Can Cannabis-based Treatments like CBD Oil Treat Opioid Addictions?

According to statistics from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), approximately 21.5 Americans aged 12 or older had a substance abuse problem in 2014. Of those users, an estimated 1.9 million were abusing prescription pain relievers, while 586,000 were struggling with an addiction to heroin. Of those who use heroin in general, roughly 23% of them—or 134,780 people, if you do the math—develop a serious addiction to opioids. On top of these already-dangerous opioid addictions, ASAM states in its 2016 Facts & Figures that 2014 saw as many as 18,893 overdoses from prescription pain medications and 10,574 overdoses from heroin use.

In order to stem the rising tide of opioid addiction and overdose deaths, the nation has taken on a number of initiatives—but the so-called “war on drugs” has failed dramatically in addressing the rea issues facing addicts and their loved ones. Pill and heroin users want desperately to be clean, to regain their health and some sort of social and financial stability. But how can these individuals be helped beyond the standard methadone clinics and often expensive in-patient rehab programs?

One solution, research has begun to show, may be (you guessed it) cannabidiol. In a 2012 study, CBD was found to reduce the reward mechanism effects of morphine, which helped to reduce heroin-seeking behaviors in rats. In 2015, a review of the evidence of cannabidiol as a treatment for addiction was published in the journal Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment. The authors of the review concluded that CBD may well provide therapeutic benefits in opioid, cocaine and psychostimulant treatment, but that, naturally, more research must be done to confirm these effects scientifically.

Outside of the laboratory, those working to beat their opioid addiction have praised CBD oil (and cannabis in general) for its phenomenal ability to relieve the intense withdrawal symptoms. And, because CBD is the part of cannabis that doesn’t provide a high (THC takes care of that), those who might otherwise be getting a buzz from methadone can avoid being sick without simply switching highs.

Before you jump into attempting CBD oil treatment for an opioid addiction, be sure to read your local laws and restrictions regarding cannabinoid use, and make sure you’re aware of the medical realities of withdrawal and treatment. Cannabidiol treatment for opioid addiction is still fairly new and unorthodox, so use your best judgment when considering it.

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