Most claims about CBD involve relief from pain, anxiety, arthritis and inflammation. The only medical indication that CBD has been proven to help treat in humans is seizures linked to pediatric epilepsy. NOW, there is research suggesting that CBD can curb cravings in people with opioid dependence. According to The Conversation, one of the first double-blind controlled trials shows the benefit of using CBD aside from treating epilepsy. Today, we are seeing progress in proving cannabidiol’s power in helping fight the war against opioid addiction, one that causes over 130 million American overdose deaths a day.
Broadly defined by the American Psychiatric Association as “a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence,” addiction takes over and alters the way the brain processes information.
We often think of addiction in terms of the pursuit of the “high” associated with using drugs. But here’s the thing: most addicts continue to use, or relapse when attempting to quit. Why? The negative effects of drug withdrawal become too much to handle. Symptoms range from mild to severe cases of anxiety, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heartbeat and abdominal cramps. It is common for an individual experiencing withdrawal from opioids to take opioids to alleviate the inescapable anxiety. This repeated behavior is called a feed-forward loop of dependence on an abused drug.
How Does CBD Factor In?
A 2015 report of a small double-blind study conducted in opioid-dependent individuals unveiled that a single administration of CBD, in comparison to a placebo, decreased cue-induced cravings of opioids and levels of anxiety. Most recently, a double-blind placebo-controlled study published on May 21, 2019 supported this finding. It concluded that the FDA-approved Epidiolex, now used for epilepsy, and whose active ingredient is cannabidiol, can reduce cue-induced cravings in individuals that had been heroin users in the past. Epidiolex even reduced reports of anxiety and blood levels of cortisol, the hormone known to increase when someone is under pressure and conditions of stress.
While more studies must be conducted and more conclusions need to be made, CBD’s proven effectiveness and potential to help people trying to leave behind their substance abuse is promising, to say the least.