The researches find that the reduced cue-induce craving and anxiety in individuals with a history of heroin abuse; suggesting a potential role for it in helping to break the cycle of addiction; according to research conduct at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and publish ; May 21 in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The study also reveal that CBD tended to reduce physiological measures of stress reactivity; such as increased heart rate and cortisol levels; that are induce by drug cues.

Craving and anxiety in individuals

The wide availability and use of heroin and prescription opioid ; medications in the United States during the past decade has resulted in an unprecedented epidemic involving more than 300,000 deaths. Despite this staggering toll; limited non-opioid medication options have been develop. Two of the current options, methadone and buprenorphine; are opioid substitution therapies which work on the same opioid receptors (mu receptors) as heroin and other potent opioid agonists.

These medications, however, carry a stigma as well as their own addiction risk; are mired in tight governmental regulation; and therefore are underutilized by the millions of people diagnosed with opioid use disorder. Such a treatment gap highlights the urgent need to develop novel therapeutic strategies that do not target the mu opioid receptor.

Opioid use disorder

“To address the critical need for new treatment options for the millions of people and families who are being devastated by this epidemic, we initiated a study to assess the potential of a non-intoxicating cannabinoid on craving and anxiety in heroin-addicted individuals;” says Yasmin Hurd, Ph.D., the Ward-Coleman Chair of Translational Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai and first author of the study.

“The specific effects of CBD on cue-induced drug craving and anxiety are particularly important in the development of addiction therapeutics because environmental cues are one of the strongest triggers for relapse and continued drug use.” Previous preclinical work conducted by Dr. Hurd and her lab team at Mount Sinai; in animals with a history of heroin self-administration; demonstrated that CBD reduced the animals’ tendency to use heroin in response to a drug-associated cue.

Non-intoxicating cannabinoid

To determine whether the preclinical work could be translated to humans, her lab then conducted a series of clinical studies that demonstrated CBD was safe and tolerable in humans. The current study used a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled design to explore the acute , short-term ; and protracted (seven days after the last of three consecutive daily administrations) effects of CBD administration on drug cue-induced craving and anxiety in drug-abstinent individuals with heroin use disorder.