Opioid abuse continues to be a terrible problem throughout our country, contributing to death, disability, loss of productivity, and also to considerable number of crimes.
There have been 300,000 people who have died in the last decade related to opioid use and abuse and a 3000% increase in the cost of medical care associated with opioid abuse.
There’s methadone and Suboxone available to help people withdraw from opioids, but there are strict government regulations around the use and obtaining those medications, which make them somewhat hard to find.
Looking for a product that’s going to be easier to use and more available for our patients is certainly a great idea, but we really need some new innovative treatments that don’t necessarily focus on the opioid receptor. That’s why this brilliant research coming out of New York City is so exciting.
Researchers at Mount Sinai looked at very high dose CBD to try to reduce cue-induced cravings.
It might be a situation where they see a particular friend and they instantly think about using drugs with that friend or they’re in a particular circumstance and it results in this cue-induced trigger to use drug.
It’s very difficult in the first couple of weeks to months after the drug is withdrawn.
In fact, one of my patients told me it took two years for him to stop having cue-induced cravings associated with a particular environment. He would have cravings to the point of breaking out in a sweat and shaking. It was terrible, but he was so committed to stopping. But for others, these cue-induced cravings are overwhelming, and rightfully so.
The researchers looked at 400 milligrams of CBD versus 800 milligrams of CBD versus placebo. The groups had 15, 14, and 15 patients. These patients had mostly stopped using opiates within the past month – 64.3% had stopped their opiate use within the past month. These were new people to opioid withdrawal.
There was a significant reduction in cue-induced craving and anxiety associated with cue-induced craving. The interesting thing was that the cue-induced craving reduction lasted for a week after the administration of the CBD. There was no change in mortality and no risk of intoxication.
With the increasing death toll associated with opioids, increasing costs and limitations to treatment based on government limitations to getting access to the medication, this may be a perfect time to think about the addition of CBD to help reduce these cravings in people who are trying to stop opioid use.
DR. MARY CLIFTON
Dr. Mary Clifton is an Internal Medicine doctor in New York City, with 20 years of experience in both the hospital and private practice and is also a licensed by the New York State Department of Health to provide medical marijuana and is a recognized expert in CBD, Cannabis, and Medical Marijuana.
She is a published researcher, national speaker on women’s health and osteoporosis, and author of four books, and two new soon-to-be-released books on CBD and Cannabis – what you need to know, how to use them and a COOKBOOK to support ease of use.