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CBD Hemp Oil Treatment for Cannabis Withdrawal

As cannabis becomes legalized for recreational use in more and more parts of the world, cannabis use disorders have risen too. Though many argue that cannabis isn’t addictive, heavy users can experience withdrawal symptoms that are regular enough to have earned the name Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome. These symptoms include anxiety and increased heart rate, and until recently, CWS has only been treated psychologically. New studies done on cannabinoids have yielded interesting results, and CBD hemp oil might be the newest treatment for cannabis withdrawal.

What is Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome?

Despite Public Opinion, Cannabis is Addictive

Before we get into the specifics of cannabis addiction, let’s state what addiction really is: a brain disease that manifests by constantly using a substance (or doing something) despite harmful consequences. Addiction doesn’t have to be segregated to just known “harmful” substances like alcohol and cocaine. People can become addicted to caffeine, sugar, and behaviors. The biggest mark of an addiction is when someone needs more of their “drug” to continue feeling the effects. Quitting any addiction has both psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms, and cannabis is no exception.

Several studies have shown that when a person stops long-term consistent cannabis use, they tend to have the same physical withdrawal symptoms . The typical symptoms of Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome are:

  • Irritability,
  • decreased appetite,
  • depressed mood,
  • sleep difficulty,
  • and at least one physical symptom
    • (stomach pain, tremors, sweating, fever, chills, headaches).

If three or more of these symptoms develop within a week after stopping cannabis use, congratulations, you have CWS. That’s the bad news. The good news is that researchers are finding new treatments for CWS every year.

Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome and the Body

The chronic, heavy use of cannabis has an effect on our body’s naturally produced cannabinoids — our body starts preferring smoking to making its own. This results in a desensitization and downregulation of our CB1 (cannabinoid 1) receptors, meaning the low level of cannabinoid proteins our body produces aren’t satisfying the brain. As a result, the brain starts making less cannabinoids, which leads the addict to smoke more to satisfy the needs of the endocannabinoid system. Luckily, the levels of natural cannabinoids return to normal two days after quitting the use of cannabis, and they are functioning normally in about four weeks.

CWS symptoms vary in severity from person to person, though scientists have discovered a regular list. The symptoms are based on the amount of cannabis used before quitting, gender, and environmental factors. Women report more physical symptoms than men, including nausea and stomach pain. Generally CWS can be treated in an outpatient facility, but if the person has mental or somatic disorders or severe Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD), an inpatient treatment program may be recommended.

CBD Hemp Oil for CWS?

CBD Hemp Oil

Treating CWS with cannabidiol oil may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s a viable option. The reason that CBD hemp oil may help users quit smoking cannabis goes back to the reason people are using in the first place. Some people use marijuana as medicine (to relieve pain), for the effects of THC, to relax, and to go to sleep. However, the problem with street-level cannabis is the increase in THC, which results in an increase in cannabis withdrawal symptoms when the user stops. Even with legalizing marijuana, there is no official regulation of how much THC can be in a product. Purchasing from a legal dispensary still means you can get cannabis with varying levels of THC. If the user is looking for the positive effects of cannabis and not the mind-altering effects, CBD is a great alternative for marijuana use. Researchers have proven that CBD can help treat cannabis withdrawal syndrome, but how?

CBD hemp oil is like the cannabis without the “high.” It can be purchased in any state or online safely. CBD comes from industrial hemp, another type of cannabis plant, and CBD hemp oil contains 0.3 percent of THC. By law, that’s the most THC hemp products can contain. Cannabidiol can help with appetite, sleep disorders, and relieving pain, but it doesn’t get the user high. CBD hemp oil specifically works to boost your body’s endocannabinoid system, working against desensitization and downregulation. It helps your body repair the damage done by prolonged cannabis use by being a temporary supplement, just like you would take a B12 supplement when your body isn’t naturally producing enough B vitamins.

How to Use CBD Hemp Oil to Relieve CWS

There are many different options for taking CBD hemp oil for CWS, and it can even be useful if you want to gradually wean yourself off of marijuana for whatever reason. The most common methods are: vaping, tincture, capsule, and edibles.

How to Pick a Method

Choosing to vape your CBD hemp oil is a perfect solution if you are also trying to quit smoking cigarettes. For vaping, you heat the oil and then inhale it with a vape pen, electronic cigarette, or vaporizer. The effects of vaping wear off quickly, however, so you will have to perform this method more often. A tincture is concentrated CBD and it is the simplest and most direct method. For this method, you use a dropper to place a few drops under your tongue. If you already take supplements and vitamins in the morning, slipping in a CBD hemp capsule could be the least disruptive method. And last, if you’re a foodie, adding CBD hemp oil to your meals can be the easiest way to remember to use it. You can add the oil to baked goods (an excuse to have brownies every day) or use it on salad as a dressing.

The best part of using CBD hemp oil to ease Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome is that pure CBD oil without any THC component is completely legal and can be purchased just like other adult products. Adding to your daily routine as an alternative to smoking cannabis can give you all the medical benefits of cannabis you need without any of the withdrawal symptoms.

Though it’s increasingly legalized, cannabis can be addictive and cause withdrawal symptoms, but CBD hemp oil might be the newest treatment for cannabis withdrawal.

Using CBD oil for pain management? Watch out for withdrawal

Over 50% of medical marijuana users were shown to experience clusters of withdrawal symptoms when they were between uses in a new, detailed study

Washington [US], January 9 (ANI): More than half of people who use medical marijuana products to ease pain also experience clusters of multiple withdrawal symptoms when they’re between uses, a new study finds.

About 10% of the patients taking part in the study experienced worsening changes to their sleep, mood, mental state, energy, and appetite over the next two years as they continued to use cannabis.

Many of them may not recognize that these symptoms come not from their underlying condition, but from their brain and body’s reaction to the absence of substances in the cannabis products they’re smoking, vaping, eating, or applying to their skin, says the University of Michigan Addiction Center psychologist who led the study.

When someone experiences more than a few such symptoms, it’s called cannabis withdrawal syndrome, and it can mean a higher risk of developing even more serious issues such as a cannabis use disorder.

In the new research published in the journal Addiction, a team from the U-M Medical School and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System reports findings from detailed surveys across two years of 527 Michigan residents. All were participating in the state’s system to certify people with certain conditions for use of medical cannabis and had non-cancer-related pain.

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“Some people report experiencing significant benefits from medical cannabis, but our findings suggest a real need to increase awareness about the signs of withdrawal symptoms developing to decrease the potential downsides of cannabis use, especially among those who experience severe or worsening symptoms over time,” says Lara Coughlin, Ph.D., the addiction psychologist who led the analysis.

A long-term study in medical cannabis use

The researchers asked the patients whether they had experienced any of 15 different symptoms – ranging from trouble sleeping and nausea to irritability and aggression – when they had gone a significant time without using cannabis.

The researchers used an analytic method to empirically group the patients into those who had no symptoms or mild symptoms at the start of the study, those who had moderate symptoms (meaning they experienced multiple withdrawal symptoms), and those who had severe withdrawal issues that included most or all of the symptoms.

They then looked at how things changed over time, surveying the patients one year and two years after their first survey.

At baseline, 41% of the study participants fell into the mild symptoms group, 34% were in the moderate group and 25% were classed as severe.

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Misconceptions about medical cannabis

Many people who turn to medical cannabis for pain do so because other pain relievers haven’t worked, says Coughlin, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry who sees patients as part of U-M Addiction Treatment Services. They may also want to avoid long-term use of opioid pain medications because they pose a risk of misuse and other adverse health consequences.

She notes that people who experience issues related to their cannabis use for pain should talk with their health care providers about receiving other pain treatments including psychosocial treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

The perception of cannabis as “harmless” is not correct, she says. It contains substances called cannabinoids that act on the brain – and that over time can lead the brain to react when those substances are absent.

In addition to a general craving to use cannabis, withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, restlessness, depressed mood, aggression, irritability, nausea, sweating, headache, stomach pain, strange dreams, increased anger, and shakiness.

Previous research has shown that the more symptoms and greater severity of symptoms a person has, the less likely they are to be able to reduce their use of cannabis, quit using it, or stay away from it once they quit.

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They may mistakenly think that the symptoms happen because of their underlying medical conditions, and may even increase the amount or frequency of their cannabis use to try to counteract the effect – leading to a cycle of increasing use and increasing withdrawal.

Coughlin says people who decide to use a cannabis product for a medical purpose should discuss the amount, route of administration, frequency, and type of cannabis product with their regular health provider. They should also familiarize themselves with the symptoms of cannabis withdrawal and tell their provider if they’re experiencing them.

Feeling the urge to use cannabis after a period without use, such as soon after waking up, can be a sign of withdrawal syndrome, she notes. So can the inability to cut back on use without experiencing craving or other symptoms of withdrawal.

Because there is no medically accepted standard for medical cannabis dosing for different conditions, patients are often faced with a wide array of cannabis products that vary in strength and route of administration. Some products could pose more risk for the development of withdrawal symptoms than others, Coughlin says.

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For example, people who smoked cannabis tended to have more severe withdrawal symptoms than others, while people who vaped cannabis reported symptoms that tended to stay the same or get worse but generally did not improve, over time.

As more states legalize cannabis for medical or general use, including several states that will legalize its use based on the results of last November’s election, use is expected to grow.

More about the study

The researchers asked the patients about how they used cannabis products, how often, and how long they’d been using them, as well as about their mental and physical health, their education, and employment status.

Over time, those who had started off in the mild withdrawal symptom group were likely to stay there, but some did progress to moderate withdrawal symptoms.

People in the moderate withdrawal group were more likely to go down in symptoms than up, and by the end of the study, the number of people in the severe category had dropped to 17 percent. In all, 13 percent of the patients had gone up to the next level of symptoms by the end of the first year, and 8 percent had transitioned upward by the end of two years.

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Sleep problems were the most common symptom across all three groups, and many in the mild group also reported cravings for cannabis. In the moderate group, the most common withdrawal symptoms were sleep problems, depressed mood, decreased appetite, craving, restlessness, anxiety, and irritability.

The severe withdrawal symptom group was much more likely to report all the symptoms except sweatiness. Nearly all the participants in this group reported irritability, anxiety, and sleep problems. They were also more likely to be longtime and frequent users of cannabis.

Those in the severe group were more likely to be younger and to have worse mental health. Older adults were less likely to go up in withdrawal symptom severity, while those who vaped cannabis were less likely to transition to a lower withdrawal-severity group.

The study didn’t assess nicotine use or try to distinguish between symptoms that could also be related to breakthrough pain or diagnosed/undiagnosed mental health conditions during abstinence.

Future directions

Coughlin and her colleagues hope future research can explore cannabis withdrawal symptoms among medical cannabis patients further, including the impact of different attempts to abstain, different types of use and administration routes, and interaction with other physical and mental health factors. Most research on cannabis withdrawal has been in recreational users, or “snapshot” looks at medical cannabis patients at a single point in time.

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Further research could help identify those most at risk of developing problems, and reduce the risk of progression to cannabis use disorder, which is when someone uses cannabis repeatedly despite major impacts on their lives and ability to function. (ANI)

Over 50% of medical marijuana users were shown to experience clusters of withdrawal symptoms when they were between uses in a new, detailed study