A new chapter in the world of medicine. CBD for pain relief and opioid addiction treatment.

TUT Staff
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The problem of pain has been known for thousands of years. According to statistics, one in five adults in Europe suffers from chronic pain to date. These people lose sleep, appetite, suffer from depression and lose their ability to work. They can’t live normally without adequate pain relief. With the rapid development of medical technologies in the 21st century, the situation has changed. Let’s clarify what is the real cost of pain relief today.

All pain can be divided into two broad categories:

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  • Acute pain. 
    • The cause of acute pain is generally known;
    • The pain lasts from three to six months;
    • Responds well to medications;
    • Pain is accompanied by anxiety.
  • Chronic pain. 
    • In the majority of cases, the cause of chronic pain is unknown;
    • The pain lasts from six months and longer;
    • Doesn’t respond well to the meds; 
    • Pain is often accompanied by depression.

To be able to live a normal life, most people suffering from chronic or acute pain take strong painkillers – opioids. These medications represent a diverse class of strong painkilling drugs such as:

  • fentanyl;
  • oxycodone (same as Percocet and Oxycontin);
  • hydrocodone (same as Vicodin and Norco).

Besides the doubtless advantages of opioids, all of them lead to one significant problem that has gained a large scale today – the opioid epidemic. The opioid epidemic occurs in the case when addictive opioid drugs become overused or misused. This epidemic causes a significant medical, social, and economic consequences, and in many cases, may lead to overdose deaths. 

Nevertheless, even with the high risk of overdose and addiction, the opioid substances remain the most effective and popular painkillers worldwide. In many cases, it is justified by opioids efficiency and availability worldwide. For acute pain treatment, opioids are still the most potent medications, while for chronic pain, their use became controversial due to the high related risks that often outweigh the benefits of drugs. 

In the USA, the opioid crisis began in the 1990s and began to grow. Currently, the number of deaths because of the drug overdose has overstepped the mark of 70 000, thereby placing the problem of the opioid crisis on the top of the global world problems of the 21st century. 

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The US occupies the first place in the opioid crisis. The prescription rates there are forty times higher in comparison with other countries. Canada is the second-highest per-capita user of prescription opioids. In 2017, 3987 opioid-related deaths were recorded. In the United Kingdom, the opioid crisis problem hasn’t got such a large scale yet. However, the number of deaths related to medications poisoning has reached 4359 in 2018, and the opioid drugs constituted the bulk of this number.  

A modern alternative to opioids? Cannabidiol for acute and chronic pain relief

The availability of opioids is one of their main benefits. Although there is another side of this coin. According to statistics, almost three million people per year die all over the world without an adequate pain relief. The main part of these cases occur in middle and low-income countries. To date, the US produce and import thirty times more pain relief medications than it needs, while countries such as Nigeria receive less than 0.2% of the amount they need. The world wealthiest countries use 90% of all the opioids in the world without giving any chances to countries with a low-income. It is another reason, together with the opioid crisis problem to find a powerful alternative to opioids.  

Recently, the perspective solution has appeared on the horizon – one of the latest research revealed an ability of CBD (or cannabidiol) to work as a potent painkiller. According to the obtained data, cannabidiol can create pain-relieving molecules that are fifty times stronger than world-famous aspirin. Such discovery offers a great potential for CBD (LINK https://alphagreen.io/ ) to become not just a powerful alternative to opioids, but also surpass them in other parameters such as addiction absence. 

The opioid addiction crisis is classified by the Canadian government as a public health emergency of the 21st century. To date, new marijuana laws give a green light for the CBD oil to substitute opioids, thereby significantly reducing the number of opioid drugs prescribed for pain relief. Cannabidiol will be able to provide patients with naturally derived pain treatment, eliminating the risk of overdose and addiction and significantly reducing the number of opioid-related death all over the globe.  

Mechanism of cannabidiol work

Being a promising substitution of opioids for pain relief, CBD can’t stand aside. Let’s find out what is happening with our bodies when taking CBD oil as a painkiller. 

The response of our organism to pain is regulated by different areas of our brain, including our internal cannabinoid and opioid systems. While being in stress or pain conditions, our body releases endocannabinoids and endorphins trying to put organisms to the previous balance. According to several preclinical studies, external cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol, can significantly enhance the response to pain by binding with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).   

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Many people in the US suffering from pain claimed they have been substituting their opioid-based products with medical cannabis for pain relief. For today, three possible patterns of cannabis use are:

  1. alternative;
  2. complementary;
  3. a tapering-off mechanism to prescribed drugs.

Among the main reasons to consider cannabidiol as a potent substitute to opioids are:

  • fewer side effects;
  • reducing potential harm;
  • acting more quickly;
  • better management of symptoms. 

Bottom line

Cannabidiol has got high popularity worldwide due to its unique abilities to treat a lot of various conditions starting from anxiety and epilepsy. Ability to cope with nausea, migraines, inflammation, anxiety, psychosis and mental disorders, seizures, depression, and, of course, the pain has made CBD the real breakthrough in the world of medicine in the 21st century. Due to a wide range of possibilities of use, cannabidiol studies and research are continuing, confirming or refuting the already known benefits and revealing the new ones. 

Pain, both acute and chronic, remains an urgent issue nowadays. Physicians all over the world need to impose a strict limit on the use of opioids and raise awareness of the new non-opioids. CBD appeared as a perspective treatment for chronic pain, and there is a need to continue research, start clinical trials, and highlight the main pros and cons of cannabidiol use. The final decision of whether CBD has a chance to replace opioid drugs or not should be taken as soon as possible. 

Altogether, we are the main characters in this game and the main drivers of CBD development. Maybe today is a tipping point that will change history forever?  

References

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2677000?redirect=true
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25846617
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26271952
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26103030
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28861489
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28945457
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28496355
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28861516
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opioid_epidemic
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opioid_epidemic_in_the_United_States
https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/cannabis-opioid-crisis-canada-1.5370683
https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/news/20190521/could-cbd-treat-opioid-addiction
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02684-4
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6301389/
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325936.php#1
https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/news/20190521/could-cbd-treat-opioid-addiction
https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/psych-congress/innovative-non-opioids-chronic-pain-ketamine-and-cannabidiol
https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/substance-use-disorder/cannabinoids-chronic-pain-opioid-alternative
https://adai.uw.edu/pubs/pdf/2018cannabissubstituteforopioids.pdf
https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03734731
https://alphagreen.io

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