Is CBD Addictive?

CBD is not addictive. In 2017, a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that “in humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential” and that

Because CBD is closely related to cannabis and marijuana, there’s confusion as to whether it’s addictive, but it’s easy to answer this question.

Is CBD addictive? CBD is not addictive. In 2017, a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential in humans.

Tolerance, addiction and withdrawal symptoms

Because the psychoactive element in marijuana (THC) is only present in such small proportions in CBD (legally less than 0.3%) there are no psychoactive effects associated with its usage and therefore no real potential for addiction.

The level of THC in the illegal marijuana drug is a different story altogether. Levels of THC can reach up to 20%, this provides a ‘high’, differing tolerances in individuals and potential for addiction and withdrawal symptoms.

CBD does not provide a high or any psychoactive effects, it has not been shown to have varying tolerances and it is actually used to treat addiction, we’ll touch upon this later.

Can you overdose on CBD or take too much?

In 2017, a study published on CBD as well as a vast array of other studies found that intake of up to 1500 mg of CBD daily is well tolerated by humans.

In fact, taking over 2000 mg is still unlikely to lead to any adverse effects, although consuming a higher amount increases the chances of side effects.

These side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Decreased appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Increased heart rate

You can overdose on CBD but the amount you would have to take is inhuman. Estimates suggest that you would have to consume around 414000 mg to overdose on CBD.

The average bottle of CBD capsules contains around 500 mg of the substance. It is as close to impossible as you can get to overdose on CBD.

Dosage recommendations depend on your ailment, the amount suggested is often between 20 mg to 2000 mg daily.

The misunderstood relationship between THC and CBD

CBD is a cannabinoid, meaning it comes from the cannabis plant.

There is an array of cannabinoids in cannabis plants. One of the other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant is THC.

THC is the psychoactive element of the cannabis plant, which has been found to be addictive. CBD contains minimal amounts of THC (as aforementioned legally less than 0.3%) so it does not have any ‘high’ or other psychoactive effects.

The human body actually produces its own and has its own receptors for cannabinoids.

Associated risks of CBD

With rare and minimal side effects, a practical impossibility of overdosing, and a variety of linked ailments it’s supposed to help along with not being addictive, CBD sounds risk-free, right?

But this is not exactly true.

CBD and failed drug tests

Drug tests look for both THC and its metabolites. As CBD contains trace amounts of THC, false positives in drug tests can appear when taking CBD.

Because the Hemp and Marijuana plant, which CBD can be derived from both contain THC, trace amounts are present in CBD products.

If you are put off taking CBD because of the potential to fail drug tests, there are other types of CBD that contain no THC at all and therefore should be risk-free in drug tests, these types of CBD are called CBD isolate and broad-spectrum CBD.

CBDs potential effect with other pharmaceutical drugs

CBD is what is known as an inhibitor, specifically to the CYP450 system. Inhibitors cause levels of certain drugs to increase to levels that can be harmful or even lethal.

As CBD is metabolized in the body by the same enzymes in the CYP450 system which are used by other drugs, they compete for these enzymes.

Due to this competition, CBD can reduce the metabolism of other drugs, meaning less dosage is likely to be required because the CYP450 enzymes metabolize the drug slower. This means the drug stays active for a longer time and therefore less is needed in order to achieve the desired effect.

Read a more detailed analysis of CBD in combination with other drugs here.

CBD used in helping with various substance abuse/addictions

Studies have shown CBD to help in overcoming addictions and preventing relapsation.

In a 2018 study the effects of CBD in helping with addiction found that there is “potential for CBD usage in relapse prevention along two dimensions: beneficial actions across several vulnerability states and long-lasting effects with only brief treatment.”.

The substances it has been shown to help to overcome or aid in overcoming are various, from cigarettes, to morphine and opioids like heroin.


CBD comes from the cannabis sativa strain of plant which is why it is often misunderstood as a substance which can get you high, is illegal, dangerous and addictive.

These are of course all false. It cannot get you high, it is not illegal, when used properly it is safe and it is non-addictive.

A wider understanding of CBD is needed as most people are misinformed on what it is and what it can be used for.

We are still in the early stages of researching CBD but its benefits are shown to be supposedly wide-ranging and effective, including actually aiding in getting over substance addiction/abuse, let alone being addictive itself.

Because of its recent rise in mainstream popularity, long term effects of CBD are currently being studied and not yet known, short term side effects are minimal and rare in occurrence, however.

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