While drug use is one of the major health concerns facing the world today, new studies have shown that cannabinoids, the chemicals found in cannabis, can help protect the brain from the effects of drug use. In recent studies, scientists focused on addicts who used nicotine and cocaine, studying their brains and DNA to see how long-term use affected them. Those two drugs in particular can cause the body to rewrite some kinds of DNA, causing a slew of health problems. But the body and Nature have ways of fighting this damage with the endocannabinoid system, a network of receptors designed to use cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system is a collection of cell receptors and molecules that are specially designed to use both CBD and THC. Endocannabinoid receptors are found all throughout the body and they have a wide variety of functions. They help regulate sleep, appetite, and pain, along with many other things. Your body also produces endocannabinoids from the fatty acids in your diet. When you take CBD hemp oil, it strengthens this endocannabinoid system, producing therapeutic effects.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many cannabinoids found in marijuana, and it’s not psychoactive like THC. CBD used for medicinal purposes typically doesn’t come from marijuana, it comes from hemp. Hemp and marijuana are very different varieties of the same plant: cannabis. People who farm for marijuana have selectively bred for plants high in THC, while hemp farmers don’t alter the plant as much, leaving it very low in THC and high in CBD. Farmers are doing this because CBD hemp oil is increasingly being used to treat a variety of ailments.
CBD Hemp Oil’s Medicinal Uses
Many states have legalized cannabis for treating a variety of health problems from nausea and lack of appetite to seizure disorders like epilepsy. In fact, CBD’s effects on patients with epilepsy are well documented, and current research is looking at CBD as a treatment for addiction. Recent studies have focused on how CBD can protect the brain from the effects of two drugs: cocaine and nicotine.
Long Term Effects of Drug Use
To understand how CBD Hemp Oil can help treat addiction to drugs, it’s important to understand the changes that habitual use of nicotine and cocaine can make in the brain and even in the DNA.
- When you smoke, nicotine causes a dopamine release in your brain, encouraging the behavior. Then, because nicotine leaves the body so quickly, your brain wants a constant supply of it to keep these receptors satisfied, called up-regulation. Up-regulation basically means you need more over time to trigger the same reaction you had at first, or basically, the more you smoke, the more often you need to smoke. On top of this, your brain is really good at connecting the dots when it comes to pleasure and what caused it, reinforcing cravings.
- Nicotine not only messes with your brain, it also messes with your DNA. Researchers don’t have concrete evidence that smoking harms your DNA, but any changes to your DNA by toxic substances may as well be considered damaging. The good news is that when you stop smoking, most of these DNA changes go back to their original state. The bad news is that some never go back to normal even years later.
- One of the worst things about cocaine is that it gives the user an intense experience. With repeated exposure to this intensity, the brain becomes less sensitive to natural pleasure reinforcers. At the same time, the pathways that regulate stress become sensitive. This is withdrawal. These two combined effects make the user seek out cocaine instead of natural dopamine releases, like the ones that come from food. After a while, the brain will crave more and more cocaine because of the upregulation effect.
- Just like with nicotine, this constant cycle of craving, drug-seeking, and reward can actually change your brain and even your DNA. This is called an epigenetic mechanism, and it means that you can rewrite your DNA by stressing the pleasure centers of the brain with drugs like cocaine and nicotine.
How CBD Hemp Oil Can Help Nicotine and Cocaine Addiction
CBD Hemp Oil for Withdrawals
CBD can help reduce dependence on nicotine or cocaine because it supplements your body’s natural “feel good” system, the endocannabinoid system that we talked about earlier. CBD helps the most with withdrawal symptoms. First, CBD reduces anxiety in many people, which obviously helps people withdrawing from powerful drugs like cocaine and nicotine. It can also relax your muscles, just like it does with epileptic patients. Seizures can also be a risk during detox from any drug, so CBD protects from that too.
CBD Hemp Oil for Cravings
Obviously CBD can’t help the fact that nicotine or cocaine will always trigger a dopamine release, but it can help with need to have more of it. Recent medical studies show that CBD hemp oil reduces the negative symptoms by interfering with the parts of the brain responsible for that cycle of craving. And at the same time, cannabidiol helps repair the nervous system from the desensitization caused by these drugs. Basically, CBD helps prevent withdrawal symptoms while reminding your body that natural things (like eating and hanging out with friends) release dopamine and make you feel good, so you don’t have to look to cigarettes or cocaine.
CBD Hemp Oil May Even Help Rewrite Your DNA
Scientists have discovered that Hemp (which has high amounts of CBD) has the capacity to repair DNA. Every living organism has DNA and for the most part DNA can repair little bruises, but over time our DNA just gets a lot of wear and tear and there are some things that our DNA just can’t repair on its own. CBD Hemp oil contains Edestin and Albumin (two forms of protein) that can help the body repair DNA damage that it is incapable of fixing on its own. This means that the DNA damage caused by long term drug use can be reversed with hemp oil treatments.
The Future of CBD Hemp Oil as a Treatment for Addiction
While the benefits of cannabinoids and CBD in particular have been much studied in recent years, there is still so much more to be learned about how these natural chemicals react with our bodies. Addiction is a serious health crisis in the U.S. and worldwide, and a natural treatment with little addictive properties of its own and proven efficacy is good news. With CBD hemp oil, addicts can heal their brains and help reduce cravings and relapses naturally.