Promising Studies on How CBD Can Help Kick Opioid Addictions and More
The growing availability of the cannabis plant across America has led to the funding of several studies that show promising evidence of the link between CBD products and treating various types of addiction. Here’s a look at the results of a few recent studies and what these means for the future of addiction treatment.
CBD and Opioids
America is undergoing one of the most serious opioid crises in history. Millions of people develop a disorder or misuse prescription opioids each year. Nearly 50,000 people died from an opioid overdose in 2017 alone. The newest generation has seen an uptick in infants addicted to opioids due to misuse or abuse during pregnancy.
A study conducted in 2013 tested the effect of CBD in halting the brain’s reward-facilitating effect of morphine in rats. It showed that while low doses of CBD did not quell signs of addiction, higher doses made it more difficult for the animals to feel physiologically rewarded by the morphine. This indicates that CBD may be useful in treating patients or people with addictions and, in effect, aid in reducing opioid addictions.
A more recent study by the American Journal of Psychiatry tested the effects of CBD on 42 men with heroin addictions who were not currently taking treatments, like methadone or buprenorphine. Participants were split into 3 control groups. One received 800 mg of CBD, the second 400 mg, and the final a placebo. Evidence concluded that the groups that had taken CBD reported less cravings and anxiety and had fewer physical symptoms than the placebo group.
CBD and Other Substances
Approximately half of smokers will attempt to kick their addiction in any given year, while only 6% of them will succeed. Current treatment includes nicotine replacement therapies, like patches, gum, and lozenges, as well as prescription medications that tend to be expensive and have side effects that turn many smokers away. Furthermore, quitting leads to withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, depression, weight gain, headaches, difficulty concentrating, drowsiness, insomnia, and more.
Preliminary findings from a 2013 study show that CBD may also be effective in treating tobacco and cigarette addictions. 12 smokers were given a CBD inhaler, while 12 were given a placebo. Those who were treated with CBD reduced the number of cigarettes they smoked in a week by 40%, while those who took the placebo showed no difference.
In 2014, a study by Canadian researchers compiled evidence from patients taking medical cannabis. They found that 63% of patients self-reporting using cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs, particularly pharmaceutical opioids, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco, and illicit drugs.
CBD and Relapses
People who suffer from addiction disorders find it difficult to avoid the impulses and compulsive behavior that leads to substance abuse. Those that suffer experience increased susceptibility to stress, anxiety, and poor impulse control.
Researchers Friedbert Weiss and Gustavo Gonzalez-Cuevas from the Scripps Research Institute in California performed a study in 2018 on the relationship between CBD and alcohol and cocaine relapse in rats. The results concluded that rats that received a topical CBD gel treatment experienced reduced symptoms of relapse, including lessened anxiety and impulsivity. Even though CBD was cleared from the brain and plasma of the rats within three days, treated rats showed reduced relapse symptoms five months later. Therefore, CBD may be useful not only in treating the neurological functions associated with addiction, but those that cause relapse, as well.
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