If you’re finding it difficult to cut down your weed consumption, CBD can help.
While lots of people can confirm this anecdotally (myself included), there is now solid clinical evidence thanks to a randomised controlled trial just published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.
The study is the first to report that daily doses of between 400mg and 800mg of CBD can lead to a reduction in cannabis use among people with cannabis use disorder.
These findings back up previous research showing CBD’s anti-addictive properties and its use in the treatment of cannabis use disorder. However, the scope of the four-week study did not cover how beneficial using daily CBD doses for cannabis dependence is – just that it does have a positive effect.
Therefore, further larger studies are needed to determine just how effective the treatment can be, the researchers noted.
It was found that the optimal daily dose was between 400mg and 800mg of CBD, which is quite a big dose considering that typical doses from most CBD products are around 5-50mg. For reference, in the UK, a CBD oil containing 1,000mg CBD generally costs around £50-60. 1 gram of 15% CBD flower contains 150mg CBD.
The use of CBD as a treatment for cannabis use disorder comes at a time when the number of people seeking help in controlling their cannabis habit is increasing.
Dr Tom Freeman, the study’s lead author and Director of the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath, UK, said:
“Our study provides the first causal evidence to support cannabidiol, or CBD, as a treatment for cannabis use disorders. This is encouraging, as there are currently no drug treatments for cannabis addiction.
It is estimated that 22 million people worldwide are currently addicted to cannabis – similar to the prevalence of opioid addiction.
CBD is one of more than 100 active compounds found naturally in the flowering head of female cannabis plants. It has been found to be highly anti-inflammatory as well as having anti-anxiety and analgesic properties. It does not cause the “high” associated with cannabis use – THC does.
Previous studies have suggested that CBD could reduce cravings and cannabis withdrawal symptoms. One study also found CBD reduces the amount of cigarettes smoked in people who weren’t even trying to quit.
In this latest study, which is the first randomised clinical trial of cannabidiol for the treatment of cannabis addiction, 82 people took part. They all had been previously diagnosed with a cannabis use disorder of at least moderate severity. They had also all expressed a desire to quit within the next month, and had unsuccessfully tried to quit on at least one occasion before.
Subjects were randomly assigned into four groups and given CBD capsules to take daily for four weeks. Daily doses of 200mg, 400mg and 800mg CBD were used while one group received non-active placebo capsules. Participants also received six counselling sessions during the study.
As well as reporting how many days they abstained from weed, weekly urine samples were taken and THC levels were analysed.
After the first phase of the study, the 200mg dose was found to be ineffective and this group was removed from the trial before a further 34 people were recruited for the second stage.
Results showed that daily CBD doses of both 400mg and 800mg reduced subjects’ cannabis consumption. These doses also resulted in increased abstinence from cannabis – 0.5 days per week for the 400mg group and 0.3 days per week for the 800mg group.
No side effects were observed, suggesting that CBD is safe and well-tolerated at the doses tested.
“Our findings indicate that CBD doses ranging from 400mg to 800mg daily have the potential to reduce cannabis use in clinical settings, but higher doses are unlikely to bring any additional benefit.
“Larger studies are needed to determine the magnitude of the benefits of daily CBD for reducing cannabis use,” said Professor Valerie Curran, senior author and Director of the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit at University College London.
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