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Addiction patient interested in medicinal cannabis as treatment


An emerging role for cannabinoids in the treatment of addictions

The ability of cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) to reduce anxiety, prevent seizures and reduce psychotic behaviour may be relevant in the treatment of addiction to alcohol and other drugs. 

Addiction involves the loss of control over behaviour so that seeking and consuming alcohol, drugs and other rewards becomes dominant and compulsive. Addiction is typically seen in gambling, drug abuse (both illicit and prescription drugs), alcohol and nicotine, but it is possible to be addicted to many other rewards such as sex, sugar or fat-laden foodstuffs, and pornography.

There is clear potential for clinical trials of cannabinoids in the area of addictions. Examples include:

  • The substitution of cannabis for opiates in people who have become addicted to opiates for the treatment of their pain.
  • The use of cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of alcohol, nicotine, methamphetamine and opiate addictions
  • The use of cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabidivarin (THCV) to reduce the desire for of high palatability junk foods.