California Sober – CBD’s Influence on AUD

The TDR Three Takeaways on AUD:

  1. CBD’s Potential in AUD Treatment: CBD shows promise in treating Alcohol Use Disorder by impacting brain areas linked to addiction, presenting an alternative to traditional sobriety methods.
  2. Debate Over California Sober: The California Sober approach, allowing marijuana use, is controversial among traditional groups like AA, which advocate for complete abstinence to prevent relapse.
  3. Research Gaps: Despite promising findings on CBD’s effect on AUD, varying study designs call for more consistent research to validate its effectiveness.

The escalating public health concern posed by Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) calls for innovative therapeutic strategies. Among the traditional treatments like going to AA meetings, Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating compound derived from Cannabis sativa, has garnered significant attention. Recent neuroimaging studies reveal CBD’s potential in modulating brain functions associated with AUD, presenting a novel approach to managing this complex disorder.

California Sober is an approach to recovery where individuals abstain from all substances except for marijuana, believing it can aid in managing AAUD without the risks associated with harder substances. Traditional recovery groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) oppose this method, arguing that any substance use, including marijuana, contradicts the principle of complete abstinence. They maintain that using marijuana might risk relapse into more severe substance abuse, as total abstinence is viewed as the most effective path to long-term recovery.

CBD’s influence extends across critical neurotransmitter systems and brain regions implicated in AUD. It interacts with the γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate signaling pathways, particularly within the basal ganglia and dorso-medial prefrontal cortex, areas crucial for emotion regulation, reward anticipation, and executive functioning. This modulation suggests CBD’s capacity to address the neurobiological underpinnings of AUD.

Furthermore, CBD’s impact on the mesocorticolimbic reward pathways underscores its potential to alter reward processing and reduce alcohol cravings. By regulating activity in networks involved in reward anticipation and salience processing, CBD could offer a therapeutic benefit in reducing the compulsive alcohol-seeking behaviors characteristic of AUD.

However, the body of research, while promising, is not unequivocal. The variability in study designs, dosages, and the subjective nature of some findings highlight the need for further, more standardized research. The majority of existing studies, however, lean towards a beneficial effect of CBD on brain function related to AUD, warranting deeper investigation into CBD as a potential adjunct or alternative to current AUD treatments. Want to keep up to date with all of TDR’s research and news, subscribe to our daily Baked In newsletter.   

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