CBD withdrawal, does it exist?

by Laura Howarth February 13, 2024

CBD withdrawal, does it exist?

Supporters of CBD are quick to point to its plentiful benefits, which might make you wonder: what happens if I stop taking CBD? If CBD is doing so much good, could stopping taking it leave you feeling the effects of withdrawal?

It’s natural to want to know all of the facts before you add a new supplement to your daily routine. Alongside understanding how much CBD you need to take, you also need to think about what might happen if you miss a day or stop taking it altogether.

Since cannabis can be addictive for some and leave users with some difficult symptoms to deal with when they stop taking it, it would be natural for you to wonder if CBD might be the same.

Fast facts

  • Withdrawal is the physiological symptoms that occur when you stop taking a substance.
  • While cannabis might have the capacity to cause withdrawal symptoms, CBD does not.
  • CBD is non-habit forming, which means you cannot get “hooked” on the feeling.
  • Without this habit-forming element, CBD is unable to cause unpleasant symptoms when you stop taking it.
  • There is, however, a risk of CBD interacting with other medications you are taking.

What is withdrawal?

Human body

Withdrawal occurs when the body becomes dependent on particular substances. This is typically seen with habit-forming drugs and substances. First, the body develops a tolerance for these substances, which means you’ll need to take more of it to achieve the same effect.

If you then attempt to fight the cravings for this substance and stop using it, you might experience adverse side effects. These side effects are the result of your body being unable to function correctly without that substance.

It’s possible to become dependent on a wide range of substances, both legal and illegal. There have been instances where individuals have become addicted and dependent on seemingly innocent things like fizzy drinks due to the caffeine contained within them.

If I stop using CBD, will I feel the symptoms of withdrawal?

Withdrawal symptoms occur when your body becomes dependent on a substance to be able to function. It is commonly seen in habit-forming illegal substances, but can also be experienced if you stop taking completely legal substances, such as caffeine.

Taking CBD oil

If you were to drink lots of coffee every day, your body would become used to that level of caffeine. So, when you take it away, you might experience common withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, irritability and mood changes.

This leads many people to wonder if CBD might have the same impact. Customers are often advised that they need to take CBD consistently to allow it to build up in their bodies. So, if you suddenly stop taking it for any reason, could this leave you feeling like something is amiss?

The good news is that numerous studies have found that CBD withdrawal is unlikely. You can stop taking it for good, or take a break from using it, without noticing any significant changes.

The only instance where you might experience some adverse side effects would be if you are taking medication that is impacted by your CBD usage. In this case, you might notice changes to the way your medication makes you feel. 

There is still so much we don’t know about medication interactions, so you ought to consult with your GP or pharmacist before adding CBD to your daily routine.

What are the symptoms of CBD withdrawal?

While CBD might not have the capacity to cause withdrawal symptoms, some people might notice a change when they stop taking it. 

Woman unable to sleep

Those turning to CBD for sleep assistance, for example, might become reliant on the routine, and their sleep might suffer if they are unable to take their usual serving before bed. This has more to do with habit and routine than actual physiological dependency. 

In one study, the only adverse side effect noted during the withdrawal stage was diarrhoea. No severe adverse side effects were noted.

If you are taking CBD alongside other medications, it could alter the way your body utilises and breaks down these medicines. In this case, if you stop taking CBD, you might have side effects linked to your medication, not the CBD. 

For example, CBD might slow down how you process your medication, which means when you stop taking it, your body will absorb your medication much faster. In this instance, you might feel like you’re experiencing CBD withdrawal.

How long might these symptoms last?

Single drop serving size

When you stop taking CBD, it can take a while for the substance to be completely removed from your body. The time it takes will depend on the method of consumption, the serving size and how long you have been taking it.

If you have been taking a consistently high serving size, this will give it a chance to build up in your system. When you stop taking it, it will take longer to completely clear the cannabinoids from your bloodstream compared with someone who took a single serving size on a single occasion.

It will typically take between two and five days for CBD to leave your system completely. If you have developed a routine of taking CBD at specific times, this might elicit a placebo effect of making you feel dependent on this to carry out specific tasks. However, it’s vital to remember that CBD is not habit-forming.

CBD for addiction withdrawal

Rather than cause withdrawal symptoms, there is hope that CBD might help addicts get clean. Research is ongoing into the potential for CBD to be used alongside other medications to help addicts manage withdrawal side effects from other drugs, including opiates. More research is needed in this area and CBD is not currently a recognised treatment for withdrawal symptoms. 

Summary

If you’re worried about what will happen when you stop taking CBD, the good news is that it is very unlikely to lead to adverse side effects. It’s far more likely that CBD might alter the way your body processes other medications, and this could lead to some side effects when you stop.

It’s also possible that CBD might become such a vital part of your routine that you feel uneasy without it. Again, this isn’t a form of withdrawal, it is more of a simple adjustment to your routine.

If you are feeling like you are becoming dependent on CBD, it’s worth checking the origins of your CBD and the THC contents. If the product has illegal levels of THC, this could lead you to become addicted to this particular product, and this could lead to withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it.

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Laura Howarth
Laura Howarth

Author

Laura Howarth is a specialist CBD author based in Manchester, UK. She is passionate about sharing her love for CBD through educational articles and in-depth guides.


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