Is it OK to use CBD in Recovery?

cbd oil bottle on abstract background

What Is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is made directly from the hemp plant. Cannabidiol is the second most common ingredient in marijuana. According to the World Health Organization, consuming CBD by itself will not produce the same effects as marijuana. CBD is currently legal in all 50 states. Project CBD includes research that attributes CBD to reductions in inflammation, pain, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and more. Thus far, the only FDA-approved CBD medication is Epidiolex. Epidiolex shows efficacy in treating seizures. National Geographic’s documentary Cannabis For Kids shows medical administrations of Epidiolex to children while they are having seizures.

What’s The Big Deal?

It seemed like CBD took the world by storm. It became the latest health and wellness fad. Everybody was talking about it; everyone had an opinion. Some touted CBD as a miracle. They said it helped reduce depression and anxiety. It made you sleep better. It reduced your appetite, which made you lose weight. It’s supposed to improve your concentration and memory. Sounds good, right? Surely there mustn’t be anything wrong with using it. There’s no THC in it, so you can’t get addicted to it. Can you?

Is CBD Safe?

Much misunderstanding surrounds whether or not CBD contains THC. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, the ingredient in marijuana that produces the “high.” Some manufacturers of CBD do not label their products correctly. This means that a consumer could be ingesting trace amounts of THC without their knowledge. The FDA requires that CBD products contain less than 0.3% of THC. While the FDA supports sound scientific investigations into CBD and its benefits, they have also sanctioned manufacturers who make false medical claims when advertising their products. Using CBD oneself requires proper research into exactly what a certain CBD product contains. Know what you’re buying.

Isolate V. Full-Spectrum

Consumers can usually find CBD in 2 varieties: isolate and full-spectrum. CBD isolate contains cannabidiol only. By contrast, full-spectrum CBD also has terpenes and flavonoids. By virtue of these additional components, full-spectrum CBD may help ease anxiety, inflammation, pain, and more. Unfortunately, full-spectrum CBD products are more likely to produce a positive result on a drug test. A person looking for the benefits of a CBD product without this risk could look into CBD isolate. Knowing this helps clear up a common misconception. Drug tests don’t measure for cannabidiol. They measure for THC. The isolate does not contain THC, but the full-spectrum does. Even a minuscule amount (less than 0.3%) can show up in a drug test.

Should A Person In Recovery Use CBD?

As with most questions in life, the answer is: it depends. CBD does seem to show promise in reducing pain, stress, insomnia, and inflammation. A study in The American Journal of Psychiatry indicated that the CBD-derived Epidiolex may help reduce drug cravings among those struggling with opioid addiction. In the future, addiction recovery and treatment programs might indeed employ CBD. But that doesn’t matter. To a person in recovery, what matters most is what happens right now. Your life is not a study. It’s a life. Each action has a personal consequence that affects you. Each action likewise impacts the people around you.

Speak With Your Doctor

In recovery, you want the best for yourself. You want to have all the tools in your toolbox. Deprive yourself of nothing that might help you press forward. That said, make certain you assemble a trusted team of advisors. In recovery, you’re battling for your life. But you shouldn’t battle alone. Get counsel from wise people in your path. If you think a CBD product would help your recovery, ask your doctor. CBD might not mix well with some medications. Your doctor will be able to advise you of that. If your doctor does recommend CBD for your recovery, make sure you stick with the CBD isolate. Your doctor might have some particular brands to recommend. They might provide some product lines that they trust.

What If I Want To Use Full-Spectrum CBD?

You’re a thoughtful, thorough person. You’ve done your homework. You know your own mind and what’s good for you. The research indicates that full-spectrum THC helps relieve some of your mental health symptoms. You can quote studies that say so. But what’s your intention? Are you consuming full-spectrum CBD every time you feel stressed? “It’s better than drinking, smoking, or injecting,” you may think. Perhaps it is. But if that’s your reasoning, then you aren’t recovering. You’ve just substituted one substance for another. You’re still leaning on a crutch. You aren’t growing. You aren’t getting better. Whether or not CBD does what it purports isn’t the point. What matters most is what you are doing and why you are doing it. The purpose of recovery isn’t ceasing a certain behavior or exchanging it for another. Recovery involves newness and wholeness. It’s about changing your identity and your choices to make a better life. Therefore, if you’re asking whether or not something is “ok” for recovery, you’re thinking too small. If you must ask, the answer is “no.”

What If I Just Keep It To Myself?

You have an absolute right to privacy. Nobody should infringe on that. But what are you using your privacy for? In recovery, what is the purpose of your right to privacy? If you decide to use CBD, shouldn’t that just be your business? Perhaps the best way to answer these questions is with another question. If something is legitimately helping you recover from substance addiction, why should you conceal it? This is similar to substituting CBD for a different substance. Concealment, evading, secrecy – these tactics indicate that you’re still in bondage to addiction. Cloak-and-dagger behaviors like these prevent you from dealing with the problems beneath addiction.

What’s The Verdict?

In a word, if you’re in recovery then it’s best to avoid CBD. It’s in close proximity to other substances that alter your mood and mind. If you’re genuinely curious about it, speak with your treatment provider. If they opt to include it in your treatment plan, then use it as they direct you. No more, no less. If you need help relaxing, look for substance-free ways to do so. This approach will strengthen your mind, as well as your resolve. It will make you transparent and vulnerable. And that is where authentic wholeness and healing begin.

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