Alcoholism affects millions of people around the world, but current treatments leave many still
more difficulties. Could CBD offer a more effective treatment for the physical and psychological effects of alcoholism
treatment and even help treat addictions? This question is being answered by a new review
The study .
Excellent CBD potential
The nascent cannabis industry is experiencing a period of rapid growth. As a result, the regulations are constantly changing.
With new financial incentives, researchers and the pharmaceutical industry are upgrading
interest in the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant.
Cannabis has no shortage of potential medicinal compounds. The plant contains more than 100 different
cannabinoids. However, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most common and well
CBD in particular has received a lot of attention recently. And because of its good properties, CBD, in addition to
psychoactive and other serious side effects, it is a suitable candidate for pharmaceutical products.
In fact, pre-clinical studies consistently demonstrate the value of CBD as a medicinal tool. These studies show,
that CBD may have protective effects against inflammation, anxiety, nausea, seizures and oxidative stress.
With such a wide range of potential benefits, researchers are keen to test the effects of CBD on a wide range of clinical
purposes. This includes alcohol use disorder, commonly known as alcoholism, and other drug
Alcoholism: more common than you might think
Alcoholism occurs when someone loses control over their alcohol intake. This may
both physical and emotional dependence on drugs. The results are significant – interrupted
relationships, poor performance at work, risky or illegal behaviour such as drinking alcohol
while driving, and significant neurological liver damage.
Unfortunately, alcoholism is a very common disorder. More than 16 million Americans abuse
alcohol. That’s just over 6% of all adults over the age of 18 in the US, so
Alcoholism is a major public health concern.
Several drugs have been approved by European and US government agencies for the treatment of alcoholism, including
acamprosate and naltrexone. However, many patients do not have successful results.
Could CBD help people with alcoholism?
To improve patient outcomes, researchers are looking for new compounds that use
new mechanisms to treat alcohol use disorders.
Firstly, CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects could help combat alcohol-related
physical damage to the body.
In addition, there is strong evidence to support CBD as an effective treatment for seizures, which are common in
side effects of withdrawal from heavy alcoholic drinks.
This means that CBD can prevent the urge to consume alcohol in excess.
The new study
McMaster University and St. St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton Research Hospital in Canada,
researchers wanted to further explore the potential of CBD as a treatment for alcoholism.
They searched for peer-reviewed studies that used CBD as an intervention for any alcohol
the harm caused. Only 12 studies met the investigators’ criteria – 8 using rodent models, 3
using healthy adult volunteers and 1 using cell culture.
CBD prevents neurodegeneration
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to neuronal inflammation and oxidative stress. For this reason
different parts of the brain are affected, including regions involved in attention and problem solving,
information processing, learning and memory.
Alcohol-induced brain damage is associated with a higher risk of relapse, which is even more damaging
the brain, resulting in harsh feedback loops.
However, results from pre-clinical studies using cell culture and animal models suggest that CBD
helps protect the brain from the harmful effects of alcohol. In these studies, CBD prevented
neuronal damage and reduced impulsive behaviour.
Unfortunately, there are no similar studies in humans. However, in one clinical trial, researchers demonstrated that CBD
had no significant cognitive side-effects (compared to alcohol and THC) and healthy
well tolerated by adults.
CBD and alcohol relapse
After undergoing detoxification and treatment for substance abuse,
people with alcohol use disorders are still prone to relapse. The likelihood of a relapse may
many factors, including situational cravings, stress and anxiety. CBD can target all
In animal models, CBD reduced alcohol behaviour, withdrawal symptoms and anxiety. When
relapse occurred, CBD-treated animals consumed less alcohol and showed less motivation to drink.
There are no similar studies in humans, but there are clinical studies in humans that show that CBD
has a positive impact on cannabis and tobacco dependence .
CBD reverses liver damage
One of the most harmful physical side-effects of alcoholism is liver damage. In fact,
it is the leading cause of liver disease worldwide.
Researchers have shown in pre-clinical studies that CBD can benefit the liver. What about alcohol
Again, CBD is beneficial. In animal studies, CBD was able to reverse the harmful effects of alcohol
for the liver, possibly due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity.
Preclinical studies using cell culture and animal models show that CBD can be highly
effective treatment for alcohol use disorder. CBD protects the brain and liver from alcohol
harm and helps reduce the likelihood and severity of relapse.
The only problem is the lack of data on people. Future research should focus on the following
validating results in clinical trials, narrowing down possible mechanisms and therapeutic effects and
determine the optimal doses.