Is CBD Addictive?

Is CBD Addictive?

If you are considering incorporating CBD into your wellness routine, you might be wondering: Is CBD addictive? Here, we break down the facts on CBD and addiction so you can embark on your CBD journey with confidence.

Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, has been legal in the UK since 2018, and today, one in ten adults in the UK use some form of CBD product.
As a newly approved wellness ingredient, you may have questions about the risks and rewards of this compound, including whether or not it could cause dependency.

In short – CBD is not addictive.

However, CBD’s association with cannabis can leave many people confused about the facts. So, let’s take a look at the science and separate fact from fiction regarding CBD and addiction.


THC is the psychoactive compound that causes the infamous “high” of cannabis. However, there are more than 400 cannabinoids that have been identified in the plant so far, including cannabinoids such as CBN and CBG.
While THC is psychoactive, CBD is not psychoactive – meaning it will not cause the same intoxicating effects as THC.

This is because THC has been found to interact with a receptor in the body’s Endocannabinoid System called the CB1 receptor. On the other hand, CBD interacts with a different receptor in the Endocannabinoid System – CB2 receptor.
Research has shown that activation of the CB1 receptor is rewarding for the brain, while CB2 activation is aversive. So, CBD has a different impact on the body and mind than THC.

Is CBD addictive?

Research has shown that CBD on its own is not an addictive compound. Because of how it interacts with the Endocannabinoid System, it does not cause habit forming behaviours.

Due to the explosion in CBD research that has spurred regulatory changes across the globe, the World Health Organization has compiled a Critical Report on CBD.
The report details that there has been no case reports of abuse or dependence relating to the use of pure CBD and that no public health problems have been associated with the use of pure CBD.

The report reads: “Single dose administration of cannabidiol has been evaluated in healthy volunteers using a variety of tests of abuse potential as well as physiological effects in a randomised double blind placebo-controlled trial.

“An orally administered dose of 600mg of CBD did not differ from placebo on the scales of the Addiction Research Centre Inventory, a 16 item Visual Analogue Mood Scale, subjective level of intoxication or psychotic symptoms.

“In contrast, THC (10mg oral) administration was associated with subjective intoxication and euphoria as well as changes in ARCI scales reflecting sedation and hallucinogenic activity. THC also increased psychotic symptoms and anxiety. While THC increased heart rate, CBD had no physiological effects.”

THC may have the potential to be addictive for some people. This is believed to be due to THC’s impact on dopamine release, which has been found in research to be similar to other addictive compounds.

Equally, some people may build up a tolerance to the effects of THC, leading them to require increased doses or stronger cannabis for the same effects. Experts have suggested that cannabis with higher levels of THC has a higher potential for addiction.

For people who are trying to get the benefits of CBD from cannabis, they may find that the addition of THC ends up causing some form of dependence. Therefore, for those looking for the benefits of CBD, it is best to consume it from a CBD product with zero to 0.3% THC.

In the UK, the law sets the limit of THC in CBD product to 0.3%. For example, Full-Spectrum CBD products do contain traces of THC up to legal levels of 0.3%. However, this amount is so small that it will not risk dependency.

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