Cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid non-psychoactive or addictive cannabis sativa could be the key to cure addiction to cocaine and other drugs
CBD to treat cocaine addiction. Only in the United States, the costs in health, judicial problems and lack of labor production, exceed seven hundred billion dollars a year for illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Drug addiction is considered a mental illness. Unfortunately, recovery levels do not exceed 10%. A recent study shows that cannabis CBD could be very beneficial for the treatment of drug addictions. At the moment, only cocaine has been experimented with. But the expectations are higher and it is believed that it could be equally effective for the treatment of addictions to other hard drugs such as heroin and alcohol.
Previous studies with marijuana
Two studies were already done with crack addicts in Brazil, who opted for cannabis to get rid of this cocaine derivative. The first study was done in Sao Paulo. 25 addicts were selected. These 25 selected people said they were smoking marijuana to fight their crack addiction and did not receive any medication to combat their addiction. For 9 months they were interviewed once a week in order to see the development of their process of detoxification.
Four of them (16%) abandoned the program after three months and another 4 did not manage to stop using crack despite the use of cannabis. However, 17 of the 25 participants (68%) stopped using crack and said marijuana use had very beneficial effects. The average time they needed to stop using crack was 5.2 weeks.
The second study was done in Jamaica, with women, many of them prostitutes, addicted to crack. During 9 months, 33 women were followed up. Half of them were current addicted to crack and the other half were former addicts.
In Jamaica, crack addicts are very socially stigmatized by the Rastafarian culture. The stigma of crack abuse increases if the women are also prostitutes.
The study showed that after starting to use marijuana they began to devote more time to their physical appearance, to sleep more and to take more care of themselves and their children in all aspects. Of the 14 women who stopped using crack, 13 attributed it to marijuana.
The study showed that when they began to use marijuana, they began to dedicate more time to their physical appearance, to sleep more and to take more care of themselves and their children in all aspects. Of the 14 women who stopped using crack, 13 attributed it to marijuana.
The formula is not in cannabis; only in the CBD
A team of scientists from the University of Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona (Spain) is working on the capacity of the CBD, one of the more than 100 cannabinoids contained in the cannabis sativa plant, to reduce, and even eradicate, cocaine addiction.
Although many medicinal properties of this cannabinoid compound are already known, its ability to treat one of the great problems of this century, addiction to cocaine, would be an unprecedented milestone.
Doctors have long known that addictive drugs cause two types of addiction: physical and psychological. Physical addiction is relatively simple to fight. But psychological addiction is very worrying and difficult to suppress.
Nowadays there are many ways to avoid the physical pains of the withdrawal syndrome that produces the sudden withdrawal of any addictive drug. How is it that after passing the withdrawal syndrome and its pain, addicts continue to use the drug again? They know that the consumption of drugs is turning their lives into a real disaster and they still relapse. Why? For the psychological addiction, which is the most difficult to cure. This is explained to us very well by the director of the study carried out by the neurobiologists of Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), Olga Valverde.
Dr. Valverde explains that drug addiction is a disorder of learning and memory. Every time the addict consumes his drug, he creates memories related to the moment. Interestingly, the memories that remain unforgettable are those related to the positive part of the experience. It seems that the human being has an extraordinary ability to forget all the bad that addiction entails.
The addiction to the drug produces an erroneous memory in our organism. The memory of the addict recalls the drug priority over other necessary functions such as eating or drinking. Cannabidiol prevents these erroneous memories from being created and promotes the generation of other learning processes.
The team led by Olga Valverde is part of the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences of Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) in Spain, has studied in mice the functioning of CBD in the treatment of cocaine addiction.
CBD produces numerous positive effects in our body. Reduces anxiety, is a natural sedative, is neuroprotective and also improves memory.
Although many beneficial properties of CBD were already known, in this study it has been proven that it can help to make more addictive drugs, such as cocaine and, possibly, alcohol and heroin.
To conduct the experiment, the Research in Behavioral Neurobiology group trained some mice. Each time these rodents operated a lever, cocaine was administered intravenously. Obviously, animals end up being addicted to this substance. The results have been published in the scientific journal Addiction Biology.
For two hours a day, the mice were left in a box in which there were two levers. One of them did not give them cocaine while the other did not. The mice activated the lever that gave them the pleasure of receiving cocaine. Some rodents operated the lever up to 100 times to receive a single dose of this substance.
Half of the mice were given CBD through an intravenous injection at the same time the rodent was becoming addicted. The conclusions have been very revealing. Animals that have been medicated with CBD operate the lever much less than those that do not. They activate the lever as many times as necessary to receive only half the cocaine. Some mice have not reactivated the lever to receive cocaine. The CBD managed to completely reduce the anxiety of using cocaine.
Olga Valverde explains that molecular studies have been carried out to study how CBD works in this reduction of addiction. The explanation is called neurogenesis, which is the generation of new neurons in the brain, specifically in the hippocampus, after receiving CBD. To carry out this study, the team of researchers has resorted to a drug called temozolamide, which blocks the proneurogenic effect of cannabidiol. In short, the CBD is related to the non-negative memories of memory.
In other words, the CBD avoids the creation of those memories and the erroneous memories related to the consumption of cocaine, and it promotes other learning processes.
Not all mice reacted in the same way to the administration of CBD. In humans the same thing happens. Every person is a world. Not all people who use an addictive drug become addicted the first time they try it, and yet others do.
Each person is vulnerable to drugs in a different way. And, of course, it also depends on environmental factors. It is not the same for a person to move between people who habitually consume drugs than people who move in groups of people who lead a healthy life. We are all exposed to the dangers of drugs, but some people are more genetically prone to addiction.
Dr. Valverde affirms that smoking joints is not the cure for cocaine addiction. The answer is in the natural CBD, not in the synthetic form.