A small study which has been carried out by researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York has showed that CBD may be helpful in reducing anxiety and cravings associated with heroin use. This report suggests that it may be useful in breaking heroin addiction as well. The results of this research have been published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
9.2 million people use heroin worldwide. According to a 2008 report, four of five drug-related deaths were caused mainly by heroin in Europe while in the US, 18% of drug treatments are primarily for heroin. Heroin addiction has destroyed several lives. There is a need for treatment options to break heroin addiction which is why this study was conducted.
A nonintoxicating cannabinoid, CBD, was used to see if it could be helpful. The team that conducted this research previously had carried out a similar one on animals. It was found that CBD decreased the animals’ tendency to make use of heroine which is why this study also evaluated the effects of CBD on human heroin addicts.
For this purpose, researchers assessed 42 men and women who had been abstaining from the drug. These participants were in the age bracket of 21 to 65. Half of these received CBD while the other half was given placebo. Following this, participants were exposed to neutral as well as drug-related cues. Firstly, they received these cues immediately after the administration of CBD or placebo, then 24 hours following it and lastly, a week after the administration.
It was found that participants who had received CBD had substantially fewer cravings for the drugs and also, their anxiety looking at the cues was less. The effect CBD had was noted to have continued even after 7 days of administration, well after when it is expected that CBD would have been drained from the body.
It was also found that CBD decreased heart rate and cortisol markers which jump up due to anxiety-causing images which were exhibited to the addicts. Lead author of the study, Yasmin Hurd told NBC, “Cravings and anxiety are very subjective effects. One of the things people can do is trick themselves. That’s why we measured their physiological responses.”
She further added, “These drug cues increase heroin users’ heart rates and the levels of cortisol, so we know it’s not subjective because with the CBD their heart rates and levels of cortisol decreased — that’s really important.” However, still more research needs to be carried out in this area to give solid results. This one though, is not the first of its kind.
Previous studies have shown similar effects. A study from last year which was published in the Neuropsychopharmacology journal, conducted on mice, showed that CBD could reduce risk of relapse in addicts. This new study just adds to the mounting evidence that CBD can improve health in a number of ways.