Can CBD Help With Substance Abuse Disorders?

(This article originally appeared in AskCBD! and is republished here with permission.)

Contemporary views on opioid addiction are often muddled, understandably, in a haze of emotion and misinformation. Even as researchers adapt their understanding of addiction to a disease-based model, medically assisted treatments are still far from the norm. While not approved by the FDA officially for use in treating any ailments, new research has come to light that has many people asking, can CBD help with Substance Abuse Disorders?

A new approach

Though historically detailed and complicated, a recent rise in prescription opioid use has led many Americans down the path from drug dependency to full-on substance abuse disorder. Taking a new approach to addiction treatment, researchers at the University of Mississippi conducted a study and found that cannabidiol (CBD) may be useful in blocking the brain’s opioid reward receptors. Their findings, published in the journal Planta Medica, found that 10 mg per kg of CBD could successfully block opioid receptors in mice.

“When administered alone, this dose of cannabidiol was void of rewarding and aversive properties,” the researchers wrote as reported in Herb online. Furthermore, the study “sought to determine whether the cannabis constituent cannabidiol attenuates the development of morphine reward in the conditioned place preference paradigm.”

Trying something different

Many people across the country have discovered the potential of CBD in fighting substance abuse disorders, even as widespread medical acceptance remains far out on the horizon. Canna Press reported recently on a group out of Alaska called Veterans Against Opiate Addiction. Founded by a disabled vet named Joseph Fisher, the group is dedicated to, among other things, helping people move away from prescription pills to safer options like CBD.

“Every month, [the group] puts together care bags for the vets. They consist of various donated items, consisting of things such as... CBD products, etc..” states the article.

In fact, so many people have found CBD to be beneficial that recently the World Health Organization came out to argue that it should not be classified as a scheduled drug. The WHO stated that, in fact, CBD has no potential for addiction and that it offers numerous medical benefits to both humans and animals. "To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD," the organization said as reported in the online magaziner Westword.

The research piles up

The study from the University of Mississippi confirms the results of a number of previous studies. Herb online reports that a 2015 study found that CBD can be beneficial in inhibiting addictive behaviors due to its effect on the brain. According to the study, CBD modulates “various neuronal circuits involved in drug addiction.”

We are a long way off from full acceptance of CBD as an approved treatment for substance abuse disorders, however, the research is extremely promising. Meanwhile, science continues to study the benefits of CBD and how it interacts with opioid receptors in hopes of helping the growing number of people afflicted with this terrible disease.

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