinoids are no exception. Like previously stated, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning that you won’t be intoxicated from using CBD, even at larger doses. CBD will not cause you to become foggy headed nor will it impair your ability to go about your daily tasks. Whereas drugs like alcohol, opioids, or even nicotine and caffeine do provide boosts of various chemicals into the brain that can provide different experiences, CBD doesn’t act on the human body in the same way. There is no “buzz” that is really associated with CBD. While this doesn’t necessarily indicate that there is no chance of physical dependence when using CBD, it does present the argument that CBD doesn’t intoxicate users nor does it provide the feelings of euphoria that so many addicts seek when using substances. In fact, it is for this reason that scientists believe that CBD’s risk for addiction is considered to be very low.

an image of a head with different drugs to show addiction and if people are addicted to cbd

In a study held in 2016 by researchers from multiple universities, participants were given a large dosage of cannabidiol as well as a placebo. This regimen was followed by participants for 8 weeks. Researchers found that CBD was on about the same level as the placebo in creating abuse related effects within the subjects. They concluded that CBD wasn’t any more likely to cause substance abuse issues than the harmless placebo!

Is cannabidiol addictive? Can you get addicted to CBD through frequent use? It appears that the answer is no.

Still, some wonder whether or not CBD could become a habit if used regularly.

Others wonder whether or not that even matters. CBD is safe and even at high dosages, there are no known life-altering side effects. It won’t cause permanent damage. It won’t intoxicate you. Even if used daily, it appears that CBD would not do any real harm to your body. This of course still requires further testing and studies, as CBD has only come into regular use and studying within the last few years. However, as of right now the information found by researchers has indicated that even frequent doses of CBD should not lead to long-term negative effects on a user’s health.

But if CBD doesn’t lead to addiction, what about the tolerance level? Can frequent CBD users expect to have to ingest more and more CBD in order to gain relief over time?

the word addiction to show can you get addicted to cbd


Can You Develop A Tolerance To CBD?

So, let’s operate under the assumption that CBD has zero chance of addiction for a second; could frequent use of CBD make painkillers less effective? Could your body become so used to the usage of CBD that it would drop in effectiveness over time? Would one require a higher and higher dosage of CBD in order to achieve the same level of results after a period of days, months, or years?

This is a very real and plausible possibility that needs answering, as even some of the world’s most powerful painkillers tend to drop in effectiveness due to frequent use. It has been proven time and time again that as the body develops a tolerance, more of a specific compound is needed for the body to attain the same level of effect as previously attained. In many cases, this can prove to be dangerous, as patients using painkillers will begin to ingest more of the drug than recommended simply because they are no longer gaining any relief from the drug. This can lead to a physical and mental dependence, multiple health issues depending on the specific substance, and, in many cases, death.

While we know that CBD isn’t going to kill us, should we still worry about the drop in effectiveness and the potential need to ingest more CBD as the result? CBD may not be dangerous per say, but it can be costly depending on the frequency of use. For those using CBD to treat various ailments, this generally comes out of pocket, as insurance generally does not cover CBD. Therefore if one of the individuals who relies on CBD for their daily lives, a growing tolerance to the cannabinoid could prove to be worrisome.

The answer on whether or not a tolerance to CBD can occur in frequent users is not, however, as black and white as the conversation on CBD and addiction. Some researchers believe that CBD, like many substances, can require frequent users to up their dosage in order to gain the same level of relief that they previously have experienced. Other researchers, however, have determined that CBD would take a fairly lengthy period of frequent use in order for one to build a tolerance, and even then, it may be highly unlikely for this to occur.

At the time of this writing, it does not appear that CBD would lead to addiction for frequent users of the cannabinoid. It also seems highly unlikely that it would lead to a strong tolerance buildup.

While more research is needed before we can claim that CBD is or isn’t addictive, we can summarize it up briefly with this:

Is CBD addictive? Probably not.

a picture of someone writing we've got your back explaining cbd tolerance

Spencer Beaudreault

Spencer Beaudreault is the Founder of Hero Brands, a Business Development & Marketing Expert, and a lifelong advocate & user of cannabis, hemp, & plant-based alternatives.
Tags: CBD