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CBD, a chemical in the cannabis plant, has long been touted as a treatment for cocaine addiction. But researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center found that it doesn't lessen addicts' craving for cocaine or reduce their risk of relapse.
Their clinical trial included 78 people with cocaine addiction (average age: 46), who were randomly divided into two groups. One group received 800 mg a day of cannabidiol, the other, a placebo.
After 10 days in the hospital to detox, participants were sent home. They received weekly assessments for the next three months.
"In our study, the use of CBD was not more effective than a placebo in treating cocaine use disorder," said study author Violaine Mongeau-Pérusse, a doctoral student at the research center.
"Although it is safe and produces only mild side effects, CBD reduces neither the craving to use cocaine nor the risk of a user's relapse after detoxification," she explained in a hospital news release.
The study was recently published in the journal Addiction.
Researchers suggested their findings could be used to help develop medical guidelines on therapeutic use of CBD. Its popularity has been growing in many countries.
In North America, close to 5.5 million people use cocaine regularly, and nearly 1 in 5 becomes addicted. Experts estimate that there are more 19 million cocaine users worldwide.
SOURCE: University of Montreal Hospital Research Center, news release, Jan. 27, 2021
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