"Is Marijuana The Key To Solving The Opioid Crisis?" - Allie Volpe
The opioid crisis is on the rise, with President Trump declaring it a full-blown public health emergency last year. Researchers are looking at CBD, a compound found in marijuana, to help reduce cravings for opioids and treat chronic pain. While there are currently 17 states with laws that allow for the use of CBD to treat conditions like epilepsy, there are nonetheless extensive government restrictions for researchers who wish to study the drug: they must first get a license from the Drug Enforcement Agency, followed by an OK from the FDA to give the drug to patients. For perhaps this reason, there have been no long-term clinical studies on CBD’s effects on human subjects. “We’ve only done short-term studies,” said Yasmin Hurd, PhD, professor of psychiatry, neuroscience, pharmacology and systems therapeutics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, chair of translational neuroscience and director of the center for addictive disorders at the Mount Sinai Health System. “With many disorders potentially treated by CBD, you’re talking about lifelong diseases. You may need to be using it on a more long-term basis,” Dr. Hurd said of CBD treatment. “The one thing about cannabidiol for opioid addiction is you don’t have to use it daily for it to be effective.” For the last eight years or so, Dr. Hurd has been studying the side effects of CBD when taken orally with opioids. The results have been positive enough to lay the groundwork for future research with human subjects, which will be crucial to the promotion of CBD as a treatment for addiction.
- Yasmin Hurd, PhD, Professor, Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Systems Therapeutics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Chair, Ward-Coleman Translational Neuroscience, Director of the Center for Addictive Disorders, Mount Sinai Health System