Substance dependence is a severe problem in the UK whereby the user has a compulsive, out-of-control use, despite the risk of negative physical and social consequences. To many, there is a close association between CBD products and cannabis (drug) as both contain similar chemical compounds and are derived from the same plant species. It’s logical then, that users new to CBD (Cannabidiol) may be concerned about the potential risk of addiction with the large number of cannabis dependency cases reported in the UK.
Luckily, the short as is do NOT worry. You are not susceptible to substance dependency with CBD. We’ll try to explain this in more detail by first examining what can make a substance biologically addictive.
The most widespread definition of an addictive substance is one that causes a chemical alteration in your brain. Specifically, these substances effect the reward circuit in the brain by increasing your dopamine levels. Flooding the brain with dopamine results in the feeling of euphoria and with consistent use, the brain will adapt to the surges in dopamine by naturally producing less on its own. In turn, to feel happy, the user will need a larger dosage of drugs.
How does this relate to Cannabis?
The physical addiction to cannabis (drug) comes from THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). It is one of 113 cannabinoids found in cannabis and is the main psychoactive element. It causes this state by binding with the brain’s cannabinoid 1 receptors. Research suggests that the cannabinoid 1 receptors influence the reward system in the brain, increasing dopamine levels. So, by taking cannabis, the THC travels to the brain, affects your cannabinoid 1 receptors and increases dopamine levels, which gives rise to the ‘pleasure feeling’. Overtime and constant use, this would cause a chemical change in your brain that could result in addiction.
Why is CBD different?
Whereas illegal marijuana usually has THC levels of 10-30%, the cannabis plant, hemp, used in the manufacturing of CBD products contain very low levels of THC (<0.2%). Hemp is used in a variety of industrial products including paper, oils, clothing and even building materials. The extraction process used by CBD suppliers helps to isolate the cannabinoids from the rest of the plant, producing the potency we see in the CBD products on sale.
As CBD has such low levels of THC it cannot cause the ‘high’ of marijuana and also will not put the user at risk of addiction. You’ll even pass a workplace CBD drug test.
Can I overdose?
Though you may experience some side effects of taking CBD (such as dry mouth, and drowsiness to name a few) there are no reported cases of a CBD overdose. Despite this, it is always recommended that you start with a lower potency product and subscribe to the recommended dosage provided on the bottle. The benefits of CBD can sometimes take a few weeks to take effect, so stick with it before making the decision to increase your dosage or potency.