Marijuana component may help with opioid addiction treatment

(CNN) — A new study indicates that cannabis might help people struggling with addiction to heroin and other opioids.

That’s according to a recent review of studies that was published in the journal Trends in Neuroscience.

The review examined multiple studies and found that states with legalized marijuana reported a reduction in opioid use. They had fewer prescriptions for opioid painkillers, a lower number of opioid overdoses than states without medical marijuana, and reported fewer opioid-involved car fatalities.

Ninety-one Americans die every day from opioid overdoses and 80 percent of new heroin users say they started out misusing opioids.

The review suggests that one particular component of marijuana — cannabidiol, or CBD — shows promise for treating opioid addiction. Researchers say CBD has minimal side-effects and no toxicity. This makes it hard to misuse and its strong safety profile even makes it suitable for use by children.

The lead author of the review says the potential addiction-curbing properties of cannabis need more study to establish appropriate formulations and formal protocols to administer it.

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