CBD is a trendy cannabis product that shows up in everything from beauty products to gummy bears. CBD oil is said to treat a range of ailments including anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation and pain, among others.
A new study shows that CBD oil may help with heroin cravings. The study showed that “CBD administration significantly reduced both cravings and anxiety,” especially in individuals with heroin use disorder. So what is CBD oil and how does it work?
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant. Cannabinoids are naturally occurring chemicals that have drug-like effects on the body.
Our bodies have an endocannabinoid system that deciphers signals from cannabinoids. It also produces them, just not the ones found in cannabis.
When CBD enters the body, endocannabinoid receptors in different parts of the body activate, creating the desired side effects.
CBD is one of the non-intoxicating cannabinoids, meaning that it does not get people high. The cannabinoid most commonly associated with getting high is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.
THC affects the specific endocannabinoid receptors located in the brain. CBD uses the endocannabinoid system differently, by activating or inhibiting other compounds in the body rather than the brain.
How Can CBD Oil Help with Cravings?
A recent study with CBD showed that people with opioid use disorder were able to reduce their cravings and anxiety by taking CBD. No serious side effects were found, in addition to no significant effects on cognition.
Researchers also found that these results were not just subjective measures of cravings or anxiety. They found actual physiological changes, such as decreased heart rate and decreased levels of stress hormones.
One question that many people ask is if CBD is addictive? They may also wonder if people using CBD are using it to replacing one addiction with another. However, the World Health Organization states, “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”
Is It Legal?
The short answer to that question is: it depends. The exact legal status of CBD is complicated, as there are differences between each state, as well as at the federal level. However, as long as CBD is derived from hemp, contains less than 0.3% THC and is grown by a licensed grower, it is legal.
CBD oil is largely unregulated, which makes it difficult to know if the product purchased is safe and effective. Therefore, it is important to discuss the consumption of any CBD products with a health care provider.
The only FDA-approved CBD product at the moment is called Epidiolex, which is used to treat two rare types of epilepsy. The FDA is learning more about CBD and the safety of CBD products to better understand how the substance affects people’s health.
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Morales, Paula; et al. “Molecular Targets of the Phytocannabinoids: A Complex Picture.” 2017. Accessed June 25, 2019.
National Institute of Health. “Marijuana as Medicine.” 2018. Accessed June 25, 2019.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “What to Know About Products Containing Cannabis and CBD.” 2019. Accessed June 25, 2019.
Zou, Shenglong; Ujendra, Kumar. “Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System.” 2018. Accessed June 25, 2019.