Could CBD Solve the Opioid Crisis?
CBD has been shown to help with a wide variety of issues, from epilepsy to anxiety. Now, new research suggests that it might also be helpful in treating addiction.
The study included 42 men and women who were addicted to heroin. The participants were not currently using the drug but were still experiencing cravings. CBD was given to the group, and researchers found that those who received CBD experienced a decrease in their cravings.
While more research is needed, this study provides promising evidence that CBD could be an effective treatment for addiction. CBD does not produce the high that is associated with marijuana, making it a potentially safer option for those struggling with addiction. If further research confirms these findings, CBD could play a major role in solving the opioid crisis.
Participants in the study received either an oral CBD solution or a placebo and then watched films with neutral and drug-related content. Neutral circumstances included images of nature, while drug-related situations included images of IV drug use and heroin-related things like syringes, rubber ties, and packets of powder.
CBD reduced drug cue-induced craving and anxiety, according to the researchers. “Our findings suggest that CBD has a lot of potential for treating those with heroin use disorder,” said first author Yasmin Hurd from Mount Sinai in New York City.
“A successful non-opioid pain treatment would greatly add to the existing addiction medication toolbox, helping to reduce the rising death toll, enormous health care expenditures, and treatment restrictions imposed by onerous government rules during this chronic opioid epidemic,” she emphasized in a Mount Sinai press release.
The United States is currently experiencing a drug abuse epidemic that has claimed more than 300,000 lives since it began. Methadone and buprenorphine are two current opioid addiction therapies that target the same opioid receptors as heroin and other opioids.
Because of their drawbacks, these therapies have a stigma, pose their own addiction risk, and are strictly controlled; millions of Americans with opioid dependence will not utilize them, according to the study’s authors.
This is why there’s a pressing need to explore additional therapies, the researchers said.
The report was published May 21 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Hurd’s research to determine how CBD affects the brain is now underway. A second study, which will examine how CBD influences the brain, and a third study to examine how CBD may be used in addiction treatment are also planned.