The opioid epidemic is rampant. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “[e]very day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.” Opioids attach to nerve cell receptors throughout the body and block pain signals to the brain. Even though they are effective, there is a high risk of addiction associated with them. As the American Society of Anesthesiologists explains on its website, opioids can cause the body and brain to believe that the opioids are necessary for survival.
A possible replacement for opioids is cannabidiol (CBD). One recent study titled Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial, investigated CBD’s potential to reduce cue-induced cravings and anxiety, critical features of addiction that contribute to relapse and continued drug abuse.
The study found a correlation between CBD and reduced cravings and that it “provides a strong basis for further investigation of this phytocannabinoids as a treatment option for opioid use disorder.”
Even though the study seems promising, it is a narrow look and there is still more research needed to determine whether and how CBD can replace opioids, if at all.
An article by NPR interviewed Yasmin Hurd, the study’s author and director of the Addiction Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, about the study.
She shared in the interview,
“In addition, their cortisol levels went down. Ziva Cooper is research director for the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative. She says the results of the study are significant but should not be interpreted to mean that CBD is useful for all kinds of garden-variety stress or anxiety. Despite a boom in popularity of CBD, which is being used for all sorts of things, its popularity has gotten far ahead of the science.”
Aubrey and Cooper, who also participated in the study, recognized that there is very “little rigorous data” related to the indications for which people are using CBD. Further, the study used high dose, pharmaceutical grade and pure form of CBD.
At the end of the day, more research is needed.