According to a study conducted by the Departments of Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai — CBD, a non-psychoactive constituent in cannabis — may be an effective treatment option for people addicted to heroin or prescription opioids.
Other approved medications including methadone, buphrenorphine, and naltrexone can be effective in treating opioid addiction, but are expensive, potentially toxic in high doses and can also carry significant adverse side-effects and other risks, whereas CBD appears to carry few side-effects and low (to non-existent) toxicity.
Stages of Opioid Addiction
- Early abstinence
- CBD has limited abuse potential and can inhibit drug seeking behavior
- CBD carries minimal side-effects
- CBD may act as an anti-depressant
- CBD has a low capacity to potentiate the rewarding effects of other addictive drugs
- The effects of CBD were prolonged, often lasting two or more weeks
Reducing Likelihood of a Relapse:
- Findings suggest potential therapeutic efficacy of CBD to reduce negative states in opioid-dependent individuals, which may reduce the likelihood of a relapse
- Reducing cue-induced cravings
- Reducing cue-induced anxiety
Alleviates Withdrawal Symptoms:
- CBD appears to alleviate withdrawal symptoms including:
- Sleep disturbances
- Wet shakes
CBD Reduces Common Psychiatric and Medical Symptoms:
CBD reduces psychiatric and medical symptoms that opioid addicts often have:
- Mood symptoms
- Perhaps, even anti-psychosis
CBD Has Unique Properties Among Currently Accepted Opioid Treatments:
Unique to CBD among opioid treatments is that CBD could impact the course of heroin dependence following a potential lapse condition after a period of abstinence. This particular property is a benefit that is not found in other medications used to treat heroin abuse.
Most medications for opioid abuse directly target the endogenous opioid system. CBD could thus offer a novel line of research medication that indirectly regulate neural systems modulating opioid-related behavior, thus helping to reduce side effects normally associated with current opioid substitution treatment strategies.”
As more research efforts are directed towards cannabinoids, we will soon be able to understand how best to leverage the potentially beneficial properties of cannabinoids to develop more targeted treatment interventions.
This positive news begs the question, why isn’t CBD part of the national discussion on opioid abuse?