Did you know that in addition to using the cannabinoids in hemp oil or other cannabis products, our bodies naturally make their own CBD? This is the endocannabinoid system that includes receptors for CBD, CBN and other cannabinoids, as well as the CBD the body makes on its own. Neuroscientists noticed that this system was affected by other drugs like cocaine, and that CBD interacted with these other drugs in really interesting ways. This important research could lead to CBD hemp oil therapy for addicts recovering from drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and opiates.
Before we leap into the benefits of CBD for addiction recovery, let’s start off by talking about the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and what it does for your body and your brain.
How the Endocannabinoid System Works Naturally
The human body makes cannabinoids that produce different effects in the body by affecting the body’s central and peripheral nervous systems. The ECS helps regulate many different processes in the body, including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, fertility, and even pregnancy, among others. The ECS also includes cannabinoid receptors in the brain that contribute to the pleasure feeling you get after a long run or after going to the gym and lifting weights. Basically, CBD is partly responsible for the natural “runner’s high” you can get without any outside substances at all.
Since these cannabinoid receptors in the brain control a lot of important functions, scientists have studied them quite a bit. We’re talking about two different receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain, while CB2 receptors are found throughout the body, primarily in the immune system. Looking for treatments for neurological diseases, scientists focus mainly on these CB1 receptors.
What We’ve Learned About CBD Receptors in the Brain
The amount of CB1 receptors found in various parts of the brain is dependent on the species being studied. For example, in mice and other rodents, the CB1 receptors are concentrated to the regions of the brain that control movement and coordination. Humans have a lower concentration of receptors in those areas, which explains why cannabinoids alter motor skills in rodents more than they do in humans. Studies have also found cannabinoid responsiveness even when receptors were not being expressed through the use of knockout mice. Knockout mice are genetically modified mice where researchers have “knocked out” a particular gene. These studies found that despite not having cannabinoid receptors, these mice were still affected by cannabinoids, which means there may be some other binding receptors present in the brain.
Scientists have focused on the study of these CB1 receptors because they are very similar to receptors for other drugs, such as cocaine. Patients have already seen the benefits of CBD hemp oil for other neurological issues such as seizures, anxiety, and more. New studies have found that certain drugs like cocaine actually work with our body’s endocannabinoid system. The reverse is also true, and we can use CBD oil as a treatment for drug addiction. Let’s look at the current research on cocaine and the ECS.
Cocaine’s Effects on the Endocannabinoid System
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, it’s time to talk about what cocaine does to the endocannabinoid system. The short answer is that it really messes things up. In cocaine addicts, the CB1 receptor proteins are reduced by almost half. As a result of that reduction, the receptors decrease as well. This reduction also indicated receptor desensitization. So basically what’s happening is 25% of the receptors are laid off or reassigned. The other 75% of the receptors aren’t interested — eating, running, and having sexual intercourse just aren’t the same anymore. The good news is that the CB2 receptor proteins are not affected, meaning your immune system stays relatively the same.
What’s happening in the body of a cocaine user is that the cocaine is blocking the user from receiving pleasure from anything besides the use of the drug, sort of like the behind the scenes action of up regulation. Because cocaine blocks the CB1 receptor proteins, the receptors find something else to do, something like making more receptors for cocaine. With more receptors waiting for cocaine, the user has to smoke, snort, or intravenously consume more as well.
A little CBD goes a LONG Way
The good news in all of this is that it only takes a little bit to satisfy the CB1 receptors left. Think about it like this. When a cocaine user starts taking the drug, everything just gets out of whack. The need for cocaine starts to overpower anything else. If you think about it in terms of receptors, the usage of cocaine has created more receptors that need to be satisfied with more cocaine — just like how the blocking of CB1 receptor proteins reduced the amount of CB1 receptors.
CBD Hemp Oil Therapy for Cocaine Addiction
To restore balance to the neurotransmitters during drug recovery, one option is supplementing the body’s lack of natural cannabidiol with CBD in hemp oil. When there’s more CBD in your system, the CB1 receptors are rehired by the body to resume their original positions. Supplementing with cannabidiol reroutes the reward pathways in the brain, taking away some of the pleasure feeling of addictive drugs. Not only that, but CBD is also known to help the negative symptoms of withdrawal by stimulating those receptors and repairing them from being desensitized. CBD restores the pleasure in other things while interfering with your body’s request for more cocaine at the same time.
With more research, neuroscientists can develop CBD hemp oil treatments for addiction that help patients with a host of withdrawal symptoms as well as acting within the brain to reduce cravings. The problem is the regulation of hemp doesn’t allow scientists to do the research needed. As the hemp industry grows, hopefully more research can be performed and more treatments developed. These new hemp oil treatments can actually steer the brain away from the drug and towards natural, healthy cannabidiol.