Can CBD Help Opioid Addiction and Aid Recovery?
Can CBD Help Opioid Addiction and Aid in Recovery?
Cannabidiol (CBD) has rocketed into the limelight in recent years as a potential natural treatment for all kinds of ailments, and now, researchers believe it could aid in recovery from the US crisis of opioid addiction.
So, Where Does CBD Come From?
CBD is derived from hemp plants. Hemp is in the same plant family as cannabis but has such low natural THC content (the psychoactive ingredient) that it doesn’t produce a high.
The US Opioid Epidemic
The US is currently struggling with an opioid epidemic, largely due to doctor’s readiness to prescribe prescription painkillers pushed by pharmaceutical companies, instead of first prescribing natural solutions, such as physical manipulation of pain areas with chiropractic and physical therapy, improved lifestyle through diet and exercise, including natural supplements such as CBD.
In 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services declared it a public health crisis, and from 1999 to 2017 the CDC reported that over 700,000 people have died from an opioid overdose, with 10% being in 2017 alone. The number is not yet declining, and the problem of opioid addiction of both legal and illegal drugs has to be tackled.
CBD could be one way to tackle opioid addiction.
How Can CBD Help?
Let’s start with how it works. Cannabidiol (CBD) interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is part of the central nervous system. Endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body, in the skeletal and respiratory systems, as well as in areas of the brain responsible for mental, cognitive and physiological processes.
This is why CBD is so effective in relieving mental and physical symptoms, from anxiety and addiction to arthritis and sports injuries.
This, and plenty of anecdotal evidence from sufferers of mental disorders is what led researchers to consider if CBD could also help manage opioid addiction and aid in recovery.
So, let’s take a look at some of the recent studies that support CBD as a natural solution for opioid addiction, such as heroin and prescription painkillers. A study published in the May 2019 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry took 42 subjects (men and women) who had a history of heroin abuse but weren’t current users.
The scientists split the subjects into two groups; those who would receive an oral CBD solution, and those that were given a placebo. Both groups were then subjected to videos that contained neutral and drug-related cues, the neutral cues included scenes of nature, while the drug-related cues included scenes of intravenous drug use and heroin-related items such as syringes, rubber ties, and packets of powder.
The researchers discovered that those who had taken the CBD solution had reduced drug cue-induced cravings over their placebo-taking counterparts. The lead author of the study, Yasmin Hurd, director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai in New York, said: “Our findings indicate that CBD holds significant promise for treating individuals with heroin use disorder.”
Back in 2013, before CBD reached popularity and shrugged off some of its old stigmas, researchers at the University of Crete in Greece, found that CBD inhibits the reward-facilitating effect of morphine, and before that, a November 2009 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that CBD inhibited cue-induced heroin seeking and normalizes discrete mesolimbic neuronal disturbances – just like the most recent study.
In 2015, researchers from the University of Montreal reviewed 14 different studies to find out if CBD could be used as an intervention for addictive behaviors and found that CBD does indeed have a beneficial impact on opioid and psycho-stimulant addiction, as well as tobacco and even cannabis dependence.
There are numerous other studies which have found similar results.
The Science is Promising
While, of course, research on the effects of CBD needs to catch up with the huge amount of anecdotal evidence provided by sufferers of all kinds of ailments, diseases, and disorders, the evidence is clearly promising.
CBD is now legal in almost all states, and in other countries all over the world, so while the question is “can it really tackle the opioid crisis?”, sufferers of addiction and those who are worried they may not be able to give up their prescription painkillers have absolutely nothing to lose. CBD is an all-natural product, with very few suffering minor side effects (nausea and diarrhea for the unlucky minority), so it is not so much of a case of should you try it, but why not try it?
While CBD isn’t a magic fix-all, and certainly won’t singlehandedly pull the US out of its public health crisis (doctors and big pharma will need to be on-side for that), it looks as though it will help individuals who are suffering from addiction.
Where to Learn More, and Where to Buy
If you are struggling with opioid addiction, or know someone who is, we encourage you to take a look at the studies we spoke about above – we understand that we may seem, understandably, biased, but the science is there for you to see.
If you are struggling with another ailment you believe CBD may be able to help with, you can continue to learn with our articles on CBD for Arthritis, CBD for Depression (with Dosage suggestions), CBD for Skin Conditions, or CBD for Inflammation.
If you want to try CBD for yourself, you can find a wide range online, though of course we recommend our tinctures, salves, and softgels, all of which state the CBD content on the packaging and have lab results you can read directly from the product page. To shop our range, click here.
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*You should always contact your Dr if you are already taking medications and shouldn't stop taking medications without discussing with your Dr first. The FDA has not approved hemp or CBD for any medical purposes, and LivKind makes no medical claims about CBD or our products.