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Benefits of Using CBD During Addiction Recovery


Benefits of CBD

CBD has many uses, but is especially known for treating three specific areas of suffering, these being temporary or chronic pain, mental issues, and sleep issues, such as insomnia.


1. Helps alleviate pain

Because CBD is anti-inflammatory, it’s been made into many different topical applications and is often used to treat short-term and chronic pain, as well as assist in relieving eczema and acne.



2. Stabilizes and improves mood

CBD’s ability to calm and de-stress is arguably its most popular effect and often the most common reason it’s used, but can also improve—your mood, stabilize your emotions and even encourage your natural serotonin production.

In other words, in appropriate doses, CBD won’t just make you feel positive and relaxed in the moment, it can promote a better overall sense of happiness, even when you aren’t “on” it.


3. Promotes better sleep

It’s still unclear whether CBD directly contributes to better sleep patterns by lowering cortisol levels, the stress hormone, or raising melatonin production, the sleep hormone. It may simply be helping someone sleep better by reducing their pain or anxiety. CBD has helped many people achieve the deeper, more restful sleep they’re aiming for.

Recovering from an addiction is a process that looks a little different for each person, but there is a part of rehabilitation no one is able to avoid, and that is the withdrawal phase.



Added benefit: Relieves symptoms of withdrawal

Several studies have revealed that consistently ingesting regulated amounts of CBD can reduce withdrawal-induced cravings. It can also significantly ease any anxiety, restlessness and irritability that comes with transitioning out of substance abuse into sobriety.


See: Can CBD be Used for Addiction Therapy?


Research shows that CBD reduces drug craving and anxiety in patients recovering from heroin and opioid use disorder


Background

The widespread use of heroin and prescription opioids in the United States during the past decade has resulted in an unprecedented epidemic of opioid addiction, and few treatments for heroin use disorders are currently available. In this study, authors conducted a clinical trial to test whether cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that is found in the cannabis plant, could reduce drug craving and anxiety in recently-abstinent individuals with heroin use disorder. The study found that, compared to those who received a placebo, individuals who received a dose of CBD medication showed a reduction in craving for heroin as well as reduced anxiety, which lasted for about a week after taking the CBD medication.


The Problem



WHAT DID THIS STUDY FIND?

Individuals receiving the non-psychoactivecannabinoid CBD medication reported less craving after being exposed to drug cues compared with individuals receiving placebo. This effect lasted at least a week after the CBD or placebo administration, when individuals 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. Individuals receiving CBD reported less anxiety after being exposed to drug cues compared with individuals receiving placebo (though there were no significant differences 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.




Summary of the STUDY FINDINGS

In light of the opioid epidemic, it is important to identify as many strategies as possible to curb opioid addiction. In the past few years, scientists have asked whether or not CBD use can help individuals recover from opioid use disorder or may serve as a less-risky pain management approach to pharmaceutical opioids. Individuals also report using cannabinoids in an effort to cut back or quit other substances, but currently, data do not support this indication. Some studies have shown no benefit; in fact, studies have shown that CBD use is related to greater odds of both new-onset opioid use and opioid use disorder 3 years later. The small, experimental study here shows a potential benefit of CBD in reducing cue-induced craving and anxiety in heroin-abstinent individuals. This suggests a potential role for CBD in relapse prevention of heroin use disorder. This study takes a more rigorous approach that can serve as a model for future studies of cannabinoids and their potential role in OUD treatment and recovery.





Key takeaways:

· Substance use disorders — more commonly referred to as addictions — are common, treatable conditions. · CBD has been shown to relieve some of the symptoms people experience after substance use, such as anxiety and pain. · CBD is not considered an effective treatment for substance use disorders, but it may help reduce the harm caused by other substances.


BOTTOM LINE

  • For individuals and families seeking recovery: This study showed that compared to placebo the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD, was associated with substantially decreased cue-induced craving and anxiety for those with heroin use disorder. Many individuals with opioid use disorders are seeking alternative treatments to curb cravings and reduce anxiety, and many are reluctant to try agonist treatments such as methadone or suboxone.

  • For treatment professionals and treatment systems: This study showed that compared to placebo, CBD was associated with substantially decreased cue-induced craving and anxiety for those with heroin use disorder. If CBD does pan out as a potential treatment of heroin use disorder, this could appeal to many patients, and could be a good complement to recovery support services. It is important for treatment professionals to be aware that the unregulated forms of CBD.

  • For scientists: This study showed that compared to placebo, CBD was associated with substantially decreased cue-induced craving and anxiety for those with heroin use disorder.

CITATIONS


Hurd, Y. L., Spriggs, S., Alishayev, J., Winkel, G., Gurgov, K., Kudrich, C., . . . Salsitz, E. (2019). Cannabidiol for the reduction of cue-induced craving and anxiety in drug-abstinent individuals with heroin use disorder: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. American Journal of Psychiatry, (ePub ahead of print). doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2019.18101191


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