Tackling the Crisis: CBD and Opioids

The numbers of people and families affected by both prescription opioids and illegal opioids such as heroin and fentanyl are staggering.

On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the CDC. In 2017, the number of opioid overdose deaths was six times higher than in 1999. Opioid abuse has reached crisis proportions impacting our communities, our families, and public health.

CBD has the potential to help offset the opioid crisis in two ways. First, CBD has been shown to provide relief from pain and inflammation, conditions for which many people take opioids. Second, researchers found CBD could help to recover opioid users resist relapse. Let’s take a look at the evidence for these two ways CBD may help fight back against the opioid crisis.

CBD for Pain

A 2008 study found CBD was effective in pain management with few side effects and without the withdrawal symptoms of opioid pain medications. More recently, a 2016 study found that when CBD was applied to the skin of animals with arthritis, it reduced inflammation and overall pain providing researchers fuel to do more studies on using CBD to treat arthritis in humans. Another study identified the mechanism for how CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most challenging types of chronic pain to manage. This gives hope that CBD could be used as a therapeutic agent to help relieve these kinds of pain.

Dr. Shereef Elnahal is the commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Health. He told Consumer Reports, “CBD has promising effects on pain, which could make it an effective substitute for opioids.” Dr. Elnahal provides evidence cited in the Journal of the American Medical Association which shows that in states where medical marijuana is legal there are fewer filled opioid prescriptions and lower rates of opioid deaths compared with states without legal cannabis. If CBD has the potential to replace opioids in treating pain, that means fewer side effects for patients and no worries about longterm addiction and withdrawal.

CBD for Addiction Recovery

In light of the opioid crisis, researchers examined the role of CBD in helping people who are former opioid users resist relapse. Their double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial suggests CBD can help reduce stress and cravings. The author of the study, Dr. Yasmin Hurd, said cannabidiol showed positive effects on common symptoms of opioid withdrawal. “Being able to decrease their stress and anxiety response will go very far in decreasing their drug use, so even if we don’t know exactly why CBD is working if it works on craving and anxiety, that actually is very positive,” Hurd said.

We always recommend starting with the lowest dose of CBD and choosing quality products. Look for labels that include: 100% Natural grown, harvested, and produced in the USA. Also, look for Non-GMO and lab test results before trying any brand of CBD.

For people suffering from chronic pain or opioid addiction, it is crucial to seek the help of health care professionals. If going to see a doctor does not seem like an option, call the Drug Helpline for a free, confidential consultation to get started with a treatment plan at 888-633-3239.

If you have access to a medical professional and are suffering from pain, or are concerned about dependence on opioids, talk to your doctor about how CBD could fit in with your treatment plan.


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