Opioid addiction is a severe health problem in the United States and other countries. On average, 44 Americans die every day because of the excessive use of opioids. The severity of this problem has prompted Pres. Donald Trump to launch an initiative last year to address the growing problem that is crippling the nation. The present administration has earmarked $6 billion in new funding for two years to stop opioid abuse. Doctors and other healthcare authorities are finding ways to address the issue, including the use of alternative treatments such as CBD oil.
What are Opioids?
Opioids are a type of drugs that work on opioid receptors. Often, these substances are used in medicine to provide pain relief and numbness to pain, which includes anesthesia. These substances include drugs bought by prescription such as fentanyl, morphine, codeine, oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin). While these medications are legal, many patients become dependent on it because of its potential for boosting a person’s mood.
Also called narcotics, opioids trigger the release of endorphins, a neurotransmitter that leads to positive feelings. Endorphins regulate your pain sensation and boost pleasurable feelings, generating a temporary but strong sense of well-being. When the effects of an opioid dosage wear off, patients may find themselves desiring for those good feelings to come back as soon as possible, which can lead to addiction technically called opioid use disorder (OUD).
To treat addiction, patients suffering from OUD receive medical intervention starting with detoxification or withdrawal. At this stage, people can experience adverse symptoms on the body, including fever, nausea, muscle cramps, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
After this, the addiction treatment proceeds to the second phase, known as relapse prevention. Doctors prescribe medication to control the cravings as well as psychotherapy to help treat any emotional and psychological issues that contribute to drug overuse.
Fighting Opioid Addiction with CBD Products
As a wonder substance extracted from marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD) can cure a wide range of diseases and disorders, including substance abuse. This cannabinoid (a compound from cannabis) can help a patient with OUD by:
- Medication for opioid withdrawal – By interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) — which is responsible for regulating the physiological systems — CBD can help in managing the withdrawal symptoms. Currently, Canadians can already buy a government-approved prescription medication containing a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC (another cannabinoid) called Sativex.
- Prevent relapse – CBD can also control a patient’s cravings for opioids again by interacting with the ECS. Laboratory experiments found mice and rats “addicted” to morphine receiving CBD has remarkably lowered their desire for the drug.
- An alternative pain reliever – Cannabidiol is also a powerful substance for pain relief, making it a safer alternative to morphine and other types of opioids. Patients can now buy CBD topicals and supplements for pain management.
As the medical community has started using cannabidiol in the nation’s fight the opioid crisis, there is better hope for patients with OUD. Even though doctors still need further studies to ensure CBD’s usefulness in fighting this worsening public health issue, doctors are already seeing signs that this substance will be instrumental in battling one of the country’s worst type of substance addiction.