Drug overdose deaths set another record in 2017, continuing a sad trend that has lowered the overall life expectancy of the country. More than 70,000 people died that year, which is 10% more than the year before. West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and D.C. had the largest number of overdose deaths. This unabated crisis has led citizens, patients, and caregivers to look in new places for ways to effectively treat addiction.
Now, people trying to overcome opioid dependence may have a new option. A small study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that CBD helped reduce cravings and anxiety in people with heroin use disorder. Reducing cue-induced cravings and anxiety may lower the likelihood of a relapse.
Conducted at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, the doubled-blind randomized study gave individuals either a placebo or a dose of CBD (400 or 800mg). Study participants were then shown cues to induce cravings. Researchers found that CBD “reduced both craving and anxiety induced by the presentation of salient drug cues compared with neutral cues.”
These positive effects lasted up to 7 days after a 3-day administration of CBD.
“In addition, CBD reduced the drug cue–induced physiological measures of heart rate and salivary cortisol levels,” study results read. “There were no significant effects on cognition, and there were no serious adverse effects.”
No serious adverse effects is a powerful phrase. As we evolve to treat people overcoming opioid dependency more as patients than as criminals, CBD may offer a new and safe way to help provide relief and prevent relapse. It’s certainly worth a closer look in a country where for the first time accidental opioid deaths have surpassed car crashes as the leading killer.
CBD is a compound found in cannabis. Studies have shown that CBD may help with inflammation, anxiety, and sleep. CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids in cannabis. Unlike the more well-known THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, CBD doesn’t get you high.
Cannabinoids like CBD and THC interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates physiological systems. An empowered endocannabinoid system may promote homeostasis. You can learn more about CBD and how it works here.
The opioid epidemic continues to take too many lives. But congress has started to act. And new studies show emerging treatments may help.
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