As the opioid epidemic continues to ravage the US (and the rest of the world), medical researchers have scrambled to find safe and effective treatments for heroin abuse. Cannabis seems to serve as one of these potential treatments, but federal barriers for researching the plant have limited progress in researching its efficacy.
A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry discovered that after just three days of taking either 400 or 800 milligrams of CBD, subjects with heroin abuse disorder reported fewer cravings and less stress associated with opioid addiction. Saliva tests revealed that CBD also suppressed the stress hormone cortisol, which doctors believe stimulates the anxiety that triggers a heroin or opioid relapse.
Best of all: CBD’s effects on curbing heroin urges lasted up to a week after the subjects stopped taking it.
“It’s just that this particular anxiety leads someone to take a drug that can cause them death, and anything we can do to decrease that means increasing the precious chance of preventing relapse and saving their lives,” the study’s lead author, Yasmin Hurd, a neuroscientist and the director of the Addiction Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, told Emily Willingham at Scientific American.
Previous studies have shown that cannabis could alleviate some of the public health issues related to the opioid epidemic, which has killed half a million Americans since 2000. For instance, states with legal medical marijuana notice 25 percent fewer opioid overdoses after legalization. Doctors prescribe fewer opioid-based painkillers – something to the tune of 30 percent less – in medical marijuana states compared to prohibition states, too.
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