Can CBD Help Treat Alcoholism?

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Join me on my "I Fit and Healthy" journey! Maria is an Upstate New Yorker interested in all things healthy-living related! She started the "I Fit and Healthy" Blog to document life and her pursuit of healthy living. By day she work in digital media and advertising. By night she’s a first-rate wife and mom of two crazy little girls! She is self-proclaimed addicted to her iPhone/iPad and always on the hunt for the latest health tools and fitness gadgets.

Those struggling with alcohol abuse know it’s an ever-present battle to stay sober. The twists and turns of sobriety are difficult to manage but it’s not impossible. There are so many resources available to those fighting this disease. New research suggests there may be a natural alternative to help with alcoholism.

CBD is the latest craze used for everything from inflammation to sobriety support. Since cannabis has been legalized in several U.S. states for recreational or medical use, researchers have been diving into the benefits of CBD. Even though it’s fairly new to the scene, the results may surprise you.

What is CBD?

CBD is a cannabinoid found in marijuana and hemp plants. It is the second most prevalent cannabinoid found in cannabis. CBD is not psychoactive, so it won’t give you a high or make you feel intoxicated.

Since CBD doesn’t have the ability to create intoxication, you can find it legally in all 50 states. There is so much anecdotal evidence boasting CBD as a treatment for a variety of common ailments including anxiety and depression, inflammation, chronic pain, and much more. Though anecdotal evidence is plenty, the FDA has only approved the use of CBD for severe childhood epilepsy.

Keep in mind that CBD research is still in its infancy, and scientists are still exploring potential uses for this cannabinoid. New research suggests there is a place for CBD oil in alcoholism recovery and there’s a variety of options.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is the worst form of alcohol abuse. Those that suffer from alcoholism cannot regulate their drinking habits or function normally without alcohol. Holding down a job and contributing to personal relationships falter when struggling with alcoholism. But it has physical effects, as well.

If used in excess, alcohol can wreak havoc on the body. Abusing alcohol can lead to liver damage, heart problems, an increased risk of cancer, and brain defects. The short term side effects of alcohol can be more dangerous than the long term effects.

Short term side effects including difficulty breathing, reduced brain activity, lowered inhibition, blurry vision, and slowed reaction times. If you combine this with an activity like driving, it can be fatal.

You may be suffering from alcoholism if you

  • Spend copious amounts of money on alcohol

  • Crave alcohol consistently

  • Feel the need to drink to excess

  • Have difficulty regulating the amount of alcohol you consume

  • Behave differently after consuming alcohol

Alcoholism affects 15 million people in the US, though only 10 percent are treated each year. If you feel that you or a loved one are struggling with alcoholism, assess your options, and seek professional help.

CBD and Addiction

CBD interacts with neural pathways in the brain. It does this by interacting with the endocannabinoid system found in the body. Limited research suggests that CBD can supplement the neurotransmitters associated with addiction, lessening cravings and aiding the healing process of the body.

CBD is rich in antioxidants, can reduce inflammation and allows naturally-occurring serotonin to be more easily absorbed into the brain. In short, CBD can make you feel content and reduce signs of addiction in the body, making it an ideal choice to combat alcoholism.

CBD Can Reduce Alcoholism Cravings

Frontiers in Pharmacology conducted several studies around the effects of CBD on alcoholism. One study conducted on mice suggests that CBD can reduce anxiety and impulsivity. This could mean it has the potential to reduce relapse in those recovering from alcoholism.

CBD also reduces the intake level and motivation to drink in the study, suggesting that CBD could curve cravings. This research is positive, but the authors of this study have called for human testing before they can attest to CBD’s effects on alcoholism.

CBD Can Prevent Alcohol-Related Brain Damage

The same study looked at mice given alcohol twice a day paired with CBD and compared them to mice who were given alcohol exclusively. They found the mice using CBD had lost fewer brain cells than the mice who never used CBD.

They also discovered CBD restored the cognitive function in mice suffering from acute liver failure. Even though further testing could prove the benefits of CBD in humans, these results show promising signs towards CBD for alcoholism.

CBD Can Prevent Alcohol-Related Liver Inflammation

CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and has become popular for treating inflammation and pain over the last several years. In the study, researchers analyzed mice who had been subject to alcohol and CBD and compared them to mice who had no CBD.

They found those with CBD use had less liver damage than those without it. Researchers believe the reason why CBD has positive effects on alcohol-induced liver inflammation is due to how it interacts with stress reduction and the elimination of cells responsible for producing scar tissue.

Millions suffer from debilitating alcoholism every year. With preliminary trials and research exploring the use of CBD to treat addiction, we are closer than ever to understanding how cannabis can decrease alcoholism while making it easier to stay sober.

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