CBD for Opioid Addiction and Withdrawal
With opioid related deaths being at epidemic levels – with almost 50,000 deaths annually it is a huge problem which is not being adequately addressed. Currently the standard treatments are mainly agonist treatments which are themselves addictive and as such many suffering from opioid addiction are reluctant to try e.g. methadone or suboxone.
Our article on the potential of cannabis use in opioids (click here) – mainly focuses on cannabis the plant and specifically THC – the most prevalent and well known psychoactive component. In fact there is good data supporting both the scientific viability of cannabis in providing pain relief and reducing the opioid requirements of the individual as well as epidemiological data supporting the fact that increased access to legal cannabis reduces opioid usage, overdoses and deaths.
But this potential benefit of cannabis and much of the research has been focused on THC. There are in fact over 140 known cannabinoids from the cannabis plant and over 500 active components. The second best known cannabinoid is cannabidiol – better known as CBD and is the subject of this article.
If CBD helps opioid addiction ….
…It’s a BIG deal. CBD is particularly interesting because of the fact that it is
- non-addictive (CBD shows no signs of dependence or withdrawal symptoms – unlike THC which is potentially addictive).
- non-psychoactive (doesn’t get you high – or impair driving)
- federally legal in the US (and increasingly so globally)
CBD was made federally legal in 2018 through the Farm Bill and the availability of CBD has grown into a massive industry. Animal studies suggest that CBD might be beneficial for some health indications, such as pain and anxiety so we will look at the animal s
In this article we focus on CBD which is particularly interesting because of the fact that it is non-addictive and does not have a psychoactive component.
A study published in May 2019 in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that the administration of CBD in abstinent opiate users reduced craving, anxiety and secondary measures such as heart rate and temperatures in those receiving CBD vs placebo when the participants were exposed to cues.
Additionally the effects of 3 days of CBD were found to still be significant 7 days later.
More research is required to see the longer term affects of continued administration of CBD in delivering long-term results in those using opioids in terms of decreasing usage and/or abstinence. Research is also required to see if CBD can be part of reducing withdrawal symptoms in those reducing usage in opioid use disorder.