Researchers are examining whether CBD can help suppress the desire to use heroin and other opioids, specifically, CBD can curb cravings for heroin. It’s important work amid the ongoing opioid crisis. Opioids were involved in more than 42,000 deaths in 2016, according to the CDC. About 40% of them involved a prescription opioid. Yasmin Hurd, director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, is so far unsatisfied with the federal government’s response to the drug crisis. “You have to treat every epidemic the same, whether it’s a drug epidemic or a viral epidemic,” she said in a recent STAT News feature. She blamed the stigma of addiction for the lack of urgency.
“When we started investigating CBD, we hypothesized that perhaps it could decrease drug-taking behavior, but instead we saw that it actually decreased craving,” Hurd said. “It was very specific about what it decreased, and that was surprising. A lot of people being treated for chronic pain develop an addiction disorder, and we want to be able to offer them a non-opioid treatment, which is why we’re looking at cannabinoids as potential adjunct therapy.”