CBD For Opioid Withdrawals?

CBD can be effective at managing the symptoms of opioid withdrawal and should be considered as a treatment for patients, a new study has found.

According to the study, CBD has a number of therapeutic assets which are highly relevant to opioid withdrawal syndrome. They include anti-depressant, anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties, as well as a reduction of cue-induced cravings for opioids. 

Study authors also say that CBD has been well-tolerated with no significant adverse effects in a number of clinical trials, suggesting it should be considered by patients as an adjunctive treatment for opioid withdrawals.

Adjunctive treatment

Opioid use disorder is a major worldwide health crisis and patients suffering from it will inevitably experience withdrawals if they try to abstain from taking opioids. 

Unfortunately, opioid withdrawals can be completely debilitating. 

Someone going through opioid withdrawal is likely to experience a range of symptom, including anxiety, paranoia, insomnia, pain, stomach problems, intense cravings, and much more.  

While symptoms may last for around 1 or 2 weeks, improper management of opioid withdrawals may cause devastating results such as treatment failure, relapse, and overdose. 

According to the authors of this recent study, there is a critical need for cost-effective, non-opioid medication with minimal effects to help manage opioid withdrawals. 

For that reason, cannabis was high on the list of possible treatments. 

The study 

The review study, published in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal by researchers affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine, looked at data from 41 clinical studies which evaluated the effects of CBD on symptoms relevant to opioid withdrawal.

Authors reported:  

“Growing evidence suggests that CBD may have the potential to reduce anxiety, pain, and insomnia with also some signals for reducing craving, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, and blood pressure. 

“These clinical symptoms are commonly observed in OUD (opioid use disorder) patients undergoing withdrawal, indicating that CBD could potentially be added to the standard opioid detoxification regimen to mitigate acute withdrawal-related symptoms as well as protracted withdrawal symptoms.” 

Small trials

Most existing findings are based on preclinical studies and/or small clinical trials. For this reason, larger, randomised-controlled studies are warranted to confirm the positive effects CBD can have on opioid withdrawal management. 

But the authors of this study believe CBD has a very strong case. They concluded: 

“In summary, CBD has a good safety profile, is well tolerated with opioid agonists, and reduces key withdrawal symptoms.

“Easing withdrawal symptoms with CBD could improve clinical outcomes by keeping patients engaged in treatment, facilitating smoother transition to medications for opioid use disorder like buprenorphine or extended-release naltrexone, and helping with tapering of opioid agonist treatment or opioid analgesics.” 

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