Norman-A study published on August 9th by researchers out of the University of Mississippi shows that cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive derivative of cannabis, successfully blocks the opioid receptors in the brain, effectively halting the “reward” component of opioid use that leads to addiction. From the abstract:
“This study sought to determine whether the cannabis constituent cannabidiol attenuates the development of morphine reward in the conditioned place preference paradigm. Separate groups of mice received either saline or morphine in combination with one of four doses of cannabidiol using three sets of drug/no-drug conditioning trials…
…when administered alone, this dose of cannabidiol was void of rewarding and aversive properties. The finding that cannabidiol blocks opioid reward suggests that this compound may be useful in addiction treatment settings.”
The conclusions of the research have, so far, not received as widespread attention as seems to be deserved, considering the implications for how to approach the devastating opioid epidemic currently sweeping the country.
The study is also not the first investigation into the effects of cannabis in the treatment of opioid addiction. A review of the current literature reveals that cannabidiol attenuates the cravings and other withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid addiction.
A 2015 study, “Cannabidiol as an Intervention for Addictive Behaviors: A Systematic Review of the Evidence”, found preliminary evidence of CBD’s importance in mitigating stimulant reward receptors, allowing for a far smoother transition out of addiction.
Marijuana’s effectiveness in treating addiction isn’t limited to heroin alone, but also addiction to other hard drugs such as cocaine and meth. In a study published in 2013 by the National Institute of Health, researchers found that “cannabinoids modulate brain reward systems closely involved in stimulants addiction, and provide further evidence that the cannabinoid system could be explored as a potential drug discovery target for treating addiction across