There is a common question amongst people considering adding CBD oil to their diet: Is CBD oil addictive?

We believe the reason that this question comes up is because CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant. Marijuana is a cultivar of cannabis which is high in THC, the compound in cannabis considered to be a drug. But CBD is far easier and less expensive to extract from industrial hemp than from marijuana. Hemp is a cultivar of cannabis, which contains negligible amounts of THC and therefore doesn’t cause a buzz.

If CBD were derived from a plant not associated with a drug would anyone wonder if CBD is addictive? 

What makes a drug addictive?

What exactly is an addiction and why are some drugs addictive? And, just as important to this discussion, why is addiction referred to as a disease?

Repeated use of addictive substances can trigger strong cravings. And when the brain doesn’t get what it craves, reasoning can be cast aside. This can cause addicts seek out and use the substance even knowing that it may harm or kill them.

Whether a substance can be considered addictive or not depends on whether it changes the way the brain works. Addiction can be compared to having an infectious disease. A state of imbalance is caused in the brain which is not purely psychological. Rather, actual physical changes that can be damaging to health take place in the brain. Hence the use of the term disease.

Addictive drugs generally target the brain’s reward system. This is an evolutionary trait important for survival. Certain behaviors are essential for living – eating, for example. To reinforce these behaviors, the brain creates a substance called dopamine. Dopamine produces feelings of happiness or euphoria. The brain releases dopamine to reward certain behaviors. The drive to satiate these urges results in addictive behaviors.

Marijuana vs. CBD

You have probably heard that marijuana is a drug and that it can be addictive. And you may be asking yourself, “is CBD addictive as well?”

To say that marijuana is addictive is only partially true. Although THC itself is technically not addictive, the ongoing use of marijuana can be addictive. It’s called Marijuana Use Disorder and it’s the result of constant consumption of marijuana.

Marijuana Use Disorder is not quite the same as a chemical addiction. It’s more of an addiction to the state of mind brought about by being high all the time, as well as to the habits involved in getting high on a regular basis.

Taking away the THC also takes away the feelings of euphoria and serenity that come with the buzz. People who use marijuana daily may feel like life isn’t enjoyable when they’re not high. This change in perception can cause anxiety and depression, leading to an increased urge to get high again.

So now the question becomes, can daily use of CBD oil also cause these same urges to use it over and over again like addictive drugs and marijuana can? And to break it down further, does CBD cause any psychological conditions or behaviors which might result in this kind of addiction?

Is CBD oil psychoactive?

There are hundreds of article on the web which mistakenly talk about CBD oil as being non-psychoactive. This is actually incorrect. CBD is known to have mild effects on psychological states. For example, CBD may reduce anxiety and depression, increase alertness, and bring about feelings of relaxation. The difference is that CBD doesn’t alter the perception of reality like THC does. The correct word for CBD is non-psychotropic.

Because CBD doesn’t doesn’t bring about an altered state of consciousness and doesn’t trigger the reward system, there’s nothing to get addicted to.

CBD actually helps treat addiction

Surprising, not only is CBD non-addictive, it’s also been shown to help reduce cravings caused by addiction. The belief is that CBD somehow shorts the brain’s reward circuits. It also reduces the symptoms of withdrawal such as anxiety and depression.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on this subject:

In 2015 a case study on CBD and addictive use of marijuana was published. A bipolar man who had a daily marijuana habit was given CBD along with his regimen of medication and reported less anxiety and no marijuana use. A 2015 systematic review of studies on CBD and addiction (five on humans, nine on animals) found that CBD acts on neurotransmitters involved in addiction; animal studies showed some relation in opioid and psychostimulant addiction and human studies showed beneficial effects for tobacco and cannabis dependence. However, the anti-addictive properties displayed might be due to CBD’s protective effect on stress and neurotoxicity, the review also mentions the need for more research.

Many addiction treatment programs are now considering using CBD oil as a supplement. The hope is that it can assist in reducing cravings and help to maintain a healthy state of mind.

CBD may also be effective in helping to prevent or lessen the effects of Marijuana Use Disorder. Lab studies in animals show that CBD oil actually blocks THC from binding to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain.

Can you overdose on CBD oil?

Many drugs that cause addiction are toxic to the human body. They can cause brain damage as well as kidney and liver damage, among other issues.

CBD, however, is completely non-toxic to humans, even in very high quantities. There has never been a case reported of a CBD overdose. In fact, two separate studies investigating the safety of CBD concluded that high doses of CBD – up to 1,500 mg of CBD per day – are well tolerated.

So what’s the final verdict? Is CBD oil addictive?

The answer to this question of whether or not CBD oil is addictive is an emphatic “NO!” CBD is non-psychotropic, non-toxic, and completely safe to use. CBD may actually reduce addictive behavior and ease symptoms associated with withdrawal.

So have no fear. You can take CBD to your heart’s content without fear of addiction.


The research and talent that went into this article and infographic was made possible by a grant from High Country Group, LLC. Visit High Country’s CBD website for top-quality CBD products.

FDA Disclaimer

The statements in this document have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult your physician before beginning any treatment regimen.

Legal Disclaimer

Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. The results reported the lab studies mentioned in this document may not necessarily occur in all individuals. CBD Wellness Guide makes no representations or warranties of any kind with respect to this site or its contents.

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