Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, has become more and more accepted in the US and around the world in recent years.
In June 2018, they made the bold decision to approve Epidiolex, a prescription drug made from CBD. It was the first CBD drug to be approved in America, but it acts as a frontrunner for other pharmaceutical companies who may also want to push for approval for their own CBD medications.
This isn’t the only change to federal law in recent times, however. As part of the Agriculture Improvement Act in 2018, people can now grow cannabis and derivatives of the drug as long as it contains less than 0.3% of the psychoactive compound THC. And only last week, the TSA has officially announced that travelers can carry CBD oil on planes (with certain restrictions, of course).
All these changes have provided researchers with more freedom to study and assess the vast benefits CBD could have on our health.
The general public are now more than aware about some of the biggest benefit discoveries, including CBD’s ability to relieve anxiety and treat epilepsy.
A new innovative study recently published in The American Journal of Psychiatry has revealed another benefit to the cannabinoid, having undergone a study that suggests it can also be used to effectively treat heroin addictions in substance abusers.
According to the lead researcher on the study, Yasmin Hurd, it’s the intense craving that drives the drug use.
With this in mind, Hurd and the rest of the team set out to find out whether the non-psychoactive chemical component of cannabis, CBD, could dampen that craving. The study also wanted to find out whether CBD could reduce anxiety among those addicted to heroin.
Hurd and her team worked with 42 adults on this study, all of whom were heroin addicts and had been using the drug for an average of 13 years with less than a month without using. The subjects in question were also prevented from using heroin throughout the duration of said study.
The 42 participants were divided into three different groups. The first were given 800 milligrams of CBD, the second 400 milligrams, and the third a placebo drug. Each group received one daily dose of Epidiolex for three days straight.
For the two weeks following this, participants were shown videos or photos. Some participants enjoyed calm, natural scenes, while others experienced ones that depicted drug use and paraphernalia. After this, they were asked to rank their anxiety and cravings.
The outcome of this study found that those who received CBD saw their cravings drop by two or three times more than those who had received a placebo. They also found that there wasn’t much difference between those receiving 800 and 400 milligrams.
Interestingly, those who has received CBD showed lower levels of cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone.
This could be a breakthrough to creating more effective treatment for heroin users and substance abusers in general when you consider half of people who experience a mental illness will also experience a substance use disorder at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
Perhaps one of the most revealing things about this study is that researchers found that the reduced heroin craving effects lasted for seven days after the participants had received their dose of CBD.
This study was completed over a very short period of time, so more research would need to be done to ensure these short term effects continued.
Hurd herself admits this, saying she would like to conduct a study that follows subjects over the course of six months to see if positive outcomes still occurred.
Regardless of future intentions, Hurd’s first completed study into this benefit could go on to prove extremely beneficial for current addicts.
In a world where heroin and opioid overdose deaths are on the rise, could CBD be the answer to reducing this number once and for all?
You may also be interested in reading about the latest medical trial which shows that CBD oil is beneficial to dogs suffering from epilepsy.