CBD and alcohol!
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a condition in which a person feels the need to drink alcohol even though it has a negative impact on their life. Research suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) may help reduce alcohol consumption and alcohol-related liver damage.
In 2019, 5.3 % of people aged 12 years or older in the United States had AUD, formerly known as alcoholism. Approximately 1.7 % of children and adolescents aged 12 to 17 had the condition.
AUD can cause liver disease, heart disease, stroke and alcohol-related cancers. It can also cause emotional, interpersonal and financial difficulties. Despite this, only about 7.2 % of people with AUD receive treatment in a given year.
Although research is still in its infancy, the use of CBD in the treatment of AUD looks promising.
This article explains what CBD is and looks at how it can help reduce alcohol consumption and AUD-related disorders.
What is CBD ?
CBD is one of many active compounds found in cannabis. It is different from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the compound that causes euphoria or a high. People who use CBD are unlikely to experience a high.
CBD may have the following benefits:
- provide antioxidant capabilities
- regulate the immune system
- anxiety reduction
- prevention of epileptic seizures
- reduction of inflammation
Can CBD help to reduce alcohol consumption?
Research into whether CBD can reduce alcohol consumption in humans is limited.
However, a 2019 study on mice found that CBD could decrease alcohol consumption. The researchers noted that administering CBD made the mice less motivated to drink ethanol, a component of alcohol.
A small-scale study of 120 adults who used both cannabis and alcohol found that people may be less likely to drink as much alcohol if they use CBD.
Can CBD treat alcohol use disorder?
Research into the use of CBD as a treatment for AUD is in its infancy. Some preliminary studies suggest that CBD may reduce alcohol consumption and may protect against liver and brain damage due to excessive alcohol consumption.
However, the researchers are still investigating several factors that could help establish effective procedures for the use of CBD in the treatment of AUD. The questions they are seeking to answer include:
- What dose of CBD is most effective
- How long should the treatment last?
- What is the best way to administer CBD?
- Which CBD formulation is most effective?
Does CBD reduce alcohol cravings?
Animal studies suggest that CBD can reduce stress-related alcohol consumption, withdrawal seizures and impulsive drinking. These results indicate that CBD may reduce alcohol cravings.
Other animal studies have shown that CBD can reduce the motivation to drink or seek alcohol.
Studies have also found that the combination of CBD and naltrexone, a drug that treats substance abuse, can reduce the urge to drink alcohol.
However, researchers need to conduct further studies on people to see if these results are applicable to humans.
Can CBD help alcohol-related liver damage?
Initial research involving animals shows that CBD may help alcohol-related liver damage by reducing inflammation and slowing the development of fatty liver.
Another study found that treating mice with CBD helped in :
- improving liver damage due to excessive alcohol consumption
- by inhibiting inflammatory responses
- limiting the accumulation of fat in the liver.
Mixture of alcohol and CBD
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), mixing alcohol and CBD poses potential risks because mixing the two substances can significantly increase the effects of both drugs. The combination of the two can lead a person to :
feeling very drowsy or sleepy
have difficulty coordinating their body and senses
lose track of time
People should never drink alcohol, use CBD, or both, before doing activities that require concentration and attention and are likely to cause harm, such as driving or operating heavy machinery.
Alcohol use disorders affect many people aged 12 and over in the United States.
Although human research is limited, animal studies and early investigations suggest that CBD is a promising treatment for AUD. CBD may help reduce alcohol cravings and reduce alcohol consumption.
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