Can cannabidiol (CBD) help overcome opioid addiction? Cannabinoids found in cannabis, such as CBD, have proven beneficial in helping cope with acute opioid withdrawals, according to studies.
The Opioid Crisis in the USA
In much of America, citizens are shocked to realize that the opioid epidemic has reached staggering proportions, because of the misuse of prescription narcotics that have been overprescribed for chronic pain. From 1999 to 2010, the use of pharmaceutical opioids tripled reports the respected U.S. CDC. Unfortunately, the huge amount of deaths attributed to pain killers also quadrupled from 2000 to 2014. The shocking statistics show that physicians across the USA prescribed enough narcotics to supply every single American in the nation with 5 mg of hydrocodone at a rate of every four hours for one month. Law enforcement along the borders of much of Mexico and even Canada have noticed and even reported that the illegal influx of heroin and fentanyl has escalated.
Cannabis to Treat OUD
The United States agency FDA has approved a few iffy methods and maintenance drugs that focus on reducing the extreme symptoms of opioid addict withdrawal. They are also supposed to promote relapse prevention. Sadly, the medications are often not safe and carry a few very unsavory risks, and they rarely work for every addict. Also, the supply of primary drug aids such as the classic and traditional methadone or even the more modern buprenorphine have been depleted due to supply and demand dilemmas. Rehab facilities have stated that the once common drugs are now difficult to get and shockingly pricy. Emerging research shows that marijuana is a key player significant in ameliorating the power of OUD.
CBD’s benefits have become the talk of the medical community. They function as:
- Ideal pain reliever
- Eases withdrawal symptoms caused by narcotics
- Helps break the cycle of use (relapse prevention)
The Body’s Endocannabinoid System
The human body’s endocannabinoid system comprises two receptors CB1 and CB2. Both receptors respond well to cannabinoids. The CB1 receptors are also the golden key in narcotic addiction and believed to supply the user with a feeling of satisfaction and reward which fuels and promotes the addiction. The ability of cannabinoids to positively react and boost the CB1 and CB2 receptors is believed to help tone down the withdrawals and prevent relapse. When cannabis is used after the withdrawal symptoms subside, the cannabinoids curb future drug-seeking behavior. Also, CBD’s great curative potential shows it inhibits opioid cravings after detoxification protocol.
CBD and Analgesic Uses
The majority of individuals who become hooked on prescription pain killers are trying to seek some form of relief from chronic pain. CBD acts as a natural analgesic which reduces inflammation and, ultimately, can serve as a viable replacement for people addicted to opium-based substances.
Cannabis as a Withdrawal Aid
Overcoming the withdrawal discomfort and extreme, mind-altering pain of opioid misuse is agonizing. Researchers are continuing to study the exact way that cannabinoids help people trying to make it through the withdrawal phase because the body’s chemical reactions are remarkably diverse. Patients who use medication-assisted detox protocol can successfully combine the medical MJ with the maintenance doses of the detoxifying medications to curb the withdrawals and the cravings. Studies show that cannabinoids are handled well when co-administered with standard opioid withdrawal drugs. Pain and muscle spasticity become somewhat bearable.
The potential of cannabis cannabinoids such as CBD to not only bring much-needed relief from OUD but also lower the need to re-use appears undeniable. Although cannabis remains a Schedule 1 drug according to the U.S. federal government, the use of hemp-derived CBD has now gained nationwide approval. Many specialized and private treatment centers are now turning to marijuana and CBD as a useful part of their OUD treatment protocol. In certain states where medical marijuana has been legalized, such as New Jersey, the whole plant has been categorized as a viable treatment and popular treatment choice for OUD. In fact, opioid addiction was even added to the NJ state’s medical cannabis program roster of acceptable conditions.