Cannabidiol has the potential to reduce cue-induced craving and anxiety, a treatment option for opioid use disorder

This exploratory double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial was conducted to investigate the potential of cannabidiol (CBD), a nonintoxicating phytocannabinoid, to reduce cue-induced craving and anxiety, two critical features of addiction that often contribute to relapse and continued drug use.

To do so, 42 drug-abstinent individuals with heroin use disorder were randomized to receive either acute, short-term (3 consecutive days) or protracted (7 days after the last of three consecutive daily administrations) cannabidiol (CBD) supplementation (400 or 800 mg, once daily for 3 consecutive days).

 Blood samples were drawn at 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, and 120 min following ingestion.

Results showed that acute CBD administration, in contrast to placebo, significantly reduced both craving and anxiety induced by the presentation of salient drug cues compared with neutral cues. CBD also showed significant protracted effects on these measures 7 days after the final short-term (3-day) CBD exposure. In addition, CBD reduced the drug cue-induced physiological measures of heart rate and salivary cortisol levels. There were no significant effects on cognition, and there were no serious adverse effects.

In conclusion, administration of 400 mg or 800 mg of CBD has the potential to reduce cue-induced craving and anxiety, which provides a strong basis of this ingredient as a treatment option for opioid use disorder.

Hurd YL, Spriggs S, Alishayev J, et al. Cannabidiol for the Reduction of Cue-Induced Craving and Anxiety in Drug-Abstinent Individuals With Heroin Use Disorder: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. Am J Psychiatry. 2019;176(11):911–922.

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