Cannabidiol Treatment Might Promote Resilience to Cocaine and Methamphetamine Use Disorders: A Review of Possible Mechanisms

Molecules. 2019 Jul 16;24(14):2583. doi: 10.3390/molecules24142583.


Currently, there are no approved pharmacotherapies for addiction to cocaine and other psychostimulant drugs. Several studies have proposed that cannabidiol (CBD) could be a promising treatment for substance use disorders. In the present work, the authors describe the scarce preclinical and human research about the actions of CBD on the effects of stimulant drugs, mainly cocaine and methamphetamine (METH). Additionally, the possible mechanisms underlying the therapeutic potential of CBD on stimulant use disorders are reviewed. CBD has reversed toxicity and seizures induced by cocaine, behavioural sensitization induced by amphetamines, motivation to self-administer cocaine and METH, context- and stress-induced reinstatement of cocaine and priming-induced reinstatement of METH seeking behaviours. CBD also potentiated the extinction of cocaine- and amphetamine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP), impaired the reconsolidation of cocaine CPP and prevented priming-induced reinstatement of METH CPP. Observational studies suggest that CBD may reduce problems related with crack-cocaine addiction, such as withdrawal symptoms, craving, impulsivity and paranoia (Fischer et al., 2015). The potential mechanisms involved in the protective effects of CBD on addiction to psychostimulant drugs include the prevention of drug-induced neuroadaptations (neurotransmitter and intracellular signalling pathways changes), the erasure of aberrant drug-memories, the reversion of cognitive deficits induced by psychostimulant drugs and the alleviation of mental disorders comorbid with psychostimulant abuse. Further, preclinical studies and future clinical trials are necessary to fully evaluate the potential of CBD as an intervention for cocaine and methamphetamine addictive disorders.

Keywords: addiction; cannabidiol; cocaine; conditioned place preference; methamphetamine; mice; rat; reinstatement; reward; self-administration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Animals
  • Cannabidiol / administration & dosage*
  • Cannabidiol / pharmacology
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Health Risk Behaviors / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Methamphetamine / toxicity
  • Mice
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / drug therapy


  • Cannabidiol
  • Methamphetamine