Updated on January 31, 2024

CBD for opiate withdrawal

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Key takeaways

  • CBD may improve symptoms of opiate withdrawal by interacting with the endocannabinoid receptors.
  • Research shows that people who use CBD have reduced cravings for opiates.
  • CBD shows milder side effects when compared to opiates.
  • CBD is not addictive hence does not produce withdrawal symptoms.

CBD may be an effective agent in reducing symptoms of opiate withdrawal and other forms of addiction. In this article, we would discuss the possible roles of CBD in opiate addiction and how people can benefit from it.

Overview of opiate withdrawal

Opiate withdrawal refers to the set of symptoms that occur when an individual who has developed physical dependence on opioids abruptly reduces or discontinues their opioid use. Opiates, including prescription painkillers like oxycodone or hydrocodone, as well as illegal drugs like heroin, can lead to dependence when used regularly.

Common symptoms of opiate withdrawal

  1. Flu-Like Symptoms: Body aches, fever, chills, and sweating.
  2. Gastrointestinal Distress: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.
  3. Agitation and Anxiety: Restlessness, irritability, and heightened anxiety.
  4. Sleep Disturbances: Insomnia or disturbed sleep patterns.
  5. Muscle Pain: Aches and pains in the muscles and joints.
  6. Dilated Pupils: Enlarged pupils and sensitivity to light.
  7. Autonomic Hyperactivity: Increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Withdrawal from opioids is typically not life-threatening but can be extremely uncomfortable, prompting individuals to continue opioid use to avoid these symptoms.

Does CBD work for opiate withdrawal?

Yes, information from research shows that CBD may hold a promise for addressing opioid withdrawal. A noteworthy 2021 study highlighted CBD's potential in alleviating key symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal, specifically anxiety and nausea. The findings suggested that individuals undergoing opioid withdrawal experienced a reduction in these distressing symptoms when supplemented with CBD. Additionally, the study unveiled an intriguing correlation: individuals managing pain consumed less opioid medication when concurrently using CBD.

How does CBD work for opiate withdrawal?

While the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, research suggests several ways in which CBD may potentially work for opiate withdrawal:

  1. Interaction with Endocannabinoid System: CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating various physiological processes, including those related to addiction and withdrawal. This interaction may help modulate the effects of opiate withdrawal.
  2. Neurotransmitter Modulation: CBD may influence neurotransmitter systems involved in addiction, such as the serotonin and glutamate systems. This modulation could contribute to managing withdrawal symptoms.
  3. Anti-Anxiety Effects: CBD has demonstrated anti-anxiety properties, which could help alleviate the psychological distress often associated with opiate withdrawal.
  4. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: CBD's anti-inflammatory effects may contribute to reducing physical discomfort during the withdrawal process.
  5. Neuroprotective Properties: CBD's neuroprotective effects might provide support to the central nervous system, which undergoes changes during opiate withdrawal.

Benefits of CBD compared to opiates

CBD and opioids are distinct compounds with different mechanisms of action. Here are some potential benefits of CBD compared to opiates:

  1. Lower Risk of Addiction: CBD is not considered addictive and has a lower risk of dependence while opioids carry a high risk of addiction and dependence, contributing to the opioid epidemic.
  2. Safety Profile: CBD is generally considered safe with minimal side effects and a low risk of overdose. Opiates in contrast, have a higher risk of side effects, including respiratory depression, constipation, and a significant risk of overdose.
  3. Versatility in Use: CBD has been studied for various conditions, including anxiety, epilepsy, and chronic pain. Opiates on the other hand are primarily prescribed for pain management, with potential limitations on long-term use.

Frequently asked questions

Are there side effects attached to using CBD?

While generally considered safe, CBD may cause mild side effects in some individuals unlike opiates. Common side effects include fatigue, changes in appetite, and diarrhea. Additionally, CBD may interact with certain medications, affecting their metabolism. High doses of CBD might lead to drowsiness or sedation.

Does CBD produce withdrawal symptoms?

CBD is non-addictive, making it distinct from substances like opioids. Due to its non-psychoactive nature, CBD is unlikely to lead to dependence or withdrawal symptoms when used independently. This characteristic has contributed to the growing interest in CBD as a potential therapeutic option without the concerns associated with substance dependency.

Can CBD help with cravings?

Yes, CBD shows promise in managing addictive behaviors by potentially helping with cravings. Research suggests that CBD's interaction with the endocannabinoid system may modulate addictive tendencies, providing a supportive avenue for addiction treatment.

Want to Learn More?

  1. How CBD Can Benefit Athletes
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  5. Why People Need Different Dosage of CBD?


Kudrich, C., Hurd, Y. L., Salsitz, E., & Wang, A.-L. (2022). Adjunctive Management of Opioid Withdrawal with the Nonopioid Medication Cannabidiol. In Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research (Vol. 7, Issue 5, pp. 569–581). Mary Ann Liebert Inc. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2021.0089

Wiese, B., & Wilson-Poe, A. R. (2018). Emerging Evidence for Cannabis' Role in Opioid Use Disorder. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 3(1), 179-189. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2018.0022

Rivera-Garcia, M. T., Rose, R. M., & Wilson-Poe, A. R. (2023). High-CBD Cannabis Vapor Attenuates Opioid Reward and Partially Modulates Nociception in Female Rats. Addiction Neuroscience, 5, 100050. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addicn.2022.100050

Navarrete, F., Gasparyan, A., & Manzanares, J. (2022). CBD‐mediated regulation of heroin withdrawal‐induced behavioural and molecular changes in mice. In Addiction Biology (Vol. 27, Issue 2). Wiley. https://doi.org/10.1111/adb.13150

Wiese, B., & Wilson-Poe, A. R. (2018). Emerging Evidence for Cannabis' Role in Opioid Use Disorder. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 3(1), 179-189. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2018.0022

The content on Nesa's Hemp blog is for educational purposes only. We meticulously research and cite our sources, but advise consulting a professional before making decisions based on our information. We derive our content from reputable studies and publications, but individual circumstances may vary. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of our content to every situation. Nesa's Hemp blog and its authors are not liable for any loss or inconvenience resulting from reliance on our information. By using our blog, you waive any claims against us regarding the accuracy or completeness of our content.

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