New York, NY: The use of CBD can mitigate various symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal and it should be considered as an adjunctive treatment for patients, according to a review of the relevant literature published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.
Researchers affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai identified 41 clinical studies evaluating the use of CBD for symptoms relevant to opioid withdrawal.
They reported: “Growing evidence suggests that CBD may have the potential to reduce anxiety, pain, and insomnia with also some signals for reducing craving, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, and blood pressure. These clinical symptoms are commonly observed in OUD [opioid use disorder] patients undergoing withdrawal, indicating that CBD could potentially be added to the standard opioid detoxification regimen to mitigate acute withdrawal-related symptoms as well as protracted withdrawal symptoms.”
They concluded: “In summary, CBD has a good safety profile, is well tolerated with opioid agonists, and reduces key withdrawal symptoms. … Easing withdrawal symptoms with CBD could improve clinical outcomes by keeping patients engaged in treatment, facilitating smoother transition to MOUD [medications for opioid use disorder] like buprenorphine or extended-release naltrexone, and helping with tapering of opioid agonist treatment or opioid analgesics.”
Cannabis use is frequently reported among patients withdrawing from opioids. According to a 2020 review paper, “[E]vidence … demonstrates the potential [of] cannabis to ease opioid withdrawal symptoms, reduce opioid consumption, ameliorate opioid cravings, prevent opioid relapse, improve OUD treatment retention, and reduce overdose deaths.”
Full text of the study, “Adjunctive management of opioid withdrawal with the non-opioid medication cannabidiol,” appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. Additional information appears in NORML’s fact sheet, ‘Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids.’