CBD: The Answer to Our Opioid Epidemic?

Few things have been more devastating to America than the opioid epidemic. Addiction ravages families and society and can very effectively ruin a life, or even end it. Many solutions have been applied to the problem, but so far none have offered a definitive answer. 

Is it possible that CBD could be the answer people looking for? There is some reason to be hopeful, and the following is a closer look at the science to see what CBD can offer. 

How addiction starts

For most people, opioid addiction begins with a prescription. Opioids are effective at treating certain types of pain, like postoperative pain or acute flare ups of arthritis or migraine. Opioids are the most effective short-term pain relievers available, but they aren’t that effective when it comes to long-term pain management. 

Unfortunately, some doctors continue to prescribe opioids even for longer-term pain. The longer that patients take these drugs, the greater the risk of addiction. And once addiction takes hold, it’s extremely difficult to break. 

Why addiction is so hard to break

Chemical effects 

Opioids are chemicals that bind to certain receptors in the human body. When these receptors sense the opioids, they produce a feeling of intense euphoria. Our brains are hardwired to want more of that feeling, so we produce a natural chemical called dopamine in response. Dopamine increases the feeling of happiness and well-being, and the dopamine system is the body’s way of rewarding us for behaviour it wants us to continue. 

Body response 

Our bodies produce dopamine for a host of reasons. We get a hit whenever we succeed at something, when we eat something we enjoy, after sex and exercise, and even when we cuddle with our pets. Few things, however, produce such a large amount of dopamine as opiates binding to the receptors.

A building problem

Our opioid receptors gradually become used to the amount of opioids we ingest. Over time, it will take more opiates to get the same feeling of euphoria and the same amount of dopamine. As more time passes, the receptors will start to demand to be “filled” with opioid and produce pain if they don’t get what they want. 

The final result

By the end of the cycle, the person who started out taking a prescription painkiller after an operation becomes desperate. They are fighting two strong natural systems in their own body — the opioid receptor process and the dopamine cycle — and may become willing to do anything to fulfil these internal demands. 

How can CBD help? 

Researchers are just beginning to look into how CBD can break opioid addiction, but so far the anecdotal evidence is strong. CBD products from companies like Panacea life sciences seem to help addicts in several different ways — the reviews from users are enough proof of this.

Pain relief

CBD binds to the endocannabinoid receptors and is a potent anti-inflammatory. As such, it provides effective pain relief that helps with the pain of empty opioid receptors. With this pain minimized, it becomes easier to sleep, rest, and imagine life without the opiates. 

Better sleep

Insomnia is one of the most difficult effects of opioid withdrawal. Not only can CBD help recovering addicts to sleep by relieving pain, but CBD has a non-addictive anti-insomnia affect all of its own. 

Fewer cravings

As the body demands the opioids, it has become used to, not only does the afflicted person feel a craving for them, but they feel increasing anxiety and stress the longer they deny that craving. CBD is effective at producing relaxation and decreasing anxiety, making it much easier to keep saying “no.” 

The final evaluation

Research on this subject has only just started, but so far everything points to CBD as an effective antidote to opioid addiction. In the end, it might turn out that CBD is that “miracle cure” we’ve all been waiting for.

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