Is CBD The Answer To The Opioid Epidemic?
In 2016, opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 deaths, which is more than any previous year on record. Misuse of prescription pain medication has become an entrenched aspect of many communities’ lives, affecting individuals and families in addition to collapsing social and economic networks across the country.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, over 300,000 lives have been claimed due to prescription medication overdoses, which is more than the number of American casualties that occurred during World War II. It’s becoming increasingly clear that, to meaningfully address this issue, we need to develop networks of medical, emotional, and mental health support in failing American neighborhoods.
Some experts believe that CBD oils and tinctures could help to mitigate the increasing severity of the opioid epidemic.
What Is CBD?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is one of the most frequently occurring organic compounds in strains of hemp and cannabis. Although the prefix “canna-” can throw some people off, CBD does not cause the same high effect as marijuana; in fact, research shows that CBD counteracts the influence of psychoactive substances like THC.
Research has shown that when CBD is introduced to legal markets in small communities, the incidence of opioid abuse actually decreases. In Colorado, many localities saw a decrease in opioid overdose of up to 7 percent after CBD and cannabis products hit dispensaries, grocery stores, and cafes in 2018.
How Can CBD Combat Addiction?
Why might CBD have such a large influence? Well, CBD has been shown to act as a powerful pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, and mood stabilizer. Anecdotally, many addicts report that they’ve had much greater success weathering withdrawal symptoms by using CBD oils.
CBD binds to specific sets of receptors located in the brain, immune system, gut, and peripheral nervous system. In the brain, CBD binds to CB-1 sites along the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which influences mood, cognition, memory, appetite, and anxiety.
In the rest of the body, CBD prevents the inflammatory response of the immune system while also mitigating physical aches and pains. In this way, CBD can act as a powerful, yet completely sober, way to reduce both the anxiety and physical pain that motivates drug-seeking behavior in addicts.
Are There Any Downsides To CBD Use?
If you have a drug problem, it’s always best to first consult your primary care physician before attempting to self-treat your condition with CBD. CBD may cause negative interactions or complications with certain prescription medications.
Some users have reported symptoms that range from nausea to vomiting, dizziness, and excess fatigue. These may mirror the effects of certain opioids or be confused with withdrawal. Dehydration caused by CBD use may be dangerous, though there hasn’t been much substantive research showing this.