Over the last couple of years, there has been a genuine interest in whether CBD, a cannabis compound, may be beneficial to your health and overall wellbeing. There has been evidence that it can help in stress, pain, seizures, anxiety, and even arthritis.
But can you utilize CBD for opiate addiction? Can it help you reduce your dependence on opioids and, what does the science have to say about this?
But First, What Are Opioids?
Opioids include; synthetic opioids, prescription painkillers, and the illegal drug heroin.
Opioids can be prescribed medication that is; utilized in relieving both acute and chronic pain. Some of these prescription opioids are morphine, fentanyl, and codeine.
The similarity between heroin and prescription opioids is that they produce a high, can be abused, and lead to addiction or dependence.
Opioids are currently the main driver of drug overdose deaths in the United States. It has unfortunately led to the opioid epidemic. They are involved in more than 60 percent of all overdose deaths.
Hence nearly 70,000 people in the United States; died of opioid-related overdoses in 2020, the highest annual toll on record.
Therefore opioids are dangerous drugs. Most opioid users have; developed a dependence on the drug; hence they cannot function without using it.
So if you stop taking opioids, you will experience withdrawal symptoms that might lead to a relapse. They can appear within 24 hours after stopping using opioids. And some of these withdrawal signs and symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Body aches
- Racing heart
- Breathing rapidly
- Runny nose and teary eyes
What the Science Says on CBD for Opiate Addiction
There is limited research on using CBD to help with opiate addiction. But the available scientific evidence looks promising. But it is not intended to; show that CBD products treat such an addiction.
The FDA-approved way to deal with opiate addiction and withdrawal symptoms are methadone and buprenorphine which, are; opioids. They reduce your desire to use and crave the problem drugs.
A 2019 study involved patients who had a history of heroin and opioid use but were not using methadone or buprenorphine. They had 42 adults who were; divided into three groups.
One group was; given 800 milligrams of CBD, another 400 milligrams of CBD, and another a placebo. They were dosed once daily for three (3) consecutive days and followed; over the next two (2) weeks.
The CBD utilized in this study was Epidiolex which is the first FDA-approved cannabidiol drug.
During those two (2) weeks, they were; shown images or videos of drug use and heroin-related paraphernalia. They were; then asked to rate their craving for heroin and their levels of anxiety.
The results showed that those who had; been given CBD had a two- to a three-fold reduction in cravings relative to the placebo group.
CBD manages the anxiety and cue/craving cycle. It also diminishes the original pain and inflammation that leads to opiate use in the first place.
Hence the researchers of this study believe that CBD could serve as an effective over-the-counter method of; treatment for people experiencing opioid withdrawal symptoms.
A 2015 study showed that CBD administration did not alter heroin self-administration but inhibited cue-induced heroin-seeking behavior. So CBD’s effects were prolonged, lasting two or more weeks after administration.
Moreover, even when administered during active heroin intake, the ability of CBD to inhibit relapse behavior was still apparent weeks after the last exposure, suggesting that CBD could impact the course of heroin dependence.
There is promising proof that CBD for opiate addiction may be a viable option in the future in helping with withdrawal symptoms plus reducing the urge to use opioids.
And despite the available science and research, CBD does not treat opiate addiction. Evidence suggests that it can help on your road to recovery. Therefore do not stop taking the medication you have been; prescribed.
But when choosing a CBD product to utilize, always consult with your doctor/physician. Also, remember that CBD products, excluding Epidiolex, are unregulated; therefore, be vigilant to avoid fake products.