• Australian researchers found evidence CBD can help meth addicts
  • 32 lab rats addicted to meth were treated with CBD
  • Researchers noted “cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce the motivation to seek and consume methamphetamine.” 

A study from Australia have found promising evidence that Cannabidiol (CBD) could have the potential to be used in treatments for addiction to methamphetamine. (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881118799954)

Researchers at two Australian Universities, Macquarie University and the University of Sydney, subjected 32 lab rats to methamphetamine addiction before administering CBD to see if it could help wean the drug-addicted rats off the narcotic.

For the study, 32 lab rats were fitted with a catheter and trained to self-administer methamphetamine by pressing a lever.

The rats were then administered with relatively large doses of CBD (80 milligrams per kilogram) before there was a noticeable effect on the rats.

Once the CBD started working in the rats,

Researchers noted that CBD helped wean the rats off the meth, writing in their report: “cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce the motivation to seek and consume methamphetamine.”

Iaian McGregor, academic director of the Lambert Initiative which funded the research, hopes that the organisation will be able to proceed with clinical research (human trials) on CBD, given the success of their findings as well as the success of previous research conducted on CBD:

“We would like to see a large clinical study.

“We’ve seen for some time now the potential of CBD in the addiction space.”

The study’s authors believe the research to be the first-of-its-kind, describing their research as “the first demonstration that cannabidiol can reduce the motivation to seek and consume methamphetamine, and suggests that cannabidiol might be worth trialing as a novel pharmacotherapy for methamphetamine dependence.”

While this study may be the first to look exclusively at CBD treatment for meth addiction, McGregor remains reserved, giving credit to previous research conducted on CBD treatment for other drug addictions, noting in particular the studies conducted in San Diego by the Scripps Research Institute, including a recent study using a CBD-infused gel a potential for treating drug addiction.

“We were quite impressed with that work so we thought let’s have a look at what it does with meth,” he said.

McGregor has good experience of the damage meth use can have on societies, testifying in numerous high profile cases where the defendant committed horrific crimes under the influence of the narcotic. This, McGregor believes, highlights a pressing need to get approval for clinical human trials for CBD.

He also admits that limited tests on 32 lab rats are not conclusive, another reason why large-scale testing on humans needs to begin.

Due to the non-lethal nature of CBD (it is impossible to overdose on cannabis), there is a high appeal of testing CBD on humans.

McGregor concluded, “combine [CBD’s safety] with the mounting evidence that CBD works well therapeutically for schizophrenia, which mimics meth-induced psychosis, and it makes a compelling reason to try a trial of CBD for meth addiction.”

However, despite the success of the study, McGregor noted that CBD should not be viewed as a cure-all, but rather as an “adjunct to standard treatment for meth addiction.”

We would like to see a large clinical study. We’ve seen for some time now the potential of CBD in the addiction space.
– Iaian McGregor, academic director of the Lambert Initiative

The Lambert Initiative, which funded the research, was established by Australian millionaire Barry Lambert in 2017 after seeing the success his granddaughter, who suffers severe epilepsy, had with medical cannabis.

While the Initiative and the researchers wait for government approval to conduct clinical human trials, McGregor highlighted how their paper is already having real-world implications:

“Since the paper was published we’ve received testimonials from people who read the paper and have meth or cocaine problems and started using CBD, and a couple said it’s been highly effective.”

Despite meth addiction being a relatively low issue in the UK, with figures from the Home Office estimating that in 2013 only about 17,000 people aged 16-59 in England and Wales took methamphetamine, fewer than for any other drug recorded.

Meth in Australia, however, is a more serious societal problem.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 5.4% of people over 12 in Australia have tried meth, with 0.2-0.3% of the population regularly using the destructive narcotic.

Research like the one conducted here is a fantastic step forward for the progression of medical cannabis legalisation.

Evidence that cannabinoids, like CBD and THC, have potential therapeutic and medicinal properties strengthens the argument that Governments around the world should legalise access to medical cannabis.

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