Cannabidiol – CBD oil – tested as a means to fight drug addiction in a Victorian trial


The effects of cannabis oil on marijuana users and its potential for treating addiction will be the subject of a 12-week trial in regional Victoria.

Goulburn Valley Alcohol and Drug Service researchers are looking for local volunteers to participate in the study, which will examine the possible benefits of cannabidiol, or CBD, which is a chemical found in the cannabis plant.

CBD can make people drowsy and affect electrical signals in the brain, but unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is also found in cannabis, it won’t get people high.

“It means it’s safe to drive and doesn’t interfere with the ability to operate machinery and that sort of thing,” said Shepparton-based teacher and test leader Edward Ogden.

Research is still being done on how CBD can be used for medical purposes, but it is believed to help with anxiety and chronic pain.

In the United States, specific cannabis-derived drugs have been developed for the treatment of childhood epilepsy syndromes.

Medicinal cannabis is a growing industry in Australia, with farms like this one in Toowoomba set to supply domestic and overseas markets.(Supplied: Australian Natural Therapeutics Group)

In 2021, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) authorized the sale of over-the-counter low-dose CBD preparations in Australian pharmacies.

But although the products are common elsewhere, no CBD-containing product has so far been approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Registry.

Dr. Ogden thought it was a good time to learn more about what CBD could do.

“We have a number of people approaching the Goulburn Valley service looking for help with cannabis use,” he said.

A man with glasses smiles, standing in front of a shelf.
Professor Edward Ogden is a specialist in addiction medicine.(Provided)

“People use drugs for a reason”

Dr. Ogden said that marijuana contains around 2-3% THC, but that has changed.

“The type of material available now, especially some of the genetically bred and hydroponically grown material, can contain up to 20 or even a higher percentage of THC, so it’s much more potent,” he said. .

This argument has been used by advocates of marijuana legalization, claiming that more regulation would allow people to know the strength of what they were consuming.

Dr. Ogden said some people trying to cut back on their marijuana use have reported difficulty sleeping and mood swings.

He hoped that CBD oil could be used to help better manage these symptoms.

“People use drugs for a reason,” Dr. Ogden said.

“I mean, the drugs do something for them – at least when they start – and they can become physically or psychologically dependent on whatever substance it is.

“That’s really the key to what you do in addiction medicine…look at what the substance does for that person.

Two large marijuana buds sitting in a person's hand.
People who try to cut back on their marijuana use have reported difficulty sleeping and mood swings.(Provided)

The CBD oil trial is already underway, with about half of the places filled so far and a lot of interest in the remaining positions.

After an intake interview and testing, participants are given capsules from a compounding pharmacy – either inert oil, low dose CBD or high dose CBD.

They then go to the service once a month to answer a few questions.

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