Study Finds CBD Effective at Treating Heroin and Opioid Addiction

CBD could help those addicted to heroin and opioids break the cycle of addiction. A study conducted at the Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai found that patients treated with CBD oil had reduced cravings and anxiety levels.

Dr. Yasmin Hurd, the lead researcher on the study, said, “the intense craving is what drives the drug use. If we can have the medications that can dampen that [craving], that can greatly reduce the chance of relapse and overdose risk.”

Drug overdose deaths outnumber peak annual deaths from HIV, car crashes, or gun violence and are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. Since 2000, nearly 400,000 people have died of opioid-related causes.

“Our findings indicate that CBD holds significant promise for treating individuals with heroin use disorder,” said Hurd in a statement. “A successful non-opioid medication would add significantly to the existing addiction medication toolbox to help reduce the growing death toll, enormous health care costs, and treatment limitations imposed by stringent government regulations amid this persistent opioid epidemic.”

The 42 study participants had used heroin for an average of 13 years and had gone less than a month without using. Participants were divided into three groups and given either 800 milligrams of CBD, 400 milligrams of CBD, or a placebo. All three groups were dosed for three consecutive days and shown three-minute video “cues.” “Neutral cues” included relaxing nature scenes, and “drug-related cues” included scenes with syringes, intravenous drug use, and packets of white powder.

Researchers measured opioid craving and anxiety by monitoring skin temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and other vital signs throughout the video sessions.

CBD “significantly reduced both the craving and anxiety induced by drug cues compared with neutral cues,” researchers found. Additionally, the positive effects of CBD were evident up to one week after the last CBD dose.

“[CBD is] not addictive. No one is diverting it. It doesn’t get you high, but it can reduce craving and anxiety… [T]his can really help save lives,” Hurd said.