Best cbd oil for withdrawl symptoms

Best cbd oil for withdrawl symptoms

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CBD for Opiate Withdrawal

Opiates are an extremely dangerous category of drugs, with 130 people in the United States losing their lives to opioid overdose every single day according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). [1]

This represents a 30 percent increase in opioid-related overdose deaths in 45 states in just over a year’s time, with a 54 percent increase in 16 of them. Sadly, Midwest states have fared the worst, with a 70 percent increase in the same amount of time.

It is statistics such as these that have caused some to say that we’re in the middle of an ‘opioid crisis’ or ‘opioid epidemic.’ And part of what makes opiates so problematic for many Americans is that they come with a high risk of abuse and addiction, two factors that can easily lead to drug overdose.

Understanding Opioid Abuse and Addiction

In some cases, these drugs are prescribed for pain management purposes for people struggling with acute injuries or chronic pain conditions, offering them a certain level of pain relief. Other times, codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and other opioid medications are given to patients in an effort to control post-surgical pain.

However, the NIDA reports that as many as 29 percent of those who are prescribed opiates for pain-based conditions don’t take them as directed, with approximately one in ten users (somewhere between 8 and 12 percent) ultimately developing an opioid use disorder.

What is particularly distressing is that sometimes this prescription drug misuse leads to the use of another type of even more dangerous, not to mention illegal, opiate: heroin. Case in point: four out of five heroin users (80 percent) admit to previously misusing prescription opioids.

The Mayo Clinic adds that certain people tend to be at a greater risk of engaging in opiate abuse or developing an opiate addiction than others. This includes those with a personal or family history of substance abuse, those who have previously been involved in addiction treatment for drugs or alcohol, and those who have struggled with severe bouts of anxiety or depression. [2]

Traditional Opioid Addiction Treatments

Traditionally, treatment of opioid addiction and/or misuse has involved the use of prescription medications to ease opiate withdrawal symptoms and cravings, as well as attending counseling or behavioral therapy designed to change the addict’s attitudes and behaviors surrounding opioid use. [3]

Other treatments, such as Narcotics Anonymous, require patients to participate in peer support Some also mandate that patients undergo testing for hepatitis or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)—two viral infections that tend to be higher in those with drug abuse [4]—while also offering the recovering addict assistance with housing, transportation, and employment.

While all of these can be effective remedies for those who are addicted to either prescription painkillers or heroin, research is also finding that CBD may help as well.

CBD: What It Is and How It Works

CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a chemical compound found within the cannabis plant that has been linked to numerous health benefits. These benefits include chronic pain relief, reduced anxiety and depression, and protection against neurological disorders. CBD has also been found helpful when treating major medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. [5]

This isn’t a new remedy either as cannabis use for medicinal purposes dates all the way back to 2727 B.C. according to the Drug Enforcement & Administration, with an estimated 3.5 million people legally using medical cannabis (also known as medical marijuana) today. [6] [7]

CBD works by stimulating cannabinoid receptors within the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system’s ultimate goal is to maintain homeostasis in the body and plays an important role in the development of the central nervous system, which also means that it impacts mood, memory, appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, and more. [8]

CBD and Opiate Research

According to research, CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system may be beneficial in helping those with some level of opioid dependence.

For example, a May 2019 study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry involved individuals who had previously abstained from heroin use, but still struggled with two common symptoms of opioid withdrawal: anxiety and cravings. [9]

Each participant was given either 400 or 800 mg of CBD once a day for three days. Data was then collected at variable intervals—1 hour, 2 hours, 24 hours, and 3 days after the treatment, as well as 7 days after CBD administration ceased—to determine what effect, if any, it had on anxiety and cravings at these times.

After analyzing the data, researchers found that the immediate effects were significant compared to the placebo, with participants experiencing lower rates of anxiety and reduced cravings 1 hour, 2 hours, and 24 hours after the first dose was given. These positivie impacts were still noted seven days post-treatment, with no adverse side effects.

This suggests that CBD products have an additional medical use, which is a more successful recovery from opiate withdrawal. At a minimum, this cannabis compound can potentially help recovering addicts by improving their quality of life during their sobriety, simply by reducing these symptoms.

Which Type of CBD Products is Best?

Like many other supplements, CBD products come in many different forms. This includes capsules, tinctures, edibles, medical marijuana, and more. That said, one of the most effective cannabidiol products available is CBD oil. Specifically, lab grade, full spectrum CBD oil.

Lab grade means that the product has been tested by a certified lab, ensuring that it meets basic purity and potency standards, whereas full spectrum indicates that the product contains health-promoting compounds from the entire cannabis plant—which includes other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds—as opposed to offering users only CBD. [10] This second type is commonly referred to as a CBD isolate.

If you’re new to using CBD, it’s best to start with a low dose of lab grade, full spectrum CBD oil. This enables you to see what effect this product has on your opiate withdrawal symptoms without risking adverse effects. Then, only increase that dose if necessary, until you achieve a therapeutic effect.

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Can CBD Oil Help with Opiate Withdrawal?

Opiate-related deaths are on the rise. Sadly, the U.S is in the midst of an opiate epidemic with a staggering 48,000 people dying from overdose per year (According to

Withdrawing from opiate drugs is a mentally and physically painful process. A well-planned approach is needed to rehabilitate properly.

Having something that eases withdrawal symptoms and reduces cravings can significantly improve the chance of recovery.

CBD could be the answer.

What are Opiates & How Does Addiction Start?

Opiates are drugs that are derived from opium. Opium naturally comes from the poppy plant but there are many synthetic opioids too, such as fentanyl.

There are two terms often used interchangeably:

  1. Opiates are drugs directly derived from the poppy plant such as heroin and opium.
  2. Opioids are a synthetic form of naturally-derived drugs such as morphine and fentanyl.

Opiates and opioids come in many forms. They’re used medically for treating mild to severe pain (opioid painkillers) and recreationally for their calming and euphoric effects.

Medically, opioids in the form of codeine, morphine, and oxycontin, are used to treat a variety of conditions. Although these conditions are a legitimate reason to use the drug, patients are at risk of becoming addicted.

It’s common for addiction to start after someone has been prescribed opioid painkillers. Patients receive the drug and a specified dose from their doctor. Over time the patient can feel like the drugs are losing effectiveness due to tolerance.

As tolerance increases, people tend to consume higher doses of the drug and before they realize it, addiction sets in.

The mind-altering effects of opiates are desirable, with many users saying the first time they use heroin all their worries completely disappear. This escape from reality is what draws people in.

After the first use, some individuals will never stop chasing that feeling of calmness and euphoria. Opiates can take hold extremely quickly, with most addicts not realizing they’re dependent until it’s too late.

What is Opiate Withdrawal?

Prolonged opiate use can lead to a crippling dependency on the drug in question.

When you become dependent on an opioid, you’ll experience withdrawal as the drug is eliminated from the body.

Opioid withdrawal times can vary depending on the specific drug taken, but the symptoms are similar across the board.

For example, heroin withdrawal can start 6 to 12 hours after the last dose was taken. From here, withdrawal symptoms can last 5 to 10 days.

Withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant and can be severe. The pain from withdrawal often draws people back to their opiate of choice just to feel “normal” again. In some cases, rehab is needed so the substance is not accessible to the individual during recovery.

Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal

  • Muscle, joint, & bone pain
  • Cramps & headaches
  • Tremors
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Sadness & depression
  • Restlessness & inability to sleep
  • Hot flashes & chills
  • Profuse sweating
  • Tempting cravings for the drug
  • Nausea, vomiting, & diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flu-like symptoms (runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing)

How Does CBD Help With Opiate Withdrawal?

Studies by researchers from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine show that cannabis has the potential to improve opiate withdrawal symptoms [1].

The study asked 125 people that used cannabis during their withdrawal whether the cannabis helped ease or worsen their symptoms.

Out of the 125 asked, 72 percent claimed it eased their symptoms, 6.4 percent said it made their symptoms worse, and 22.4 reported mixed results.

Another study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry tested the effects of CBD on heroin addicts [2]. The study found when cannabidiol is given to patients, their cravings for the drug decreased as well as anxiety levels.

So, what does this mean?

How can CBD help those going through opiate withdrawal?

Although there are limited studies on the topic, there’s evidence that boasts CBD’s potential as a treatment for opiate withdrawal patients.

Numerous other studies have been done on cannabidiol to uncover the cannabinoid’s medical potential. Its anti-nausea, anti-anxiety, and pain-relieving qualities to name a few could help withdrawal sufferers ease their symptoms.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of CBD for opiate withdrawal.

What are the Benefits of CBD for Opiate Withdrawal?

There are many benefits to using CBD and its patient reach is improving as more medical benefits of the cannabinoid are being discovered.

Some of these benefits can help people going through opiate withdrawal. CBD can help mentally, physically, and may even help people stay off the drugs for good.

1. CBD May Reduce Cravings

One of the most desirable qualities of CBD for opiate withdrawal is its apparent craving-reducing qualities. In the study mentioned in the last section, over 70 percent of withdrawal patients claimed CBD controlled their cravings for opiate drugs.

Further scientific studies are needed to find out exactly how and why CBD reduces cravings during opiate withdrawal. We can make some educated assumptions on the matter though.

Cravings during opiate withdrawal are likely alleviated because CBD helps reduce the most common side effects.

When withdrawal symptoms are reduced, it’s far easier to resist the temptation to use the drug again.

2. CBD May Alleviate Anti-Nausea

One of the main symptoms of opiate withdrawal is nausea and vomiting. Alleviating these symptoms will make the withdrawal process much easier.

A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that CBD may help nausea because of its interaction with serotonin receptors [3]. They also concluded that low doses of THC prevented vomiting and relieving nausea.

This information points toward full-spectrum CBD oils for treating nausea and vomiting. If you’re going through withdrawal and need relief from these symptoms, we suggest using THC-containing CBD oil.

3. CBD May Reduce Anxiety Levels

CBD is often used by people with stress and anxiety to relieve their symptoms. Anxiety is a common symptom of withdrawal, so using CBD may help relieve this.

Numerous studies have noted CBD’s anti-anxiety properties. A 2011 study found that CBD significantly reduced general and social anxiety levels in people with the disorder [4].

4. CBD Blocks Pain

CBD is excellent for pain relief. This is an extremely valuable quality for someone suffering from opiate withdrawal.

One study found that CBD and other cannabinoids can effectively suppress neuropathic pain and inflammation [5].

The same study also concluded that users were not likely to build up a tolerance to the cannabinoid, meaning the same dose can be used over and over again without having to increase.

5. CBD May Help Prevent Relapse

One study suggests that CBD is effective in relapse prevention [6]. The study tested CBD on rats with cocaine and alcohol addictions.

The rats that had been administered CBD during substance recovery were less impulsive when offered their “drug of choice”.

Although the human brain is much more complex than that of a rat, CBD seems to have the potential to prevent relapse after an addiction when consumed daily.

Can You Take CBD Oil While Taking Opiates?

When CBD is consumed alongside most opioids, no reported effects seem to take place. CBD does not affect the function of the opioids and the opioids do not seem to affect the function of the CBD.

However, CBD does interact with the CYP2D6 enzyme in the liver. This enzyme is in charge of metabolizing a range of drugs including codeine and tramadol.

With this in mind, taking CBD could be dangerous if you’re taking prescription opioids or illegal opiates. Without the proper metabolization of both substances, you may experience liver toxicity.

If your liver cannot properly break down the drugs you consume you risk overdose. If unmetabolized opiates are still present in the body and you continue to consume more, the substance will accumulate.

If you’ve been prescribed opioids for your condition and want to use CBD to counteract some of the side effects, it’s extremely important that you consult your doctor first.

If you’re planning on using CBD to help you beat addiction to opiates, it’s okay to start consuming CBD as soon as you stop taking the opiate.

During the withdrawal process, you should continue to take CBD and avoid mixing any other prescription or over-the-counter medication.

CBD for Opiate Withdrawal: The Pros & Cons

There are advantages and disadvantages to any treatment and CBD is no different.

CBD doesn’t work for everyone during withdrawal but it’s certainly worth a try. The pros most definitely outweigh the cons and CBD is easily accessible, less damaging to the body, and cheaper than most other withdrawal treatments.

  • CBD can help reduce drug cravings
  • CBD may reduce chances of relapse
  • CBD alleviates nausea symptoms
  • CBD reduces pain
  • CBD can ameliorate anxiety symptoms
  • CBD may improve sleep onset & quality
  • CBD can cause drowsiness
  • CBD can be expensive
  • CBD may not work for everyone

Final Thoughts: Can CBD Help With Opiate Withdrawal?

Although clinical evidence is lacking, some studies suggest that CBD is an effective way to manage opiate withdrawal symptoms. The cannabinoid may even help you stay off the drugs for good.

Whether you’re taking prescribed opioid painkillers or have an addiction to illegal opiates, withdrawal is difficult and relapse is common. Having an effective plan and talking to a specialist first is an essential step in the rehabilitation process.

If you don’t have the money for professional rehab, it’s possible to get off these substances yourself. Preparation is key and finding something to ease the withdrawal is essential.

We’re not saying CBD is the miracle cure, but with a strong mind, some determination, and some effective planning it may help you recover for good.

References Used In This Article

  1. Bergeria, C. L., Huhn, A. S., & Dunn, K. E. (2020). The impact of naturalistic cannabis use on self-reported opioid withdrawal. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 113, 108005.
  2. Yasmin L. Hurd, Sharron Spriggs, Julia Alishayev, Gary Winkel, Kristina Gurgov, Chris Kudrich, Anna M. Oprescu, Edwin Salsitz. (2019). 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. American Journal of Psychiatry, 176(11): 911–922.
  3. Parker, L. A., Rock, E. M., & Limebeer, C. L. (2011). Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1411-1422.
  4. Crippa, J. A. S., Derenusson, G. N., Ferrari, T. B., Wichert-Ana, L., Duran, F. L., Martin-Santos, R., … & Hallak, J. E. C. (2011). Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. Journal of psychopharmacology, 25(1), 121-130.
  5. 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. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 209(6), 1121-1134.
  6. 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), 2036-2045.
Livvy Ashton

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

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