In the midst of an opioid epidemic, CBD may help patients experiencing opioid withdrawal symptoms find relief.
There is growing evidence suggesting that cannabidiol (CBD) could potentially be added to the standard opioid detoxification regime to help mitigate symptoms of opioid withdrawal, according to a recent study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.1 However, most findings that support claims like these are based on preclinical studies or are small clinical trials.
Opioid use disorder (OUD) in a public health crisis in the United States. As patients with OUD take smaller doses, abstain completely, or try to transition to different medications, they inevitably experience withdrawal symptoms.
Acute opioid withdrawal can be debilitating, with symptoms like anxiety, pain, insomnia, and gastrointestinal issues. Although it only lasts 1 to 2 weeks, protracted withdrawal symptoms can persist for months after ending opioid use. Further, failure to manage opioid withdrawals can lead to relapse and potentially overdose.
In 1 study, researchers identified and analyzed 144 abstracts and 41 articles related to CBD and opioid withdrawal syndrome.
Researchers found that CBD has been reported to have several therapeutic properties as an anxiolytic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic, and analgesic. It also showed a reduction of cue-induced opioid cravings. Additionally, CBD has been shown in several clinical trials to be well-tolerated with no significant adverse effects.
“Well-designed, prospective, randomized-controlled studies evaluating the effect of CBD on managing opioid withdrawal symptoms are warranted,” the researchers concluded.
1. Kudrich C, Hurd YL, Salsitz E, Wang A-L. Adjunctive management of opioid withdrawal with the nonopioid medication cannabidiol. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Res. 2022;7(5):569-581. Doi:10.1089/can.2021.0089