Addiction Disorders

Addiction disorders 

Addiction is a multifaceted brain disease characterised by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences. Addictions such as smoking, drinking and drug taking can be most detrimental to the body leading the increased rates of cancer development, reduced life expectancy and sudden death. Addiction can also cause mental difficulties as it can destroy relationships with family & friends, increase the risk of homelessness and can lead to anxiety and depression. Should you or someone know be worried about addiction disorders you should seek professional help.

Addiction Disorders and CBD.


In the UK alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability amongst 15- 49 year olds with over half a million people dependent upon alcohol and only 18% seeking help.1 The UK national health service spends approximately £3.5 billion per year on alcohol related problem such as causalities, absenteeism, laboratory tests and dependency prescribed drugs.

Studies have suggested that alcohol is able to alter the endocannabinoid system subsequently leading to the motivation to abuse the booze.2 A review paper published to the journal of alcoholism clinical & experimental research in 2019 indicated that CBD is promising for alcohol use disorders.3  A study conducted on mice indicated that CBD use over a period of 11 days was able to significantly reduce liver injury caused by long term and binge drinking by reducing the inflammatory response.4


Smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths worldwide which has been reported to cause almost 7 million deaths per year.5 Despite the evident adverse health effects quitting smoking is clearly not an easy task for many. Reports suggest that of the 70% of smokers who wish to kick their habit only 7% actually conquer their task alluding to the requirement for various treatments.6

Early literature compared a control group and treatment using CBD which found that the CBD supplementation group was able to reduce cigarette consumption by 40%.7 The authors suggested this occurrence was due to the reduced craving of cigarettes throughout the experimental process. They also alluded to the fact that a reduction in craving was promising for smoking cessation due to many people trying to quit smoking relapsing due to their cravings. In addition to this a group of non-treatment seeking smokers who consumed CBD significantly reduced their attentional bias to cigarette cues and the pleasantness of explicit cigarette images was reduced.8


Illegal drugs are prominent within the UK in those aged between 16-49 and has been shown to cost the NHS £15.4 billion per year.9 Although measures are implemented within society to prevent the production, distribution and use of such products they are still rife within communities. Substance abuse can happen to anyone and can cause both serious physical and mental suffering as a result to not only the user but those close to them.

Emerging research has alluded to the fact CBD may be used as a potential therapy in treating drug disorders and preventing relapse.10, 11 A study perfomed on mice indicated that CBD reduced voluntary cocaine consumption.12 Drug seeking behaviour occurs through a portion of the brain called the amygdala which mediates anxiety and fear. It has been shown that CBD is able to reduce the anxiety like behaviours by direct infusion into the amygdala. Addiction has been shown to be effected by CBD through regulation of goal-directed behaviour, motivation and habit formation.13


  1. Alcohol statistics | Alcohol Change UK. Alcohol Change UK. Published 2020. Accessed June 9, 2020.
  1. Basavarajappa B, Joshi V, Shivakumar M, Subbanna S. Distinct functions of endogenous cannabinoid system in alcohol abuse disorders. Br J Pharmacol. 2019;176(17):3085-3109. doi:10.1111/bph.14780
  1. Turna J, Syan S, Frey B et al. Cannabidiol as a Novel Candidate Alcohol Use Disorder Pharmacotherapy: A Systematic Review. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2019;43(4):550-563. doi:10.1111/acer.13964
  1. Cannabidiol attenuates alcohol-induced liver steatosis, metabolic dysregulation, inflammation and neutrophil-mediated injury
  1. 13. Fast Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published 2020. Accessed June 15, 2020. 
  1. Bahadir A, Iliaz S, Yurt S, Ortakoylu M, Bakan N, Yazar E. Factors affecting dropout in the smoking cessation outpatient clinic. Chron Respir Dis. 2016;13(2):155-161. doi:10.1177/1479972316629953 
  1. Morgan C, Das R, Joye A, Curran H, Kamboj S. Cannabidiol reduces cigarette consumption in tobacco smokers: Preliminary findings. Addict Behav. 2013;38(9):2433-2436. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.03.011
  1. Hindocha C, Freeman T, Grabski M et al. Cannabidiol reverses attentional bias to cigarette cues in a human experimental model of tobacco withdrawal. Addiction. 2018;113(9):1696-1705. doi:10.1111/add.14243

  2. Morse G. Addiction and Substance misuse pathways. Published 2017. Accessed June 9, 2020. 
  1. Chye Y, Christensen E, Solowij N, Yücel M. The Endocannabinoid System and Cannabidiol's Promise for the Treatment of Substance Use Disorder. Front Psychiatry. 2019;10(63):1-12. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00063 
  1. Prud'homme M, Cata R, Jutras-Aswad D. Cannabidiol as an Intervention for Addictive Behaviors: A Systematic Review of the Evidence. Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment. 2015;9(1):33-38. doi:10.4137/sart.s25081
  1. Luján M, Castro-Zavala A, Alegre-Zurano L, Valverde O. Repeated Cannabidiol treatment reduces cocaine intake and modulates neural proliferation and CB1R expression in the mouse hippocampus. Neuropharmacology. 2018;143:163-175. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.09.043
  1. Hurd Y. Cannabidiol: Swinging the Marijuana Pendulum From ‘Weed’ to Medication to Treat the Opioid Epidemic. Trends Neurosci. 2017;40(3):124-127. doi:10.1016/j.tins.2016.12.006

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