Is the Role of CBD in Fighting Opioid Epidemic Considerable? - Glow Bar London

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  • January 20, 2023 5 min read

    Is the Role of CBD in Fighting Opioid Epidemic Considerable?

    CBD contains various properties that help tackle opioid. This article discusses CBD, the types of CBD used to fight opioid addiction, benefits of CBD to tackle opioid withdrawal symptoms compared to other medications, and risks of using CBD for opioid addiction.

    Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most prevalent chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. This compound is majorly extracted from various parts of the hemp plant since it contains high amounts of CBD and is low on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), unlike the marijuana plant. CBD is non-kaleidoscopic, meaning it does not contain high effects. Cannabidiol is infused into various products, including but not limited to oils, tinctures, vapes, edibles and capsules. This cannabinoid has gained traction in the health and supplement industry due to its multiple benefits, such as improving sleep quality and quantity and counteracting cancer-related symptoms.

    An overview of CBD and types of CBD used to fight opioid addiction.

    CBD is a chemical compound existing naturally in the hemp plant. It is non-psychoactive, unlike THC, and possesses multiple qualities that help tackle numerous health conditions. Since it is all-natural, it rarely causes side effects or addiction. Sartim et al. (2019) noted that it is best to consume in the right amount to avoid experiencing side effects such as dry mouth, changes in appetite and weight, fatigue, nausea and diarrhoea. Before taking CBD for any medical condition, it is important to seek medical guidance.

    There are various ways to use CBD to fight opioids, such as sublingually, smoking, and orally. The method depends on how fast you want to feel the effects and how long you would like them to last.

    Types of CBD

    CBD is available in three formulations;

    Full spectrum

    Full spectrum CBD features all the chemical compounds in the cannabis plant, including flavonoids, terpenes, Cannabigerol, cannabinol and CBD. It also contains little amounts of THC, not exceeding 0.2%. It is considered the most effective in tackling opioid addiction due to its entourage effect. This is a process whereby all the other cannabinoids work synergistically with CBD to enhance its health and therapeutic benefits.

    Broad spectrum

    Broad-spectrum CBD contains most compounds such as Cannabigerol, cannabinol and flavonoids alongside CBD. However, it does not contain THC. CBD is mostly preferred by users who want to benefit from the effects of other chemical compounds, excluding THC.


    CBD isolate contains CBD solely. During manufacturing, all the other phytochemicals and cannabinoids were extracted, leaving CBD.

    CBD in counteracting opioid addiction

    Individuals consuming opioids constantly for quite some time often report withdrawal symptoms once they cease using them. It doesn’t matter whether the patient is using it t tackle pain, if they are experiencing opioid use disorder, or taking it for another medical condition. Opioid symptoms are debilitating and are intense for around the first two weeks. They normally last for months. Poor opioid withdrawal management results in poor outcomes, such as opioid overdose.

    A 2021 study on forty-four individuals examined the benefits of CBD in tackling various medical conditions such as anxiety and insomnia. This review found that CBD prevented opioid cravings, especially in individuals with opioid use disorder who ceased opioid use. Researchers confirmed that CBD reduced the following symptoms in people with OUD:

    • Muscle spasms
    • Anxiety
    • Insomnia
    • Nausea
    • Depression

    These symptoms generally develop during opioid withdrawal. It theoretically means that though it is not studied directly, CBD could be considered as an opioid withdrawal treatment to minimise withdrawal symptoms. However, more research is required on the ideal dosage and CBD formulations required for opioid withdrawal treatment.

    Benefits of CBD to tackle opioid withdrawal symptoms compared to other medications

    CBD's effects on opioid withdrawal symptoms are beneficial. Hence the reason, it is used as an alternative treatment.

    Pain relief

    Hegazy et al. (2019) stated that Cannabidiol boasts analgesic qualities that help relieve pain. Individuals who utilise opioids for pain may minimise their use by around forty to sixty per cent if they consume cannabidiol instead. CBD is advantageous over opioids since it rarely causes adverse effects and over-dependence. Consuming a considerable dose of opioids leads to its safe utilisation. Higher amounts of opioids may result in an overdose or respiratory depression and other negative effects.

    Minimising opioid withdrawal symptoms      

    Various drugs, such as methadone and buprenorphine, alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms. However, OUD stigmatization discourages some patients from seeking addiction treatment services. It results in challenges in obtaining the treatment. Since various medications for opioid use disorder are challenging, some patients seek other treatments. Even though research on CBD for opioid treatment is still in its infancy stage, studies confirm that it may help tackle opioid cravings.

    Consuming between four hundred and eight hundred milligrams of CBD oil is safe. The research concluded that cannabidiol has significant therapeutic potential regarding opioid withdrawal.

    Risk and safety of using CBD for opioid treatment

    CBD can result in:


    Spinella et al. (2021) noted that Combining CBD with another drug may lead to sedation which may depress breathing. However, this effect fades off over time.

    Liver damage

    De Ternay et al. (2019) suggested that taking unimaginably high amount of CBD and combining it with other medications may increase the risk of liver damage.

    Suicidal thoughts

    If you consume CBD and note a change in mood and behaviours, you should seek medical attention instantly

    The following groups should not take CBD:

    • Pregnant and lactating women
    • Individuals who are taking other drugs
    • Individuals who are allergic to CBD
    • People with suicidal thoughts
    • Individuals with a history of drug use disorder

    According to the Food and Standard Agency, no clinical studies confirm CBD as a safe product, and its long-term effect needs further studies.


    CBD is one of the most prevalent compounds in the cannabis plant. Unlike its popular cousin, THC, it does not cause the’high’effect. For good reasons, CBD has gained immense traction in the health and wellness industry. It helps tackle multiple conditions including but not limited to anxiety, insomnia, depression, stress and cancer-related symptoms. This compound has gained the attention of doctors as an alternative treatment for opioid use disorder. Various symptoms, such as anxiety and insomnia, characterize OUD. CBD helps tackle these conditions and, as a result, helps deal with OUD. It is a considerable alternative treatment to fight opioids since it rarely causes any addiction or side effects. However, it is vital to seek medical guidance before using CBD for OUD.


     De Ternay, J., Naassila, M., Nourredine, M., Louvet, A., Bailly, F., Sescousse, G., ... & Rolland, B. (2019). Therapeutic prospects of cannabidiol for alcohol use disorder and alcohol-related damages on the liver and the brain. Frontiers in Pharmacology10, 627.

    Hegazy, O., &Platnick, H. (2019). Cannabidiol (CBD) for treatment of neurofibromatosis-related pain and concomitant mood disorder: A case report. Cureus11(12).

    Sartim, A. G., Marques, J., Silveira, K. M., Gobira, P. H., Guimarães, F. S., Wegener, G., &Joca, S. R. (2021). Co-administration of cannabidiol and ketamine induces antidepressant-like effects devoid of hyperlocomotor side-effects. Neuropharmacology195, 108679.

    Spinella, T. C., Stewart, S. H., Naugler, J., Yakovenko, I., & Barrett, S. P. (2021). Evaluating cannabidiol (CBD) expectancy effects on acute stress and anxiety in healthy adults: a randomized crossover study. Psychopharmacology238(7), 1965-1977.