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 or older in the United States had AUD, formerly known as alcoholism. Approximately 1.7 % of children and adolescents aged 12 to 17 had this condition.
AUD can cause liver disease, heart disease, strokes and alcohol-related cancers. It can also lead to emotional, interpersonal and financial difficulties. Despite this, only around 7.2 % of people with AUD receive treatment in any given year.
Although research is still in its early stages, 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.
CBD is one of the many active compounds found in cannabis. It is different from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the compound that causes euphoria or the 'high'. People who consume CBD are unlikely to experience euphoria.
CBD may have the following benefits:
- provide antioxidant capabilities
- regulate the immune system
- reduced anxiety
- prevention of epileptic seizures
- reduced inflammation
Can CBD help to reduce alcohol consumption?
Research into whether CBD can reduce alcohol consumption in humans is limited.
However, a study carried out in 2019 on mice revealed that CBD could reduce 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 caused by 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 may 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 combining CBD with naltrexone, a drug that treats substance abuse, can reduce the urge to drink alcohol.
However, researchers need to carry out further studies on people to check whether these results are applicable to humans.
Can CBD help alcohol-related liver damage?
Initial animal research 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 caused by excessive alcohol consumption
- by inhibiting inflammatory responses
- limiting the accumulation of fat in the liver.
Blend of alcohol and CBD
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), mixing alcohol and CBD poses potential risks, as mixing the two substances can significantly increase the effects of both drugs. Combining 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 engaging in 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 can help reduce alcohol cravings and alcohol consumption.