Written for Daily Hive by Skye Life Ventures.
The health benefits of medicinal cannabis, especially CBD, are widely known. Often used as a solution to a number of problems, like pain management, nausea, anxiety, and depression. Cannabis can also be paramount in making better, healthier decisions. Recently, research into whether or not cannabis can help overcome addiction has been conducted.
Cannabis and addiction
Often, neuroscientists will use rats to test properties of addiction. They train the animals to do a task, like pressing a lever, rewarding them with positive (a dose of an opioid) or negative (an electrical zap) rewards when they complete the task. Rats are highly motivated when they’re rewarded with opioids but, when introduced to CBD, they don’t press levers quite as maniacally. This suggests that CBD helps block the addictive effects of opioids on your brain.
Dr. Yasmin Hurd, PhD, the Ward-Coleman Chair of Translational Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai, authored a study on the effects of CBD on people who used to have a heroin addiction. The study used triggers designed to initiate cravings — like videos of injections and photos of drugs — to see how the test subjects reacted. They used a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled design for the study.
“The specific effects of CBD on cue-induced drug craving and anxiety are particularly important in the development of addiction therapeutics because environmental cues are one of the strongest triggers for relapse and continued drug use,” stated Dr. Hurd.
The results showed that CBD “significantly reduced both the craving and anxiety induced by drug cues” in the test subjects. Additionally, the effects of CBD are long-lasting in helping to curb addiction-related cravings and anxiety. This means that “CBD holds significant promise for treating individuals with heroin use disorder,” states Dr. Hurd. “A successful non-opioid medication would add significantly to the existing addiction medication toolbox to help reduce the growing death toll, enormous health care costs, and treatment limitations imposed by stringent government regulations amid this persistent opioid epidemic.”
Cannabis and healthy lifestyles
Cannabis can contribute to healthy lifestyles in other ways, too. While there is often a lot of anecdotal evidence surrounding the benefits of cannabis, research-based studies typically fall short when involving the plant.
Here are a few occasionally anecdotal but still relevant ways cannabis can contribute to a healthy lifestyle:
Cannabis and exercise
The human body stores THC in fat cells and as the body burns off fat, small amounts of THC are released back into the bloodstream. This can assist the ‘runner’s high’ people typically experience with exercise.
Cannabis and sleep
Interestingly enough, there have been many studies into how cannabis can improve sleep and treat insomnia. The relationship between THC and falling asleep faster, whether or not people suffering from PTSD can rely on cannabis as a sleep aid, and if cannabis can help with sleep apnea have all been studied.
Cannabis and headaches
Topical cannabis treatments are said to help relieve headaches, especially when paired with mint. Research also shows that cannabis can help ease the pain of migraines and possibly even keep them from starting.
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