Mainstream media and alternative media have agreed that there is an opioid epidemic in America. The presidential administration declared the U.S. opioid crisis a national public health emergency in October 2017. An article published in the Sept 2017 Annals of internal medicine described opioid use at 91.8 million (37.8%) of American adults used prescription opioids in 2015. Of those individuals, 11.5 million of them misused or abused their medications.

Many of these opiate users, and ultimately medication abusers, have desperately sought relief from acute and chronic pain.  Statistics show that 80% of individuals are likely to experience back pain at some point in their lives. Also, many cancer patients are subject to opioid prescriptions as apart of their pain management protocols while on chemotherapy and recovering from surgery and radiation therapies. These patients that seek care from Medical doctors and other drug physicians may attain temporary relief of pain but at the cost of severe side effects on the internal organs and high risk for addiction. In fact, a staggering 1.9 million American adults suffer from some form of opiate addiction. Additionally, statistics demonstrate that 80% of heroin users utilized prescription opioids before using heroin. Although prescription of opioid medications is common practice in the medical community, studies suggest that use of opioids DO NOT produce any long-term effective results for the treatment of pain, and patients have increasingly sought out an alternative, natural solutions to deal with their pain.

There is excellent evidence suggesting that CBD and other phytocannabinoids can serve a role in reducing the burden of the opioid epidemic. One study demonstrates that CBD interferes with the reward-based mechanisms in the brain responsible for the highly addictive properties of opioids. Other studies have demonstrated CBD acts as a direct agonist of the TRPV1 pain channels, modulates serotonin receptors, and acts as an allosteric regulator for mu and delta opioid receptors, and can be effective in ameliorating acute and chronic pain symptoms. Additionally, in heroin addiction, a study suggests that the single administration of CBD even maintained a decrease of general craving for more than 24 hours, along with numerous benefits in anxiety and other psychological manifestations of chronic opioid and heroin use. The pharmacological and clinical implications of CBD continues to grow and suggests the significant role of CBD in addiction disorders and in relieving its associates neurological, psychological, and physical symptomatology.

While there is excellent evidence for the beneficial effects of THC and other more psychoactive cannabinoids in alleviating chronic pain, the NON PSYCHOACTIVE realm of phytocannabinoids seems to be preferable in recovering addicts. It is important to educate individuals on the neurophysiological role of the human endocannabinoid systems, and the actions of CB1, CB2, TRPV1, GPR55, and PPARy receptors culminating effect as a homeostatic regulator of endogenous opioids and opioid receptors. The safety profile of using non-psychoactive cannabinoids has demonstrated benign side effects, and ought to be considered in the bigger picture of medical and holistic practice. 

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This article is not meant to diagnose, treat, or mitigate any sort of disease, conditions, cancer or pathology. Please consult with your physician if you have questions about CBD, opioids, addiction, or chronic pain.