Addiction: CBD in the Recovery Process (Part 2)

by Sue DeGregorio-Rosen RN, CLNC Contributing Editor

Cannabidiol (CBD) seems to be everywhere nowadays, from being in baked goods and smoothies, a leading ingredient in skincare and tonics and as an alternative to synthetic pharmaceutical drugs. In short, CBD is a natural chemical found in cannabis, and is the second most active ingredient in the plant. Its inability to cause a “high,” but its capability to alleviate a vast number of uncomfortable symptoms from different medical conditions has made it a popular choice for those seeking more natural options for relief.

Most recently, CBD has become particularly recognized in the addiction recovery community for its ability to relieve withdrawal symptoms. 

CBD is one of the tools that can make the journey to sobriety a bit smoother while complementing traditional therapies.  It is non-psychoactive.  Our endocannabinoid system when combined with CBD can potentially help with restoring balance, ease withdrawal symptoms, and reduce cravings.  By doing so it may provide some relief from pain, whether physical or emotional, as in PTSD.  There is absolutely no shame in considering CBD in addiction recovery, supported in conjunction with therapy.

Emerging research provides insight into the potential of CBD as a guardian of the brain.  These studies demonstrate that CBD may work to counteract damage by decreasing inflammation and warding off oxidative stress, which is common in neuronal degradation, It can also alleviate symptoms common during the detoxification process, like nausea and vomiting, which regulates appetite.

This is a multi-layered recovery process.

The emphasis lies in treating the whole person, holistically…mind, body, and spirit, providing a clearer path for the journey to sobriety.  Research has been limited concerning cannabis and addiction, however research has been performed on both animals and humans addicted to stimulants, such as cocaine, opiates such as heroin, and for both alcohol and nicotine.

Understanding this simple yet complex mode of therapy while promising, it is crucial to openly share with your healthcare provider on intent to use CBD.  Method does matter and strict management and adjustment is essential.  Everyone reacts differently. and why is that?  We are all different.

Dosing guidelines are available for CBD. (Cannabis Nurses Network, Featured Author, Uwe Bleshing, PhD, Supplement Your Pain Management with Cannabis, 2019).

Low dose- 0.4-20mg

Medium – 20-100mg

High- 100-800mg.

There have been some concerns about the possibility of becoming addicted to CBD, especially for those in recovery, you will hear this from some of our old timers that have fought the good fight, however due to the lack of a “high” addiction isn’t possible.  There has never been a cannabis or CBD related death, and it isn’t possible to overdose in the traditional sense, as dangerous on cannabis as we know you can on pharmaceutical drugs.  Some people have reported experiencing side effects such as fatigue and dry mouth. but for the most part the body and mind adjust………..CBD is safe to use.  It is a safe alternative.  

Always remember that if you choose to use CBD as a natural supplement, consult with a medical professional first to ensure its compatible with any current meds you may be taking.

Most rehabs will provide you with the latest and most effective modes of therapy and treatment methods and believe in integrating holistic practices into their treatment plans so they can offer one a truly full spectrum rehabilitation. 

The complementary natures of holistic care, using CBD, talk therapy, and yoga in the recovery process flows with the steps of recovery.  These attributes are alive naturally in our heart center, We learn radical acceptance, as in “accepting the things we cannot change, and the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” (The Serenity Prayer) ……… be continued.

  Gardiner EI, Endocannabinoid signaling system and brain award, emphasis on dopamine.  Pharmcol Biochem Behav 2005;81 (2)-263-84 (Pub Med)   2024 

Sue DeGregorio-Rosen, RN, CLNC

Cannabis Nurses Network Activist

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