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Does Using CBD Count as a Relapse?

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Does Using CBD Count as a Relapse? Getting into and staying in recovery is a challenge, but with the right framework of thought and support along the way, it is not only possible, but something you can sustain for life. Though not desirable, relapses are unfortunately part of the path. They are not something to be ashamed of—they happen, but that does not mean that a person in recovery should not do their best to avoid potential relapse triggers. For some, taking CBD while in recovery may prove to be tricky.

Many relapse triggers are obvious, especially if you’ve been to treatment and have had the benefit of a licensed professional pointing them out to you in therapy or group treatment. However, what about when they are not obvious? What about when such things reside in a gray zone where they are okay for some and not others? We touched on this subject in our article about accidentally using DXM while in recovery, should similar precautions be taken with CBD?

CBD as a Supplement

CBD—or cannabidiol oil has made a big impact in the past decade as a wellness supplement riding the wave of marijuana legalization that has swept many of the states in the US. For many people, CBD offers many of the purported health benefits of marijuana, but without the psychoactive component. The verdict is not out yet as to whether CBD can truly provide the many benefits that are attributed to it such as:

  • Reducing inflammation in the body
  • Improving mood/reducing anxiety
  • Mitigating chronic pain
  • Assistance with treating opioid addiction through reducing cue-induced cravings
  • Improving insulin sensitivity
  • Protecting against cognitive/neurodegenerative diseases

The list goes on…

Many of these claims have various studies that, to some degree, suggest that such things are possible due to CBD’s very broad pharmacological profile. Some claims may be more reliable than others.

For example, when it comes to using CBD for the treatment of mental health conditions such as anxiety disorder or PTSD, there are a fair number of widely cited studies that suggest that CBD does offer anxiolytic effects. Due to these findings, organizations such as Encore Outpatient Services must always consider what possible benefits using CBD can bring—especially when considering that many if not most addictions are subject to comorbid conditions like generalized anxiety disorder, clinical depression PTSD, and more.

Does taking CBD Count as a Relapse?

While the lines are not always clear cut, generally speaking, using substances that can grant mind-altering properties can be viewed as a relapse. Addiction is a disease, one in which the person with the addiction uses substances as a way to alter their emotions, or as a means to escape from reality. However, where is the line drawn? Does tobacco count? How about caffeine, which is a psychostimulant and can even produce euphoria in some cases.

While it is not recommended to pick up or continue a tobacco habit for health reasons, there are people in recovery that can compartmentalize their tobacco use. Even more, drink caffeine without a second thought.

So, asking Does Using CBD Count as a Relapse, you must ask…

Can You Get High off of CBD?

As far as the scientific and medical literature goes, CBD cannot possibly give you a high or a buzz in the traditional sense. Pure CBD products and CBD oils must meet or fall below a threshold of 0.3% THC, effectively removing any psychoactive potential.

However, many people report feelings of calm, mellowness, and other positive attributes to consumption of CBD. If CBD truly were capable of pain and anxiety reduction, might not the positive feelings that people attribute to CBD use be the result of sheer relief more than anything? Relief from chronic pain or anxiety is enough to make anyone feel blissful or near euphoric for a time.

Should You Take CBD While in Recovery?

While there is no true consensus on the variance with which CBD affects individuals, the effects are most certainly not a “high”, and even when taken in large doses the outcome is often grogginess, thus eliminating the possibility of abuse.

Still, there are things to be cautious about. For example, does the CBD oil in question still taste like marijuana or has it been completely distilled down to a more neutralized flavor? Sensory cues are an important element of relapses, and for some individuals, the taste of marijuana even absent the psychoactive effects can bring on cravings to smoke marijuana.

Much like with DXM use in recovery, usage of CBD must be considered based on the patient’s time in recovery and their profile of addiction.

Ultimately, the question of intentions must come into play. If addiction begins with the intention to use a substance to escape the present reality or to avoid experiencing emotions or being alone with oneself, then anything can become addicting. In terms of substances, if a person in recovery believes CBD oil offers them some kind of high or buzz—even if it doesn’t, then it isn’t healthy to feed that impulse.

However, if a patient finds that CBD truly does assist in the reduction of general anxiety and/or chronic pain, then the mitigation of those everyday stressors can help them become a healthier, happier person, and far less likely to relapse and seek out unhealthy substances for reprieve.

Taking CBD While in Recovery: Ask the Professionals

If you’ve been wondering if taking CBD while in recovery is safe, we hope this article was able to grant a useful perspective.

Navigating recovery can be tricky at first, but with professional counseling and understanding scientifically backed frameworks, we are confident our patients can achieve a lasting and healthy recovery from substance use disorders and other addictions.

Whether a commitment to a PHP is required or simply a few contact hours a week that a general outpatient program can provide, Encore Outpatient Services is here for you. Providing addiction treatment through several modalities such as individual and group therapy, trauma treatment, medication management, and more.

Contact us today for any questions regarding our programs or admissions.

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