A study by the Scripps Research Institute (Jolla, California) has shown that cannabidiol might lower the risk of relapses for alcohol and cocaine addicts.
First though, the study was held on rats. Rats the scientists helped become addicted to either substance. While testing on animals is loathed upon by many, sometimes we do believe that it is better to first test on [limited numbers] of smaller animals like rodents than directly on humans. Unless science evolves to a point that we can test differently, it may stay a necessary evil. I’m not aware of the regulations on animal testing in CA but here’s hoping they are as stringent as they are in the EU.
Researchers Friedbert Weiss and associate Gustavo Gonzalez-Cuevas tested whether CBD had any impact on drug relapses in rats.
As previously mentioned, first that required the rats to become addicted which was achieved and the rats eventually performed daily self-administration of the cocaine or alcohol provided to them.
In order to observe whether CBD had any impact on relapses, rats were treated every day with a gel containing CBD. The animals were constantly put in situations which stressed them or tested their impulsivity, which would trigger their addiction-behavior.
The rats which were treated with the CBD gel were observed to have less relapses in those stress situations, and also reduced anxiety and impulsivity otherwise known addiction-behavior.
More so, even five months after the study the treated rats still showed reduced relapses in those specific stress situations or drug trigger situations.
The cannabidiols had also cleared completely from the brain of the rats three days after the treatment ended only.
“The efficacy of the cannabinoid [CBD] to reduce reinstatement in rats with both alcohol and cocaine – and, as previously reported, heroin – histories predicts therapeutic potential for addiction treatment across several classes of abused drugs.”
“The results provide proof of principle supporting the potential of CBD in relapse prevention along two dimensions: beneficial actions across several vulnerability states, and long-lasting effects with only brief treatment.”
— Friedbert Weiss, research leader Scripps Research Institute
Obviously, the jump from one experiment on rats to actual positive results on humans is still a big step to take and no conclusivity should be read into the research. And neither is addiction that easy to cure but any research which could lead to further research to find possible solutions, especially if healthier ones, should be celebrated.
Given the actual issues society has with addiction, much of which is often embellished, and also the current opioid crisis, it is great to find yet again positive signals about how cannabis can contribute to a healthier society.
Studies like these will eventually lead to always more researchers investigating cannabis and eventually we will find more conclusive evidence about the positive effects of the many components in marijuana.
As long as regulators move towards a better environment for science to actually be able to research, we will collect much more knowledge about the plant.
Yet, both societal behavior and medical cannabis use programs have already shown many positive outcomes.
Much to the dislike of the Big Pharma lobby undoubtedly.