According to new preclinical research by Scripps Research Institute, CBD could be used to reduce the risk of relapse among recovering cocaine and alcohol addicts, Science Daily reports. The study on rats with a history of voluntary daily alcohol and cocaine self-administration found that CBD reduced relapse induced by stress and drug cues, and anxiety and impulsivity in the drug-addicted rats.

The researchers applied a CBD-infused gel to the rats’ skin once per day for a week and found that five months later the rats still showed reduced relapse by drug or stress cues. Moreover, the researchers found that the CBD was completely cleared from the brain and the rats’ plasma three days after the therapy was completed.

Friedbert Weiss, head of the investigative team, said the study “predicts therapeutic potential for addiction treatment across several classes of abused drugs,” including heroin.

“The results provide proof of principle supporting the potential of CBD in relapse prevention along two dimensions: beneficial actions across several vulnerability states, and long-lasting effects with only brief treatment. Drug addicts enter relapse vulnerability states for multiple reasons. Therefore, effects such as these observed with CBD that concurrently ameliorate several of these are likely to be more effective in preventing relapse than treatments targeting only a single state.” – Weiss in a statement

The study was published in Springer Nature’s Neuropsychopharmacology.

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