Addiction can alter how the brain functions to keep addicts seeking drugs despite the harm they are causing themselves. The physical, emotional, and mental consequences of addiction are tremendous, and yet, even when an addict loses everything, drugs remain an essential part of the addict’s daily life.
Opioid addiction is tough to kick. From heroin to synthetic opioids and prescription drugs such as morphine and oxycodone, it is hard to go without your daily dose once your body gets used to the drug. Even so, there is nothing you can’t do when you set your mind to it and surround yourself with a strong support group.
Now, with the legalization of CBD, it might be easier to beat opioid addiction without conditioning yourself into another unpleasant habit. With emerging studies proving the health benefits of this natural compound, staying on your recovery path may feel more manageable than you imagined.
What is CBD?
CBD comes from the same plant species as marijuana. What’s different about this natural compound is that unlike marijuana, which can have up to 30 percent THC, hemp-derived CBD has less than 0.3 percent. So when you take CBD, you cannot become high, nor is there a risk of overdosing or becoming paranoid.
With the World Health Organization deeming CBD as safe and countries worldwide legalizing this natural compound, it’s no wonder that the CBD industry is a billion-dollar trade. Brands worldwide deliver high-quality products such as CBD vape pens to help you stay calm, oil tinctures, skincare products, edibles, and the list goes on.
Consumers are turning to CBD to improve their mental and physical wellbeing. Although studies on this cannabinoid are limited, early data shows CBD’s benefits for anxiety and depression, insomnia, diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, skin issues, and more. For opioid addicts, CBD could prove to be a potent natural compound that brings them to the path of recovery.
CBD for opioid addicts
Most addicts steer clear of the recovery path, even when they have lost everything, because they cannot bear the withdrawal symptoms. When you stop using, the aftermath is overwhelming. Addicts suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. Physically, they can experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. While the physical symptoms will subside after a few days, anxiety poses a more significant challenge. During your withdrawal period, you can experience a higher stress level and revert to opioids to appease it. Such cyclical behavior can leave you mentally exhausted as you convince yourself that you can never go without drugs.
CBD can break this cyclical pattern and get you on the right track. In 2009, researchers experimented on rats that were addicted to heroin. The rats would press a lever every time they sought this drug and get a dose. When the rats took CBD, researchers noticed that the creatures did not seek the lever as much as they usually would.
In another report, researchers gave opioid addicts who volunteered for the study a dose of CBD. The results were encouraging. The volunteers did not crave opioids as they usually did. Furthermore, they suffered less from anxiety symptoms. CBD is known to erase feelings of anxiety and leave users with a sense of peace without causing them to feel high. It helps treat this mental health issue thanks to its interaction with serotonin.
The latter is a natural mood stabilizer that provides the feelings of wellbeing we need to avoid anxiety. In studies conducted to date, researchers noted how CBD could trigger the production of more serotonin, or it can help the body make better use of this neurotransmitter. As a result, CBD users experience respite from anxiety. Additionally, CBD’s work on the GABA levels in the brain leads to a significant decrease in anxiety.
Low levels of GABA are associated with anxiety as this neurotransmitter keeps us calm during challenging situations. However, in studies conducted on CBD, researchers noted its potential to increase the levels of this neurotransmitter and help users feel calmer.
Besides relieving anxiety, CBD can reduce cravings as well. In one study, researchers found CBD lowers the intense cravings that come with withdrawal, and that would mean a lesser chance of addicts using again.
CBD and the road to recovery
Lowering anxiety and those intense cravings are fundamental reasons addicts may want to turn to CBD to stay on track with their recovery, but this cannabinoid provides more benefits. For instance, CBD can lower stress by balancing hormones in the body and provide addicts with a good night’s sleep when they experience insomnia. In addition, its rich antioxidant level can help addicts boost their immune system, repair any skin damage and help the body repair itself internally.
Even so, while CBD can be a natural weapon for recovery, it should never be your only answer as an addict. Having a support group that will keep you in check and adopting healthy habits, including exercise, is essential to stay away from your addiction.