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does cbd oil help with opiate withdrawal

CBD is thought to modify the way damaged brain cells of addicted individuals communicate with each other. The limited number of preclinical studies suggest that CBD may have therapeutic properties not only for opioid addiction but cocaine and psychostimulant addiction, as well.

Because opioid addiction is challenging to study, researchers often have to look at the specific symptoms, which tend to occur in three phases: intoxication, dependence, and relapse.

“CBD may have a role in helping in all three phases, but we don’t know for sure,” said Dr. Danesh Alam, medical director of behavioral health at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, “We have so much to learn about its [CBD] role in anxiety and addiction in general.”

CBD Oil: What Is It And How Can It Treat Opioid Addiction?

CBD oil is beginning to receive a lot more attention, as more states legalize marijuana products. Clinical trials have indicated that CBD may be a potential treatment for many conditions, including epilepsy and anxiety. Now, a recent study reports it might also help curb opioid cravings.

A recent double-blind study found that acute CBD administration, in contrast to placebo, significantly reduced both cravings for heroin and anxiety induced but the presentation of drug cues (i.e., injection needles).

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical component found in marijuana. Unlike other marijuana compounds such as THC, CBD does not get people high. Instead, CBD is known for its inhibitory response, which results in analgesic (pain relief) and anti-anxiety effects.

Like any drug addiction, opioid addiction is a chronically relapsing disorder indicated by the compulsive desire to use opioids and loss of control over opioid consumption. When an individual abuses opioids to the point of dependency, they can alter their brain structure.

Drug cravings are a major hurdle for people detoxing from OxyContin and other opioids, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. According to a 2019 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, CBD oil significantly reduced cravings and anxiety in patients detoxing from opioid drugs. Reduced cravings can not only make the detox experience more tolerable but can also decrease the chance of relapse.

“Although further research is needed, in select populations that include addictions to alcohol, opioids or other substances, medical cannabis may dampen the behaviors that contribute to relapse,” physician and Cannalogue CEO Mohan Cooray, MD, FRCPC, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

CBD Oil and OxyContin Detox

When you detox from opioid drugs like OxyContin, your body experiences withdrawal. According to information and analytics company Elsevier, symptoms of withdrawal can last for 10 days. The National Drug Intelligence Center reports OxyContin withdrawal can cause uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous symptoms, including the following:

These types of studies enroll human participants and randomly divide them into two groups: The control group receives a placebo while the experimental group receives the medication being tested, but participants do not know which group they are in. This helps researchers establish the effectiveness of tested medications as they track each group.

One of the current research gaps is the lack of randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled trials demonstrating that cannabis can effectively reduce the effects of opioid withdrawal. Randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled trials are a gold standard of epidemiologic studies.

In the past decade, there has been an unprecedented spike in opioid use disorde r , which has led to more than 300,000 opioid-related deaths in the United States . O pioid use disorder medications such as methadone and buprenorphine (often prescribed in a formulation with naloxone , known by the brand name S uboxone ) help reduce opioid use and reduce risk for opioid-involved overdoses . In some areas, however, t hese medications are often underutilized and therefore can be difficult to access, creating a treatment gap in which those who need medications face barriers to actually receiving them. Further, 20-40% of opioid use disorder patients do not want to take agonist treatments .

I ndividuals receiving the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD medication reported less craving after being exposed to drug cues compared with i ndividuals receiving placebo . This effect lasted at least a week after the CBD or placebo administration, when i ndividuals receiving the high-dose of CBD (but not the low-dose) still reported less craving compared with those receiving placebo . In addition, CBD reduced measures of stress response after the drug cue – such as heart rate and salivary cortisol increases . I ndividuals receiving CBD reported less anxiety after being exposed to drug cues compared with i ndividuals receiving placebo (though t here w ere no significant difference s in anxiety between participants receiving the low-dose vs . the high-dose of CBD ) . There was no effect of CBD on positive affect or on any cognitive measures.


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One of the hypothesized factors contributing to these barriers is that methadone and Suboxone can be misused or diverted because they can produce euphoria . Consequently, discovering effective alternative medications that can also treat opioid use disorder that circumvent concerns about their psychoactive properties could help more of those affected . To address this problem , the authors investigated whether the cannabinoid , CBD , which is thought to be safe and non-addictive, could be useful in the treatment of opioid use disorder .

Participants were recruited through advertisements. Most participants indicated preference for intranasal heroin use, most reported currently using more than 10 bags of heroin (one bag = 1 g) daily, and on average, participants had been using heroin for over 10 years. The majority of participants (64.3%) had been abstinent from heroin use for less than 1 month.