Table of Contents
The Opioid Epidemic
Currently, the opioid epidemic is one of the worst crises facing America today. There are more than twenty million people in the United States with a substance abuse disorder. The coronavirus pandemic has only worsened these circumstances, as many have been left in the lock down, laid off, or overcome with uncertainty and fear with the future holds.
Experts around the country have seen the warning signs of relapses, rising overdose numbers, and a variety of other reasons to worry about the current opioid epidemic. There are many factors which can lead to opioid users to start using again or start using in the first place. Anxiety, grief, isolation, financial worries, and changes in work and home life can all directly to the sense of hopelessness. When these feelings become to unbearable, individuals fall back on their drug habits to relax and take their minds off of their circumstances. However, opioids are easily abused, and now more than ever, patients are skipping the emergency room and going straight to the morgue.
Current Pandemic’s Effect on the Epidemic
Many individuals who are suffering from this addiction do whatever they can to stay clean, but their hopes and resources are dwindling with each passing day of the pandemic. Sometimes, one of the most dangerous factors for a drug addict is simply the passage of time. The pandemic is having more than an indirect effect on drug users, too. Some experts have estimated that overdose cases have risen an incredible ten-fold. Many centers for addiction and emergency treatment are up to sixty cases a month, a drastic rise since before the pandemic started.
Experts assume this number has risen so sharply because of the time between uses, or the potency increases in drugs since the lockdowns were first initiated. Those who have gone without their “fix” for a few months underestimate what dosage they can handle, and how strong the drug is to begin with. The situation is indeed dire, but it’s not hopeless. There are have been a number of studies on the use of CBD to curb drug addiction, and the initial results are promising.
CBD and the Pandemic
The study was done in 2013 on rats, testing the ability of the health supplement to halt the areas of the brain which chase highs by rewarding the body with dopamine. While low doses of CBD were not enough to stop the signs of addiction, increasing the CBD dosages made the rats less prone to feel rewarded by morphine, the drug administered to encourage addiction. These results indicate that CBD and its variants may be a useful tool in treating patients with addictions, including addictions to substances like opioids.
More recently, a study was done by the American Journal of Psychiatry. This study was done to test the effects of CBD on men with heroin addictions. The men were split into three groups and given either 800mg of CBD, 400mg of CBD, or a placebo. Those participants given CBD reported fewer and less intense cravings than those who were given the placebo, further bolstering evidence of CBD’s effectiveness in treating addiction of all different types. In addition to these studies, research as been done into the effects of CBD on those who recently quit smoking and found to be effective in treating withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
America is in the midst of a public health crisis. Opioids have taken over the lives of millions, but there is certainly still hope to stem the tide of the horrid effects of opioid addiction. CBD can help lead America out of the opioid crisis by treating patients with symptoms of addiction, decreasing their pain, and leading them to a road of recovery and hope.
American Medical Association
Association of American Medical Colleges
Recovery Research institute
National Center for Biotechnology Information
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