Soon, CBD might become a first-line treatment for heroin cravings. Learn more about recent findings that support the use of CBD in addiction treatment. 

Quitting a substance that you are addicted to can be extremely difficult. Opioids and opiates have particularly severe withdrawal symptoms, which can make starting the recovery process even more difficult.

Over many years and in the midst of the opioid epidemic, people have been searching for cessation aids that can help them through the worst periods of withdrawal and stop heroin cravings. Now, it seems that there might be a promising new remedy: CBD.

Cannabidiol, popularly known as CBD, is making waves in the American market. Researchers are looking at all the potential benefits that it might have and finding new uses for it. A recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry looked at whether or not CBD might be an effective treatment for reducing drug cravings for people who are addicted to heroin. The results are in and are promising for people who have addiction cravings to opioids or opiates like heroin.

Could CBD Be an Effective Treatment For Heroin Withdrawal?

Based on recent results, researchers are hopeful. Looking specifically at people with heroin cravings and related anxiety, researchers found that compared to a placebo, CBD did reduce drug cravings and decreased anxiety. All 42 participants included in the study were no longer using heroin, but were diagnosed with a heroin use disorder and still experienced anxiety and cravings for the drug. Researchers measured levels of the stress hormone cortisol and heart rates to gauge anxiety levels and cravings.

What does this mean? While the results are still preliminary and limited to a small group of people, using CBD oil for heroin withdrawal is definitely promising. What is certain is that using CBD for helping with heroin cravings will continue to be studied and we will find out more in the years and even months to come.

CBD & Anxiety

It’s also worth noting the potential that CBD has for reducing anxiety. Anxiety affects millions of Americans and is part of most substance use disorders, not just those involving heroin or opioids. Using CBD oil for anxiety could have massive impacts across the nation and is likely to become more popular.

Could CBD Be the Answer To the Opioid Epidemic?

Only time will tell, but the findings of the study are promising.

Not only were the results definitive for the participants in the study, but there were also no observed, significant effects on cognition and no serious negative effects observed after administering CBD. Furthermore, the effects of CBD to reduce cravings and anxiety lasted up to a week after the last dose — which means that people struggling with heroin addiction or anxiety wouldn’t necessarily have to use CBD on a daily basis or more than once per week.

In contrast, widely used drugs for managing anxiety and cravings — like methadone and buprenorphine — come with a host of potential problems, including the risk of dependence and negative side effects. Additionally, CBD is legal, inexpensive and relatively easy to access compared to most prescription drugs.

While cessation aids can dramatically help people who are struggling with addiction, there is no single answer to the opioid epidemic. Substance use disorders are complicated. Often, people are addicted to multiple substances and have underlying mental health disorders that require specialized treatment. Fortunately, treatment is available, and there are many centers and professionals who are trained and waiting to help.

If you think that you or a loved one is struggling with heroin addiction or another substance use disorder, reach out today. You can speak to a representative at The Recovery Village who can provide you with information about resources and treatment options. There is hope and recovery is possible.

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By – Gretchen Koebbe
Gretchen Koebbe is a writing and reading specialist based out of Detroit. Read more
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Editor – Megan Hull
Megan Hull is a content specialist who edits, writes and ideates content to help people find recovery. Read more

Centers for Disease Control. “Understanding the Epidemic.” Accessed July 22, 2019.

Hurd, Yasmin L., et al. “Cannabidiol for the Reduction of Cue-Induced Craving and Anxiety in Drug-Abstinent Individuals With Heroin Use Disorder: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial.” The American Journal of Psychiatry, January 1, 2019. Accessed July 22, 2019.

Prud’homme, Mélissa, et al. “Cannabidiol as an Intervention for Addic[…]view of the Evidence.” Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment, 2015. Accessed July 22, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.