Recovering cocaine and crack addicts recently got some good news: A CBD Study seems to reduce withdrawal symptoms, well at least in mice.
In a newly published pharmacological study, findings by researchers at the Institute of Neurosciences in Spain showed positive results in the rodents researchers used for the study. It suggests that CBD could reduce cocaine withdrawal symptoms in recovering human addicts.
In an experiment using 10 groups of mice — all of whom were previously given 10 milligrams of cocaine biweekly — only those administered CBD recovered from their habits after working toward sobriety.
“Results suggest that CBD could reduce reinstatement (relapse) to cocaine seeking after a period of abstinence” the study’s authors write.
At a granular level, the brain loses its ability to regulate dopamine transporters (DAT) when cocaine is present leading to pleasure receptors being overstimulated and overused. In the long run, the brain’s capacity to stimulate pleasure becomes damaged. When CBD is present, it “completely reverses this effect,” according to the study, evidently stabilizing dopamine levels and allowing the body to filter out its excess.
CBD effectively improves the brain’s synthesizing process by reversing and then decreasing the effects of cocaine on DAT. This study suggests that CBD could help former cocaine and crack addicts gain back their sensory, motor, and emotional capabilities.
One of the key findings in the study is it discerns how CBD stopped the psychological process of priming where our unconscious mind creates habits and uncontrollable responses to certain stimuli.
The psychological method to associate a feeling with a place — conditioned place preference, or (CPP) — was used in the study to achieve said priming. As each mouse was administered cocaine, it was placed in the same environment every time. Ultimately, the high from the coke was subconsciously tied to the place they took it, allowing a priming effect to occur.
In the study, the mice stopped receiving their biweekly 10 milligram doses of cocaine, but after three to four weeks all of them had naturally stopped showing withdrawal symptoms.
However, as CPP was in effect, mice placed back into the environment where they had taken the cocaine immediately began showing signs of withdrawal — though some completely regressed and dove head first into their previous cocaine habits. Social defeat, the phenomenon when a mouse becomes stressed and anxious when exposed to an older, more aggressive rodent, also contributed to mice reverting back to these actions.
Withdrawal symptoms were completely avoided in the mice who had received CBD even when exposed to stress and priming of their CPP environment.
“CBD itself did not induce reinstatement and blocked the reinstating effects of cocaine priming and social defeat,” the researchers write.
The implication for humans is that CBD might suppress the psychological habits of addiction when stress is present and might increase a user’s resistance to falling back into drug abuse.
These findings come as America remains locked in a deadly opioid epidemic — and first responders, scientists and researchers have been scrambling to find a way to wean addicts off the drugs their minds and bodies now crave.