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Blue sky at dawn

Novel cannabinoids for addiction

Can medicinal cannabis treat addiction to other drugs?

A study to examine whether cannabidiol, or cannabidiol-containing cannabis extracts, may be a useful in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal and addiction to drugs such as opiates and methamphetamines.

Project overview

We have a general interest in whether cannabinoids can help in the treatment of addiction to other drugs such as alcohol, opiates and methamphetamine. There are anecdotal reports supporting this idea and the ability of cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) to reduce anxiety, prevent seizures and treat psychotic behaviour may be relevant in addiction medicine.

In an initial suite of studies with Associate Professor Jennifer Cornish (Macquarie University), we have found that cannabidiol strongly inhibits the intravenous self-administration of methamphetamine in rats (an animal model of ‘ice’ addiction in humans). Other cannabinoids will also be tested in this paradigm.

We also have plans to examine whether CBD, or CBD-containing cannabis extracts, may be a useful adjunct in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal, where anxiety and seizures are prominent symptoms. Discussions regarding the feasibility of such a study are underway with leading clinical researchers in the addictions field.

Preclinical CBD studies completed – 2016. Currently being written up for publication.

Studies of cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA) have since been conducted.

A study of CBD for the management of alcohol withdrawal and craving is in the final planning stage. 


Professor Iain McGregor

Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold

Associate Professor Jennifer Cornish


Professor Paul Haber

Professor Nick Lintzeris

Preclinical and translational


The Lambert Initiative


CBD produced a dose-dependent decrease in methamphetamine self-administration in rats suggesting strong anti-addictive potential.

We are looking for PhD students to join our team and work on this important project.