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March 06, 2020 6 min read
Used already by 1 out of every 7 adults in the US, CBD has seen quite the trend of popularity lately. The reasons people are taking CBD oil have a wild range, from relieving symptoms of anxiety and certain types of pain to reducing inflammation and even helping users achieve a most restful sleep. Other purposes include using CBD to quit another substance, from smoking nicotine to prescriptions painkillers and opioids.
It's opioids, specifically, that we'll be talking about. CBD may be the most effective weapon against the opioid epidemeic and opioid addiction yet. Today, we'll be look over how CBD could act as a treatment against opioid addiction, and why it may be the best alternative to other methods to date.
Let's dive into our guide to answer the important question: can CBD help overcome opioid addiction?
There's debate within the CBD community as to whether the cannabinoid could act as a treatment against opioid overuse. However, some researchers report that it might seriously help curb the cravings that come with addiction.
We've touched in depth on what CBD is and how it's derived from the hemp side of the cannabis plant family, so there's no need to go over it again here. As a quick summary, though, CBD is an abundant and potentially beneficial cannabinoid found in hemp that doesn't produce the mind-altering high that THC does. It's this important difference that makes CBD a proponent against prescription painkiller addiction.
Researchers that wanted to dive into this subject and garner tangible results gathered participants for a study. The study consisted of 42 women and men that each had a known history of heroin abuse. Though this was only regarding heroin abuse, heroin is still considered an illegal opioid. There are legal opioids as well in the form of prescription pain medicine like OxyContin (known as oxycodone), though misuse of the substance is still illegal.
Each participant was given either an inactive placebo or an oral CBD solution. They were all shown videos that had both drug-related triggers and neutral or relaxation-inducing cues. The neutral cues included this line scenes of nature that were considered relaxing. The drug-related triggers, on the other hand, included scenes of packets of powder, rubber ties, syringes, and other heroin-related items, as well as scenes of IV drug use.
Compared to the placebo, researchers found that the participants were given the oral CBD solution had a reductions in the cue-induced opioid cravings. It also reduced anxiety regarding those scenes. One of the authors of the study, Yasmin Hurd, reported that their findings indicate a strong potential in CBD treating individuals that suffer from heroin use disorder.
In a Mount Sinai news release, Hurd reports, "A successful non-opioid medication would add significantly to the existing addiction medication toolbox to help reduce the growing death toll, enormous healthcare costs, and treatment limitations imposed by stringent government regulations amid this persistent opioid epidemic."
As the United States faces 130 deaths daily from some type of opioid overdose, any potential addition in our arsenal against the epidemic is a welcome sight. The fact that CBD oil might pair well with treatment drugs or act as a treatment on its own depending on the person shows overwhelming progress towards the cannabinoid.
Since the opioid epidemic truly took hold on the US, more than 300,000 lives have been lost. There are currently two addiction treatments centered on opioid use: burprenorphine and methadone. Both of these drugs work on the same receptors in the brain that heroin and other opioids work on.
Unfortunately, both burprenorphine and methadone carry a weighted, negative stigma. On top of being tightly regulated as opioids itself, the drugs also have their own potential addiction risk. For millions of Americans, they find themselves unable to use the opioid treatment drugs for fear of the stigma, lack of access, or a combination of other reasons.
It's easy to see why there's such an urgent need to find other treatment options.
Hurd and her team are now in the process of two different follow-up studies. The first is to examine how CBD affects the brain so that we might further understand how CBD could help treat addiction. The second is based around the development of opioid addiction treatments that are CBD-based. These studies could provide the evidence the world needs to pushed CBD further into the spotlight for addiction treatment and even prevention.
A separate study look at CBD's ability to reduce cravings for heroin in both rats and humans. The biggest point of evidence found from the study was it brought to light CBD's few minor side effects. Compared to side effects often experienced from opioids and current opioid treatment drugs, the minor side effects felt from CBD make it a highly attractive option when looking to treat opioid addiction.
The next question is: how?
If CBD reduces cravings for heroin use in those with a past history of abuse, how does it succeed with this process? Broken down, researcher think CBD might modify the way damaged cells within the brain interact with each other. By changing the way brain cells communicate with each other, it appears CBD might have the therapeutic properties responsible for lessening addiction cravings.
Though we do only have a limited number of pre-clinical studies and little evidence to support CBD as an addiction treatment conclusively, the potential is clear. Not only for opioid addiction, but some researchers believe that CBD might even help with psycho-stimulant and cocaine addiction, as well.
The CBD industry and CBD's beneficial potential is still very new. As a result, there a list of things to keep in mind if you're considering CBD as a treatment option for opioid addiction.
First, there are a wide range of addiction treatment options and programs besides the two drugs that are most common and CBD. Usually a combination of these treatment options build a custom program that someone can achieve a genuine treatment with. Between medication-assisted treatment, counseling and behavioral therapies, alternative therapies, and support groups, many of these programs can build a customized treatment plan for each individual patient.
It's an important disclaimer for us to add that CBD should not replace any current customized treatment plan. Instead, speak with a medical professional about the likelihood and potential of incorporating CBD into the current plan, allowing you to still receive all necessary support you need, and then some.
CBD is not an approved treatment or cure for any condition related to addiction. The information we've provided in this guide is based on data gathered from the studies available on the subject so far. In addition, this is what CBD users and individuals have reported experiencing, providing anecdotal evidence for you to decide for yourself while giving you a new perspective on the topic at hand.
Furthermore, not all CBD is equal. Pay close attention to the CBD brand you shop with and types of products they provide. You should choose a reputable brand, such as Envy CBD, that's both upfront and honest about what's in each product, with Certificate of Analysis reports to substantiate claims. Choosing a brand based on price or empty promises may lead to a CBD product that's not only low-quality, but potentially unsafe.
CBD from hemp could help some people truly wean off addictive painkiller prescriptions and other types of opioids. While everyone is different so everyone’s treatment plan should be customized to their individual needs, CBD is worth considering.
Whether you incorporate it into your current treatment plan or consult with a medical professional about making the eventual switch to just CBD, the potential for what it could do is there. We can’t wait to see results from further studies and more reports from people’s real life experiences as they take full advantage of CBD and what it has to offer.
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