The compound of the cannabis plant CBD, or cannabidiol, is said to reduce drug cravings in people with heroin addiction, according to a new study. The study has been published on May 21st in the American Journal of Psychiatry. In it, there were 42 people involved who had the heroin-use disorder and were attempting to abstain from the drug. The study went on to conclude about how heroin craving reduced with the help of CBD.
What is CBD and what are its benefits?
Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two main active cannabinoids of the cannabis plant. Though they are both cannabinoids, there are a number of differences between THC and CBD.CBD is Non-Psychoactive, while THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid. CBD does not cause anxiety unlike some strains of high THC cannabis. CBD can help overcome various ailments like anxiety, stress, pain and so on. They help soothe inflammation and nausea and provide relief in conditions like cancer.
When you take CBD, it helps you against conditions like anxiety and cognitive problems. CBD helps the body deal with discomforts that affect the endocannabinoid system. Several studies have found that CBD has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antidepressant, analgesic, and antipsychotic properties.
More on the Study
Participants who visited the laboratory were shown “cues” which trigger a drug craving, here they were shown videos of people using heroin or things like syringes. Usually, such images can contribute to a relapse. All participants received either a dose of CBD or a placebo before they entered the lab. All the participants who received CBD felt lower drug cravings and lower anxiety, compared to who received a placebo. It was also noted that the CBD participants felt the effects for up to a week.
The new findings suggest that CBD holds good promise for treating those with a heroin use disorder. The researchers did not examine the effects of CBD on drug-relapse outside of a laboratory, so more studies needed to answer this question. During the study, researchers also assigned people to groups which either took 800 milligrams of CBD, 400 milligrams of CBD, or a non-active placebo. The researchers followed their progress over the next two weeks. It was seen that seven days after people took their last dose, the ones who had taken CBD were reported to have a lower craving and anxiety to drug-related cues. The stress reaction of those who took CBD in both groups was also lower for drug-related cues, compared to those who had not taken CBD.
How CBD helped with heroin addiction?
CBD not only manages the anxiety but also the cue cycle. It also reduces the original pain and inflammation which leads many towards heroin addiction in the first place. In recent years, CBD has received a lot of attention for its therapeutic effects without the usual high associated with marijuana. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved CBD in prescription-drug form for childhood epilepsy treatment.
Promising Future with More Studies
However, it was stressed that self-treatment with CBD for heroin addiction treatment is not advised with a lot of CBD that is available to the public. There is inaccurate information as to what is actually in the container. Most drug treatments at present for opioid use disorder act on opioid receptors, they also come with their own addiction risk. Dr Harshal Kirane who is a director of Addiction Services at Northwell Health’s Staten Island University Hospital applauded the effort to evaluate the effects of CBD scientifically. However, the study had its own limitations like the fact that it was a small study, hence the results need to be replicated in a larger group of people. Studies were also needed to evaluate the long-term effects of CBD for these patients.
A lot more research should be done to examine whether CBD may work as a supplement for therapies for opioid use disorder. The next step of the research is to study CBD as an adjunct therapy to current medications like buprenorphine.