The effects of alcohol addiction are all around us. In the United states, Alcoholism affects millions. In spite of sound medical care, current treatments leave many families struggling to cope on their own and in desperate to get help for addiction.
Looking at the streets in San Francisco, the effects of addiction are visible to anyone.
In fact, statistics are that everyone is affected by addiction one way or another, whether through family members, friends, coworkers or ourselves.
When addiction happens, recovery is very difficult and to majority of people that hinders them from going into a recovery facility. Relapse is on the upper double digits making it impossible to truly recover from addiction. If you find out that there is a possible natural remedy for addiction would you consider it?
Well, based on recent research, there is! With CBD, recovering health for addicts is possible with minimal or no side effects
Finally, Get Help for Addiction and Relapse
Several researches have been done on CBD mainly to help deal with the relapse potential which would help curb the cravings. One of these studies is by Department of Neuroscience, The Scripps Research Institute in Lajolla LA.
According to the researchers, “Substance use disorders are chronically relapsing conditions and relapse risk persists for multiple reasons including craving induced by drug contexts, susceptibility to stress, elevated anxiety, and impaired impulse control. Here, we evaluated the “anti-relapse” potential of a transdermal CBD preparation in animal models of drug seeking, anxiety and impulsivity”.
This among other research is not only promising but is great news to most people who are seeking for a way to get help for addiction and the frustrating relapse that makes recovery from addiction impossible for most people.
CBD’s Great Potential
Researchers have focused on looking at the potential for CBD in treating many health issues. In this article, we will focus only on CBD for addiction where it’s not only much-needed but has also gained a lot of momentum for the last couples of years.
On June 25th 2018 FDA release, the FDA approved the drug Epidiolex, this was based on the fact that “CBD is a chemical component of the Cannabis sativa plant, more commonly known as marijuana. However, CBD does not cause intoxication or euphoria (the “high”) that comes from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Alcoholism, addiction and substance Abuse: A Lifetime Verdict.
Alcoholism, addiction and substance abuse are normally used interchangeably. Though there are clear differences, alcoholism and addiction occurs when people over use or abuse alcohol and they lose control on their alcohol consumption.
The Person in this case becomes fully dependent on the substance taking away their ability to function normally.
Over the years, addiction has gained acceptance as a medical disease like cancer or diabetes. There has been a resignation that recovery from addiction is for life as relapse can happen at any time with little or no control.
With the medical approach to addictions, the government regulators in the west have legitimized pharmaceutical treatments for addiction and alcoholism.
This includes treatments like Antabuse (disulfiram), Naltrexone and Campral (Acamprosate). These medications are the only ones approved for people who are in recovery and are committed but struggling to stay in sobriety.
The outcomes for many people on these medications are not very positive and also a debate is on whether the people become dependent on these medications as they were on the substances
According to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, MD, USA research titled “Medications development to treat alcohol dependence: a vision for the next decade”. There are more than 76 million people world-wide are estimated to have Diagnosable alcohol use disorders which makes this a major global health problem.
The Study goes on to state that the US Food and Drug Administration has “approved three of the four medications for alcoholism in the last two decades. Unfortunately, these medications do not work for everyone, prompting the need for a personalized approach to optimize clinical benefit or more efficacious medications that can treat a wider range of patients, or both”.
Is CBD the Way to get help for addiction?
Substance abuse no matter what the substance of choice, inflicts physical damage on the body over the years. During withdrawal, the body goes through seizures as part of the detox.
CBD has effectively been used to all people including children to address seizures. CBD has also been found to have antioxidant and ant inflammation effects both of which are of much help to the physical damage caused by substance abuse.
More details on how CBD is the natural way to get help for addiction includes the actual damage that substance abuse causes on the body including the inability to curb the desire to consume alcohol and other substances.
Let’s look at some of those Physical effects and the findings:
Liver Damage and Addiction
It’s hard to address this without drawing on personal experience of the terminal disease that alcohol can be. One of my relatives was told by the doctor that if they don’t stop consuming alcohol, it will kill them.
Most of us can relate to this as we have seen friends and relatives get the same message and they actually end up dying from the alcohol consumption. There are two reasons that this happens, the main reason being liver damage.
Liver damage is the most pronounced physical effect of alcohol abuse. However, because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, the current research has shown that CBD has the potential to reverse the Liver damage.
If there was this potential ten years ago, most people would not have to endure the effects of liver damage, my relative would probably be alive.
What makes this statement from the doctors so difficult is that curbing the cravings is almost impossible for anyone struggling with addiction. It’s not that they are rebellious and throw caution to the wind.
It’s because relapse can happen at anytime with absolutely no control on the source of triggers.
How CBD can help with Alcohol Relapse
Relapse has been accepted as part of the recovery process. Addiction has been popularly known as a relapsing disease. According to the US statistics, 2/3 of the people in rehab will relapse within weeks of use and 40 to 60% after the first year.
People don’t relapse because they are irresponsible or insensitive. It’s because the brain chemistry has been changed by constant use.
There are triggers that influence and elevate the cravings that could be anything from a smell, a friend, environment or an emotion. This can affect the addict in the few days after rehab or years after of sobriety. Up to now, we have not had a drug that could help with this, at least one that work with no addictive tendencies.
CBD has the potential to target all of these factors that lead to relapse.
The research has mainly been done in animals where CBD reduced the cravings. In cases where the relapse occurred, the research animals treated with CBD only consumed little alcohol with little or no motivation to drink.
There is still need for more research on human subjects. However human subjects for tobacco related dependence have shown that CBD was effective in curbing cravings.
CBD and Neurodegeneration
One of the important clinical research findings is the effect of CBD on the brain damage that the substance abuse has caused. This is the part of the body that dictates all other addiction challenges including relapse. According to research in alcohol users
“gray matter” are predictive of an earlier return to alcohol use and relapse risk.
In a different research, CBD has been shown to protect the brain against the harmful effects of alcohol. In this study, the findings show that there is “neuroprotective potential of CBD, based on the combination of its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties”
This is currently under pre-clinical research in numerous neurodegenerative disorders. According to the research, “CBD is already under clinical evaluation in patients with Huntington’s disease to determine its potential as a disease-modifying therapy”
I have family and loved ones struggling with addiction. I have also seen the effect that relapse and addiction has on families of the people struggling helplessly with no hope in sight.
If there is anything that could help with the consequences of relapse, my thoughts would be to research as much as possible and weigh the risks for the best possible outcome and life in addiction cannot be a better option.
There is no question that the research is pointing towards the CBD being of potential help especially to addiction and substance abuse recovery.
However, at this point, I would err on the side of caution and only use CBD as a supplement applying other coping mechanism for addiction and relapse management until the FDA approves it otherwise.
Before trying CBD, talk with a licensed physician about safe dosages, possible adverse interactions with other medications you may be taking. Avoid taking Grapefruit or grapefruit related supplement as it may interact with CBD.
Finally, be careful where you buy your CBD.
The FDA normally publish the letters they have sent to aggressive marketers that maybe overselling their product.