Opioid addiction is a huge problem in the US. Not only does it cost the taxpayer millions of dollars a year, but the people suffering from addiction are putting their lives at risk every time they satisfy a withdrawal.
But there are signs that a particular product, namely CBD oil, may be able to help these people overcome their problem once and for all. If enough evidence is collected in the coming years, it might not take long until CBD oil becomes a recommended treatment option.
If you’re unfamiliar with CBD oil, its benefits and why it could help, here’s how CBD oil can be used to treat opioid addiction:
Difference between CBD & THC
The marijuana plant has two major compounds present: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While they are made in the same plant, they affect the human body in different ways.
THC is a psychoactive compound and is responsible for producing a high once ingested. On the other hand, CBD is a nonintoxicating compound, so ingesting it does not produce a high.
THC has been linked with most of the negative side effects felt from using marijuana products, such as impaired memory and hallucinations. However, in the case of CBD, researchers have found that it offers many health benefits such as pain relief, reducing the effects of anxiety and PTSD, among others. It’s worth noting though that a lot of research is still needed.
Cravings & addiction
Physiological cravings that come along with addiction, including memory cues and environmental triggers specific to each individual patient, can lead to a potential relapse and further use of the drug.
Therefore, effective treatments must be able to factor behavioral health into account and help them learn to cope with the stress of not having the substance in their system.
There are also environmental triggers to address. These are different from physiological cravings as they are triggered by external cues, as opposed to internal cues, causing the person with a history of drug abuse to feel stress and anxiety, leading to a relapse in their recovery.
So, with all this in mind, there has been an interesting development in the medical world and CBD oil might just be the answer doctors have been looking for.
CBD oil & Opioid addiction
A recent study by Hurd et. al, published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, looked at how CBD can reduce the cravings and anxiety associated with opioid abuse in order to reduce the possibility of relapse and overdose.
It found that CBD could be the key to helping patients overcome some of the environmental cues by reducing their heart rates and regulating the levels of stress hormones triggered when they come into contact with certain sights, sounds and other people around them.
The official objective of the study was as follows:
“Despite the staggering consequences of the opioid epidemic, limited nonopioid medication options have been developed to treat this medical and public health crisis. This study investigated the potential of cannabidiol (CBD), a nonintoxicating phytocannabinoid, to reduce cue-induced craving and anxiety, two critical features of addiction that often contribute to relapse and continued drug use, in drug-abstinent individuals with heroin use disorder.”
And here is what they concluded:
“CBD’s potential to reduce cue-induced craving and anxiety provides a strong basis for further investigation of this phytocannabinoid as a treatment option for opioid use disorder.”
What does this mean for CBD & Opioid addiction?
The main takeaway is clear: CBD oil and other CBD products have the potential to treat people that have problems with opioid abuse.
This presents some big opportunities for many different sectors. For example, CBD businesses can experience large growth as the demand for their products would increase. The same can also be said for pharma companies producing their own CBD-based products.
Further, if those with an opioid addiction problem start using CBD to control their urges, they will spend less time at a hospital or emergency room, paving the way for these medical practices to have time to treat other people with serious problems. In a way, everybody wins.
How to use CBD
There are a few ways to take CBD.
According to this source, the fastest way to get CBD into your system is through vaping. This is because the CBD is taken straight to the lungs for absorption into the bloodstream. Within seconds, patients will be able to feel the effects
For people developing a new craving, this instant relief will be a timely welcome indeed.
CBD Kyro also states that tinctures and CBD oil are other popular ways to take CBD. These methods involve the digestive system so it takes a little longer to feel the effects. However, they will last longer compared to the vaping solution.
Topical CBD products are available too and they come in the form of creams etc.. All you need to do is apply them directly to the skin. However, topicals are better suited for other conditions like inflammation and treating pain relief rather than opioid addiction.
The future of treatment
Opioid abuse claims thousands of lives every year, so there has never been a better time to figure out a way to prevent people from relapsing.
The current options (methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone) only focus on treating the physical attributes associated with the urges and cravings caused by opioids. They seem to neglect the importance of a person’s environment. These options may also not work for everyone, so in some ways, the number of people that would benefit are limited at best.
However, with CBD showing potential, it may be able to plug these gaps. As shown by the aforementioned study, CBD could help people reduce cravings and anxiety caused by opioid addiction, preventing them from overdosing.
While it’s still early days (and more research is needed of course), the promising results of this one study suggest that pharma and medical companies should start focusing on CBD-based treatment options to help treat opioid disorders.