Introduction: Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid found in the Cannabis plant. CBD has received significant medical attention in relation to its anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, and antipsychotic characteristics. An increasing number of studies focusing on the anti-addictive properties of CBD have recently been published. In this systematic review, we aim to offer a comprehensive overview of animal and human studies regarding the impact of CBD on substance use disorders (SUDs).
Methods: A systematic search was performed on the PubMed database in February 2021. We included all articles assessing the effects of CBD on substance use disorders.
Results: The current systematic review suggests that CBD might offer promising therapeutic potential for the treatment of SUD, based on available animal and human studies. Animal studies showed a positive impact of CBD in the context of alcohol, opioids, and methamphetamine use (e.g., diminishing of drug-seeking behaviors). The results for cocaine use were mixed among reviewed studies, and CBD was not found to have an effect in animal studies on cannabis use. No animal study was identified that focused on the impact of CBD on nicotine use. Human studies showed a positive impact of CBD in the context of nicotine, cannabis, and opioid use (e.g., frequency and quantity of consumption). In contrast, CBD was not found to have an effect in human studies on cocaine or alcohol use. No human study was identified that investigated the impact of CBD on methamphetamine use.
Conclusions: CBD might offer promising therapeutic potential for the treatment of SUD, especially for nicotine, cannabis, and opioid use disorders, based on available human studies. The available research evidence is, however, sparse and more research on humans is needed.
Keywords: Abstinence; Addiction; CBD; Cannabidiol; Craving; Substance use disorder.
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