CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is a marijuana compound widely known for its potential to provide therapeutic effects without producing the "high," which is typically associated with marijuana - the THC compound in the marijuana plant, to be more exact. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved CBD in prescription-drug form for treating rare types of childhood epilepsy.
But, a recent study has shown some more fantastic results regarding CBD. This study found that CBD may help people addicted to hard drugs, such as heroin, by significantly reducing their cravings. The study was funded in part by GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes the FDA-approved form of CBD.
American Journal of Psychiatry was the first to publish this study in May last year. The study included 42 people with heroin-use disorder who were attempting to abstain from the drug. The 42 participants were divided into three groups: The participants in the first one took 400 milligrams of CBD once a day; in the second one, they took 800 mg of CBD once a day, and the participants in the third one took a placebo once a day for three consecutive days. As the authors have previously stated, the participants in the CBD groups received Epidiolex, the FDA-approved prescription drug.) Neither the researchers nor the subjects knew whether they had received CBD or a placebo.
The authors would ask the participants to visit a laboratory and would expose them to "triggers," such as syringes. However, before their lab session, the participants were given either a dose of CBD or a placebo. The authors noticed that the participants who received CBD reported experiencing lower drug cravings, lower levels of anxiety, lower heart rate and lower levels of the "stress hormone" cortisol when exposed to the "triggers," compared with those who received a placebo. The effects were visible as soon as 1 hour after the CBD dose, the authors said. They even noticed that the participants who were given CBD showed more long-lasting effects, also lasting up to a week after the session.
The study lead author Yasmin Hurd, director of the Addiction Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, says that these findings suggest that "CBD holds significant promise for treating individuals with heroin use disorder." However, he also pointed out that CBD did not reduce self-reported cravings outside of the laboratory, as measured by a take-home questionnaire.
As the study's results suggest so far, there is still room for more research. - Scientists will keep trying to see whether CBD may work as a supplement to current therapies for opioid use disorder to enhance their effects. - Kirane said. He also reported that one of the next steps of his research is to study CBD as an adjunct therapy to current medications, such as methadone or buprenorphine.