At the time of this publication, the US Opioid Crisis claims 130 lives every day due to lethal overdose. Prescription opioids for medical use quickly create reliance and addiction in patients. In response, regulations are being enforced to reduce and limit opioid doses, leaving suffering patients to search for pain relief elsewhere.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is actively searching for a solution to the opioid crisis, and we propose that Cannabidiol offers a viable option.
How CBD Can Help With Addiction
Research reflects that addiction recovery programs using a cannabis-inclusive model have the potential to reduce harm to patients, by reducing deaths, assisting withdrawal from opioids, and supporting the detox process. Contrary to unwarranted concerns of cannabis being a gateway to illicit drug use, instead cannabis is shown to decrease opioid use and treat heroin addiction. According to the documentary: “This Drug May Kill You”, opioid pain medications are the leading gateway to heroin use and addiction. Following this, additional research indicates cannabinoids like CBD represent a safe and effective option for supporting addiction recovery.
Reviewing objective research, there are many studies supporting that cannabis may address the underlying cause of med-seeking behaviors (ie: pain), thereby reducing the need for opioids while also offering the potential to safely mitigate the sometimes harsh symptoms of withdrawal such as nausea, discomfort, and malaise. In fact, in states with medical cannabis laws, the death toll of opioid addiction has reduced significantly. In addition, cannabis has been identified to safely reduce withdrawals and enhance concurrent Methodone therapy.
According to Dr. Dustin Sulak, renowned cannabinoid therapeutics physician, “Of 542 opioid users who added cannabis, 39% completely stopped opioid use, and another 39% reduced their opioid dosage.”
In another self-report study of 2987 patients, cannabis effectively reduced pain and opioid dependence, thereby safely reducing the risk of overdose deaths. As a result, ninety-seven percent of the sample strongly agreed/agreed that they were able to decrease the amount of opiates they consumed when they used cannabis, and 81% strongly agreed/agreed that taking cannabis by itself was more effective at treating their condition than taking cannabis with opioids.
According to a recent study by the WHO, Cannabidiol (CBD) was declared as non-addictive and given an excellent safety profile. CBD is a safe and non-intoxicating compound of cannabis, thereby alleviating any escapism concerns of use for those suffering addiction problems. Many addictions result from a desire to self-medicate mental health disorders, and this is another potential target of applied medical cannabis. According to this systemic review, Cannabinoids like CBD have shown potential for disorders such as PTSD, thereby reducing the risk of harm to self or others. CBD is also reflected in research as an intervention to balance neurotransmitters, potentially alleviating symptoms of mental health disorders like depression, psychosis, schizophrenia, anxiety, and bipolar.
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