CBD for Opiate Withdrawal

About CBD, Conditions

CBD for Opiate Withdrawal

Agitation, restlessness, and fever. Depression, cravings, and chills. These are just a few of the symptoms that people trying to wean themselves off opiates suffer. Today we’re going to talk about how utilizing CBD for opiate withdrawal might provide some relief during this difficult time.

CBD for opiate withdrawal at a glance

What the claims are: CBD can help relieve the symptoms and potential complications of opiate withdrawal, as well as help manage pain, anxiety, and depression, which can be catalysts for initial opiate dependence.

What the studies show: Initial findings suggest that CBD is an exogenous cannabinoid that acts on several neurotransmission systems involved in addiction, and animal studies have shown the possible effects of CBD on opioid addiction. CBD for opiate withdrawal can also help by mitigating anxiety, depression, pain, and inflammation, which are often cited as catalysts for opiate use and relapses.

What the facts say: Early studies as well as anecdotal evidence appear to support that adopting a CBD regimen can be beneficial for many people struggling with opiate addiction.

Opiate addiction and withdrawal

What, exactly, constitutes an opiate? Opiates are drugs (such as morphine or codeine) containing or derived from opium that induce sleep and alleviate pain. The term “opioide” is often used interchangeably, but is technically used to define any opium-like substance or synthetic compound having effects similar to natural opium alkaloids and their derivatives.

The broader term, “opioid” includes prescription painkillers such as morphine, methadone, Buprenorphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone, as well as illegal drugs such as heroin.

It’s a sad statistic to report, but opiate use in recent years is at an all-time high. In fact, in 2017, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services declared opioid addiction a public health emergency.

Opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 deaths in 2016, more than any previous year on record. And an estimated 40% of opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription opioid. These substances are highly addictive, to the point that they are listed as number one, ahead of cocaine, crystal meth, and nicotine in terms of difficulty in quitting. Withdrawal symptoms can be brutal, and include:

  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Sweating or fevers
  • Drowsiness
  • Tremors
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations or seizures

When coupled with the psychological struggles of breaking an addiction, these symptoms can sometimes feel overwhelming, leading to depression and anxiety.

How can CBD be used to help with opiate withdrawal?

CBD for Opiate Withdrawal

CBD for opiate withdrawal might be of help in several different ways. First, there are early indications that CBD can help mitigate behaviors that cause people to seek out these drugs. CBD has also been shown to help with several other symptoms associated with opiate withdrawal, such as insomnia and seizures.

It can also work to eliminate the inflammation and pain that are commonly the reason for taking opiates in the first place and could represent potential triggers for relapse. Studies have shown that CBD can alleviate anxiety and even help with depression, which often accompan opiate withdrawal.

More on medical studies related to CBD for opiate withdrawal…

While there have been very few human studies completed to date, there are several clinical trials on the horizon that we’re looking forward to learning from. The most exciting are studies that explore the potential of CBD’s selective effect on drug-seeking behavior. Preliminary clinical trials have shown these effects to be pronounced after 24 hrs and to have endured even two weeks after the last drug administration following short-term CBD exposure. In short, CBD may reduce the desire to relapse.

These studies further suggest that, because drug cravings are generally triggered by exposure to conditioned cues, CBD might be an effective treatment for heroin craving. Researchers have even stated that, “CBD represents a strong candidate for the development as a potential therapeutic agent in humans for opioid craving and relapse prevention. CBD has several therapeutic properties on its own that could indirectly be useful in the treatment of addiction disorders, such as its protective effect on stress vulnerability and neurotoxicity.”

Very promising stuff, and we will keep you posted on any new developments as they come.

What are the risks of using CBD for opiate withdrawal?

The good news is that CBD is known to be safe and well-tolerated by most and, according to a recent study by the World Health Organization, is not associated with abuse potential. This is crucial when being used to help those already struggling with addiction issues.

Utilizing CBD for opiate withdrawal also comes with very few potential side effects, and those that can present are minor. Especially in comparison to some of the risks associated with with traditional treatments, which, along with accidental overdoses and potential addiction to the treatment drug, and can also include:

  • Headache
  • Weight gain
  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore tongue
  • Flushing
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Mood changes
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

Should I give CBD for opiate withdrawal a try?

Some people are finding that adding CBD to their treatment plan is making their recovery more manageable. Others might find that CBD alone isn’t the answer, but that it can help mitigate some of the side effects of their withdrawal medications.

As with any change to your healthcare regimen, you should talk to your doctor before trying CBD for opiate withdrawal. And, if you’re currently taking any prescription medications, you should check with your pharmacist to ensure that CBD won’t interact with any of them in a negative way.

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Last modified: December 18, 2019