CBD can aid in addiction recovery due to effects on memory, according to study

There is a small but growing body of evidence that suggests cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating component of cannabis, can aid in addiction recovery due to its effects on memory.

Although THC consumers have been stereotypically mocked for short-lived memory loss, and there is real concern about memory weakness due to cannabis smoking, especially among the oldest who are considering it as a therapeutic option. But the importance of forgetting in mental health should not be underestimated.

There is a small but growing body of evidence that suggests cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating component of cannabis (marijuana), can aid in addiction recovery due to its effects on memory. Work by Brazilian scientists at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina adds to our understanding of this process.

There are various sides to addiction, a term that is not used for medical examination. Instead, terms like dependence, abuse, misuse, and use disorders are used to describe slight differences in addictive behaviors. Regardless of its exact definition, cue-induced cravings – whether due to the patterns one associate with smoking cigarettes, or the pervasiveness of alcohol at social events, for example – makes overcoming addiction difficult.

When somebody is exposed to a drug-related signal, the experience of the drug (cigarettes or alcohol …)  is relived to an extent, and then reconsolidated so it can be remembered again later. Cannabidiol (CBD) may particularly interfere with this reconsolidation procedure, decreasing future cravings, according to a 2017 research published in the Journal of Addiction Biology.

This job was done in rats; an animal model for cue-induced craving is called CPP (Conditioned Place Preference).  First mice are conditioned to associate one setting with a rewarding drug like morphine and another with no drug. Their preference for the morphine-associated room is then measured in the absence of the drug. Although this model is simplistic it is associated with outcomes in humans, such as relapse.

When a moderate dose of CBD was given immediately after cue exposure, the reconsolidation of the cue was disrupted. Faultlessly,  this would elucidate in humans to a disrupted reconsolidation of drug cravings.

For the next 2 weeks, the CBD-treated mice preferred the morphine-associated room much less than untreated mice. Moreover, the single treatment with cannabidiol retained this protective effect even when morphine was re-administered later (a model of relapse).

Other work has shown that Cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce the rewarding effects of opiates specifically. This research suggests that CBD may aid in unlearning the habits from addiction, which lead to cravings and relapse well after withdrawal has subsided. For several, cannabinoids are likely a path away from addiction rather than an entrance to it.

 

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