Approximately one out of every seven Americans suffers from addiction to one or more substances. The substances in question may include alcohol, opioid medications, and illicit drugs. Of those afflicted with this problem, only about 10 percent get the treatment they need for their particular addiction or addictions.
If you struggle with a dependence on alcohol or drugs but haven't hit on a means of breaking that destructive cycle, you might find your answer in cannabidiol (CBD). Here are four ways that this legal, non-psychoactive cannabinoid can help you move away from dangerous drugs toward a healthier, happier life.
1. CBD Can Reduce Cravings (Without Creating New Ones)
Like other cannabinoids, CBD interacts with receptors in your body's endocannabinoid system. However, unlike products that contain significant amounts of THC (such as marijuana), CBD doesn't stimulate these receptors to produce a high; instead, it actually prevents THC and similar substances from binding to them.
This interference with how addictive substances affect the brain might explain CBD's apparent ability to reduce drug cravings. One study indicated that CBD eased participants' cravings for heroin for up to a week at a time. It also helped to relieve their feelings of anxiety associated with abstaining from heroin.
2. CBD Can Reduce Depression and Anxiety
CBD's ability to reduce both anxiety and depression can make it a valuable tool in the fight against addiction. In addition to relieving anxiety directly related to cravings, this cannabinoid may help to ease symptoms of chronic mood problems such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Depression and anxiety often occur together, with one disorder fueling the other. Both of these feelings may compel many people to self-medicate with addictive drugs. CBD may ease a racing mind and obsessive thoughts by influencing your serotonin levels and stabilizing your mood, according to Healthcentral.
3. CBD Can Ease Chronic Pain
Some people end up addicted to drugs such as opioids in their efforts to tame debilitating chronic pain. However, while these drugs may ease pain temporarily, they may also create a tolerance that requires ever-increasing dosages, a cycle that can lead to worsening dependence or even a fatal overdose.
According to Consumer Reports, medical researchers and practitioners have begun to consider cannabinoids as a safer, healthier substitute for opioids. Early research hints that both CBD and THC may reduce perceived pain levels. (Some researchers note that opioid usage has decreased in states that have legalized medical marijuana.)
4. CBD Can Help You Sleep Better
Sleep problems, pain, mood disorders, and addiction can work together to ruin your quality of life. Most people who suffer from depression also report chronic trouble either getting to sleep or staying asleep. Many of these people also grind their teeth, walk in their sleep, and/or experience frequent nightmares.
Chronic pain, depression, or anxiety can make restful sleep all but impossible. If you have chronic insomnia, you might find it all too easy to grow dependent on alcohol or pills to make yourself sleep. Fortunately, CBD can promote the sleep you seek without the addictive properties of other solutions.
CBD's interactions with cannabinoid receptors may help normalize your sleep-wake cycle while also reducing abnormal behaviors such as tooth grinding and sleepwalking. This effect, combined with CBD's ability to ease pain, depression, and anxiety, can result in more satisfying and refreshing sleep.
Ask your doctor whether CBD could or should play a role in your quest to break free from the perils and miseries of addiction. New Leaf Organic Wellness offers a variety of CBD products to suit your particular needs and preferences. Browse our online catalog for teas, tinctures, gummies, and other options.