CBD: Alternative to Opioids? Research is Hopeful

Jun 24 2019

CBD: Alternative to Opioids? Research is Hopeful

Cities throughout the United States are opening their doors to CBD stores in great number. Sales and promotions of CBD products throughout the US are sprouting high. Nationwide Industry analysts predict the market in the U.S. will reach $1 billion annually as soon as next year. Why the sudden surge in CBD love? CBD is highly prized by humans today angling to ease discomfort from chronic pain. Widespread research and reports from CBD consumers as well as leaders in the academic, scientific and medical field highlight CBD’s potential to provide relief. Recent research suggests that CBD could be useful as an alternative to opioids in treating chronic pain, and may perhaps steer people away from addictive, ineffective and over-priced prescription drugs with harsh side effects. Before we look at the research, a quick CBD Primer.

CBD Primer

CBD is a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis, a plant with a long history of medicinal uses. CBD, unlike THC (“The High Causer” in cannabis) does not change a person’s state of mind when they use it. CBD does not make a person feel “stoned” or intoxicated.  People consider purchasing CBD for a wide variety of reasons, to relieve muscle pain, alleviate anxiety, to manage a chronic condition and many other uses. CBD is often sold as an oil, but can also be provided as an extract, a vaporized liquid and an oil-based capsule. CBD-infused food, drink, essential oils and beauty products and many more are widely available for purchase at storefronts and online. CBD shops are now popping up on every corner throughout the United States.

There may be good reason for all the “buzz without the buzz” about CBD. Despite all the good news and testimonials about CBD, those of you unfamiliar with CBD may still have some questions about it. Today, backed by growing research of scientists and doctors worldwide, CBD is widely legal and available. CBD is produced and marketed for its therapeutic potency and a bevy of recent research suggests that CBD may have positive health benefits.

Recent Research on CBD for Chronic Pain

A study from the European Journal of Pain demonstrated that CBD applied on the skin could provoke a decrease in pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. An additional study suggests that CBD may help ease chronic pain, leading many to try CBD when prescription drugs fail to provide relief. “The results provide proof of principle supporting potential of CBD in relapse prevention along two dimensions: beneficial actions across several vulnerability states and long-lasting effects with only brief treatment. The findings also inform the ongoing medical marijuana debate concerning medical benefits of non-psychoactive cannabinoids and their promise for development and use as therapeutics.”

CBD presents opportunities for people in pain, with anxiety and more. CBD is no miracle cure, nor is it here to save the day. Perhaps CBD may, however, prove effective for relieving chronic pain and helping some people shake loose from the shackles of opioids.  In collaboration with a healthy lifestyle built on routines and practices that support recovery, CBD may provide relief without some of the harsh side effects. In the end, it’s best to do the research, consider what’s best for you and consult your doctor.

References and Further Reading

  • Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 12(4), 825–836. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1.
  • Gonzalez-Cuevas, G., Martin-Fardon, R., Kerr, T. M., Stouffer, D. G., Parsons, L. H., Hammell, D. C., … & Weiss, F. (2018). Unique treatment potential of cannabidiol for the prevention of relapse to drug use: preclinical proof of principle. Neuropsychopharmacology, 43(10), 2036.
  • Hurd, Y. L., Yoon, M., Manini, A. F., Hernandez, S., Olmedo, R., Ostman, M., & Jutras-Aswad, D. (2015). Early Phase in the Development of Cannabidiol as a Treatment for Addiction: Opioid Relapse Takes Initial Center Stage. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 12(4), 807–815. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0373-7.
  • Morgan, C. J., Das, R. K., Joye, A., Curran, H. V., & Kamboj, S. K. (2013). Cannabidiol reduces cigarette consumption in tobacco smokers: preliminary findings. Addictive behaviors, 38(9), 2433-2436.
  • Xiong, W., Cui, T., Cheng, K., Yang, F., Chen, S. R., Willenbring, D., … Zhang, L. (2012). Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors. The Journal of experimental medicine, 209(6), 1121–1134. doi:10.1084/jem.20120242