CBD is made from cannabis extract. As such, it’s understandable if you ask: is CBD addictive?
CBD supplements are not addictive. A full-spectrum oil contains all the compounds you find in marijuana. However, CBD oil is made from hemp, which isn’t the kind of cannabis that people smoke. Hemp contains low levels of THC, the psychoactive chemical abundant in recreational marijuana strains. It therefore can’t get you high, and isn’t addictive.
This is aside from the debate on whether marijuana, when used as a recreational drug, is addictive or not. There’s evidence for both sides, although it’s clear that marijuana isn’t ‘addictive’ in the same way that tobacco and other harmful drugs are.
But, whatever the case, CBD oil doesn’t contain the same psychoactive and potentially addictive chemical compounds that marijuana does.
CBD oil, as a cannabis product, receives an unfair amount of stigma. While it is made from cannabis, some strains of which are illegal, it doesn’t have the same effects—and nobody claims that it does. This reputation is at odds with its widespread availability, which is confusing for consumers. Why is CBD legal if it’s a cannabis product?
Rather, CBD oil is a misunderstood supplement that deserves more praise than it gets. And it certainly isn’t addictive in the same way that some drugs are. That’s because it contains different chemical compounds in different amounts to recreational marijuana.
This is a debate that has gone on for decades. Users of recreational marijuana claim that it isn’t physically addictive, but psychologically addictive. They state that rather than the drug interacting with the body in a way that makes the body dependent on it, marijuana is ‘habit forming’.
Proponents against the recreational use of cannabis state that there’s little difference: it still has a negative effect on people’s lives. Users may still smoke marijuana as a ‘crutch’, to help them get through tough periods in their life. They may then struggle to stop even if they want to.
Despite extensive research into recreational cannabis use, it’s still not clear who’s right.
As interesting a debate as this is, it neglects to mention that recreational cannabis is but one of many products made from cannabis plants. Hemp, otherwise known as industrial cannabis, has been used in a variety of applications for thousands of years. Its fibres can be twisted into thread, made into paper, used to create varnish or ink—and many more things. There’s no stigma against these products, and rightly so.
To simply state that ‘cannabis is addictive’ (or not) is to miss the point. Cannabis of every strain contains dozens of different cannabinoids, which are chemical compounds found in cannabis and similar plants.
One of these cannabinoids is THC, which is what causes cannabis’ high. Another is CBD, also known as cannabidiol. Both interact with your body but in different ways. If cannabis is addictive, then THC would be the reason why.
Full spectrum CBD oil contains both THC and CBD. But THC is present in negligible amounts, because the oil is extracted from a strain of cannabis that hardly contains any (hemp). Hemp contains more CBD than other strains. Also present are a variety of other cannabinoids, and some plant matter like chlorophyll. But trace amounts of THC aren’t present in enough volume that they can affect you.
None of the other things present in CBD oil have the effect of THC, so can’t be habit-forming like THC might be.
Given that addiction is such an important issue, it’s natural to be wary of cannabis products. However, there’s good reason to state that CBD is not addictive.
A good place to start is with official bodies. The UK government has no stated position on the addictiveness or otherwise of CBD; but a body that does is the World Health Organization. The WHO is an international body that works directly and indirectly to improve peoples’ health around the world, whether through directing and coordinating health projects, or through advising governments.
In their role, they advise governments on drugs and their use. The specific body that does so is the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD). In 2017, a meeting was arranged on the topic of CBD/cannabidiol. This meeting summarised the current scientific knowledge on CBD, and the report states that:
While this doesn’t indicate that CBD is good for you, it does at least clarify that it isn’t addictive.
The studies above indicate that there’s no chance of becoming addicted to CBD, even if you take it regularly. You won’t develop a tolerance. There are currently no studies suggesting negative side effects from taking consistent doses of CBD.
There’s also no proof that CBD can be abused: you can’t take enough of it that the substance would damage your body. You’re therefore completely safe when taking CBD supplements every day. There’s no danger or risk associated with CBD through any scientific study.
And should you take a full dose every day? Like any supplement, your body metabolises and uses CBD quite quickly. To experience its full effects, you therefore should take a dose every day.
We recommend finding the dose that’s right for you through the uptitration method. This is where you start on a low dose, before gradually progressing to a higher dose. Each day, you take a little more, until you feel that taking more doesn’t bring any additional beneficial effects.