Cannabidiol (CBD) Research Program

Research Overview

The Cannabidiol Research Program focuses on the study and development of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, as a potential treatment for opioid use disorder. This line of research is founded on our preclinical animal studies which demonstrated that CBD reduced drug-seeking behavior and normalized neurobiological systems altered by the use of heroin. Subsequently, our initial human studies showed that CBD could reduce cue-induced heroin craving and anxiety in heroin-abstinent individuals. Moreover, CBD had no serious adverse effects suggesting a good safety margin. Our current studies focus on understanding the effects of CBD on the brain as well as conducting clinical trials of CBD formulations as a pharmacological treatment for opioid use disorder.

Ongoing projects

Neuroimaging CBD Impacts On Heroin Craving (IRB # 19-01724)
The purpose of this research is to study the effects of CBD on the brain using non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in individuals with opioid use disorder.
*If you are interested in participating, please call 212-585-4673*

Cannabidiol for Opioid Addiction (IRB Study # 21–00607)
This is a Phase 2 study to conduct a double-blind (placebo-controlled) randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on cue-induced craving and anxiety in individuals with opioid use disorder who are maintained on opioid agonist therapy. In addition to in-lab physiological and behavioral assessments, real-world measures will be monitored with electronic tools over multiple weeks.
*If you are interested in participating, please call 212-585-4653

Literature/ Publications/ Presentations

Hurd, Y. L., S. Spriggs, J. Alishayev, G. Winkel, K. Gurgov, C. Kudrich, A. M. Oprescu and E. Salsitz (2019). 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: appiajp201918101191.

Hurd YL. Cannabidiol: Swinging the Marijuana Pendulum From “Weed” to Medication to Treat the Opioid Epidemic, Trends in Neuroscience, 40(3):124-127, 2017.

Hurd YL, Yoon M, Manini AF, Hernandez S, Olmedo R, Ostman M, Jutras-Aswad D. Early Phase in the Development of Cannabidiol as a Treatment for Addiction: Opioid Relapse Takes Initial Center Stage. Neurotherapeutics, Oct;12(4):807-15, 2015. PMCID: PMC4604178.

AF Manini, G Yiannoulos, MM Bergamaschi, S Hernandez, R Olmedo, AJ Barnes, G Winkel, R Sinha, D Jutras-Aswad, MA Huestis and YL Hurd. Safety and pharmacokinetics of oral cannabidiol when administered concomitantly with intravenous fentanyl in humans. Journal of Addiction Medicine, 9(3):204-10. 2015. PMCID: PMC4449284.

Ren, Y., Whittard, Higuera-Matas, A., Morris, CV, Hurd YL.   Cannabidiol, a nonpsychotropic component of cannabis, inhibits cue-induced heroin-seeking and normalizes discrete mesolimbic neuronal disturbances. Journal of Neuroscience, 29:14764-9, 2009.

Featuring in Media

Could CBD help opioid users overcome addiction? – TEDMED Talk by Dr. Yasmin Hurd

The Washington Post
"Amid Flood of CBD Products, FDA holds First Public Hearing on Cannabis Extract" - William Wan
May 31, 2019

CBD Reduces Craving and Anxiety in People With Heroin Use Disorder
May 21, 2019

NBC News
"CBD Oil May Help Limit Cravings and Anxiety in Heroin Users, Study Finds" - Shamard Charles, M.D and Ali Galante
May 20, 2019

The New York Times
"Can CBD Really Do All That?" - Moises Velasquez-Manoff
May 15, 2019

ABC News
"Everything You Need To Know About CBD" - Briana K. Stewart
March 11, 2019

Spectrum - NY1 News
"How Safe Is Food With CBD?"
February 07, 2019

The New Yorker
"Keep Calm And Live In New York City -The Promise Of CBD" - Rachel Syme
July 19, 2018