CBD vs. Opioids

CBD, CBD, CBD. Is there anything the plant compound doesn’t do?

Actually… yes, there is.

CBD doesn’t cause severe side effects. It c an’t be overdosed on, either, and it’s not addictive. And these many negatives make CBD a seemingly ideal replacement for opioids. Here’s an in-depth look at what you need to know.

The Problem with Opioids

The numbers on the opioid epidemic are astonishing. As of 2016, 11.4 million people have misused opioids, several million of them intentionally, and since then things have probably gotten worse. In 2017 the Department of Health and Human Services declared opioid use a public health emergency.

Courtesy of the Department of Health and Human Services

How Did We Get Here?

In the early 90s, pharmaceutical companies encouraged doctors to prescribe opioids by claiming that their risk of addiction was low. Though opioids were originally meant for cancer patients, their scope branched out, too. All of a sudden, opioids were being recommended for any type of intense pain…even those without scientific backing.

By the end of the 90s, America was hooked. 86% of opioid users were taking the drugs for non-cancer pain. Liberal prescriptions fed a steady stream of illegal use, too, and things only got worse as many addicts turned to heroin.

The number of opioid-related overdoses spiked, and in 2016 there were over 20,000 deaths attributed to the synthetic opioid fentanyl alone.

CBD vs. Opioids

Why are opioids so addictive? The reason is simple: they’ve been manufactured to directly bind to endorphin receptors.

Their action is so direct, and so unnatural, that it hijacks the brain’s normal chemical balance. And that leads to uncontrollable cravings. While CBD has few side effects because it gently interacts with many receptors, opioids do the exact opposite. Opioids over-excite the brain (kind of like MSG does), while CBD calms it down.

Opioids also easily cross the blood-brain barrier. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as CBD acts the same way — but in the case of opioids, it only makes their side effects even more potent.

Long term opioid use has other implications. A brain on opioids will lose certain connective pathways, forget memories, and even shrink in volume (!) over time. By manipulating neural circuits that store memories, opioids are able to gain even more of a mental stronghold.

Thankfully, though, these changes can be undone. CBD has the ability to directly reverse opioid addiction, something that’s been observed on a widespread scale. It is anti-addictive in nature as well. A side by side comparison of the two might leave you wondering why things got this bad in the first place!

Prescription Opioids:

  • Kill 44 people each day.
  • Make up over 70 percent of all drug overdoses.
  • Together with illegal opioids, take nearly as many lives as car accidents.
  • Cost the economy~50 billion dollars each year in healthcare costs, court fees, etc.

CBD, on the other hand:

  • Has resulted in zero documented fatalities.
  • Together with cannabis, is thought to reduce opioid prescription and abuse.
  • Together with cannabis, generates ~100 million dollars tax revenue each year, per state!

In the past US government officials seemed reluctant to acknowledge these stats. That might’ve been because opioids were just too profitable, a motive the U.S. Senate Committee uncovered in a 2018 investigation. The Department of Health and Human Services’ 5 point plan doesn’t mention anything about CBD, and seems to focus on the need for “better research” while ignoring some of the fantastic research that’s already out there.

But times are changing. Numerous universities and health centers are beginning to do the clinical research needed to validate CBD’s painkilling properties. How do we know? Because we’ve partnered with some of the best of them!

The VA is seriously interested in CBD, too, which shouldn’t be surprising when you consider just how much it could help PTS-stricken, injured veterans. Despite past struggles things are finally looking up!

You too, can look up — even if your pain has made you turn to less-than-healthy solutions in the past.