Medical Research

Can CBD help with Detoxification?

Written by Robert Hammell

The medical benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) seem to be growing by the day. There is ample evidence of anti-inflammatory and antianxiety effects, but a new benefit is quickly emerging: detoxification.[1] Multiple studies have examined the use of CBD as a detoxifying agent, and the results are promising.


Helping to Quit Smoking

Quitting cigarettes can be difficult, and there is no single effective strategy in doing so. Some can manage withdrawal symptoms, while others rely on nicotine gum or patches to ween off of nicotine. Nevertheless a study showed that 800 mg of CBD can help relieve the cravings of cigarette smokers more effectively compared to a placebo. [2] This is a common quitting method known as the replacement method, but the results are more promising than in the past. [3] Often, individuals employing the replacement method find another substance that is equally or more harmful to replace the cravings. As CBD has no psychoactive effects, it has the potential to limit habit-forming behavior while effectively reducing nicotine cravings.


Using CBD for Opioid Detoxification

Over the last several decades, opioid use has steadily risen to the point where it can be classified as an epidemic. [4] While this is a complicated issue, involving legal loopholes, profit motives of pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers, and the deaths of millions of Americans, a bigger issue remains. The best way to treat the patients recovering from opioid addiction is still unknown, but in one study published by the Journal of American Psychology, CBD showed signs of relieving cravings and anxiety in opioid addicts. [4] The study argues that these are two of the main sources of relapse, and may help fight opioid addiction. Similar to nicotine addicts, this may also serve as an effective replacement strategy.


Prospects for the Future

While these studies are promising, they are not conclusive. Relieving anxiety and physical pain can be helpful in terms of detoxification, but that may be as far as CBD goes. Addiction to any substance is complicated, and varies from individual to individual. CBD may help to increase detox effectiveness, but more research is needed.



[1] White, C. M. (2019, February 7). A Review of Human Studies Assessing Cannabidiol’s (CBD) Therapeutic Actions and Potential. The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 59(7), 923–934. [Journal impact factor = 2.812] [Times cited = 171 ]


[2] D Balfour, N Benowitz, K Fagerström, M Kunze, U Keil, Diagnosis and treatment of nicotine dependence with emphasis on nicotine replacement therapy. A status report, European Heart Journal, Volume 21, Issue 6, 1 March 2000, Pages 438–445, [Journal impact factor = 29.983] [Times cited = 145]


[3] King, N. B., Fraser, V., Boikos, C., Richardson, R., & Harper, S. (2014, August). Determinants of Increased Opioid-Related Mortality in the United States and Canada, 1990–2013: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Public Health, 104(8), e32–e42. [Journal impact factor = 9.308] [Times cited = 327]


[4] Hurd, Y. L., Spriggs, S., Alishayev, J., Winkel, G., Gurgov, K., Kudrich, C., Oprescu, A. M., & Salsitz, E. (2019, November 1). Cannabidiol for the Reduction of Cue-Induced Craving and Anxiety in Drug-Abstinent Individuals With Heroin Use Disorder: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. American Journal of Psychiatry, 176(11), 911–922. [Journal impact factor = 19.242] [Times cited = 192]



About the author

Robert Hammell