CBD and Opiate Addiction

By Adrian Devitt-Lee On May 29, 2019
 A cannabis branch and a syringe on a pink background

Much research demonstrates that cannabis promotes the safety and efficacy of opioids. A 2009 paper demonstrated that CBD suppresses the cues or triggers associated with heroin. By interacting with memory systems in the brain, CBD helps relieve compulsions to use opioids. Researchers led by Yasmin Hurd at Mount Sinai have published many papers on these topics, the most recent being a clinical trial of CBD for reducing relapse to heroin. Acute ingestion of high doses of pure CBD (400-800 mg) dramatically reduced participants’ response to heroin triggers while simultaneously ameliorating anxiety. The benefits appeared to extend even further — after dosing for three days, the participants experienced relief for up to a week, similar to what has been seen in preclinical work. The study was carefully designed as a double-blind placebo-controlled trial, which is typical for testing drugs in humans, but has been difficult to achieve because of the schedule 1 status of cannabis.

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Adrian Devitt-Lee, Project CBD's chief science writer, is employed as a research chemist by the University College of London.