The opioid crisis in the United States has reached a critical level. According to the Center for Disease Control, there were over 200,000 opioid abuse related deaths between 1999 and 2016. By the year 2016, the rate of these deaths was five times higher than it was in 1999. Recent research shows that CBD oil may be an effective alternative to prescription opioid medications.
The Benefits of Opioids and the Risk of Opioid Addiction
Of the deaths related to opioid use in 2016, over 40% involved a legal prescription. Each day in the US, a minimum of 46 people die from prescription opioid abuse. Methadone, hydrocodone and oxycodone are among the most common opioids prescribed by doctors.
Traditionally, opioids were prescribed for short and long-term pain relief. However, research now shows that opioids may not be helpful in the treatment of chronic pain. One study, conducted over a one-year period, revealed that opioid prescriptions were no more useful than non-opioid medications for back and arthritis pain.
Dr. Erin Krebs, the study's lead author and women's health medical director at the Minneapolis VA Healthcare System, stated:
We already knew opioids were more dangerous than other treatment options because they put people at risk for accidental death and addiction. This study shows that extra risk doesn't come with any extra benefit.
The solution? CBD oil is being recognized as a viable option.
The Science Behind CBD Oil
Recent studies show significant promise for pain sufferers. Cannabidiol (CBD) is used by many to relieve chronic pain. Researchers believe the relief comes from the way CBD reacts with receptors, tiny proteins attached to cells, in the brain. CBD acts as a stimulus, sending chemical messages to these receptors.
A review conducted in 2008 revealed the results of CBD use to treat chronic pain between the 1980's and 2007. Researchers concluded that CBD was effective for pain management, without the adverse side effects of so many prescription drugs.
Another study, released in 2016, revealed the pain-relief of rats suffering from arthritis while treating symptoms with CBD. Upon concluding the study, researches determined that CBD reduced inflammation and pain without side-effects.
The study examined the results of transdermal CBD for the reduction of swelling and pain, assessing any adverse effects. CBD gels were applied for four consecutive days after arthritis induction, and joint circumference was measured to determine inflammation levels. Paw response and animal behavior was also assessed to determine the activity levels of the rats.
Results concluded that the transdermal CBD gel significantly reduced joint swelling and activity levels improved. The animals' behavior did not change, meaning there appeared to be zero adverse side-effects.
Progress in Policy
According to a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO), "CBD has been demonstrated as an effective treatment of epilepsy in several clinical trials." They went on to state that "There is also preliminary evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions." The WHO also concluded that "CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile."
The report advised that many countries have already modified their national controls to accommodate CBD as a medicinal product, and that, to date, there are no recorded public health problems associated with the use of pure CBD.
According to an article released by NBC News in April of this year, federal advisors have voted to recommend the first prescription cannabidiol medication. The drug, called Epidiolex, will be used to treat rare and severe cases of epilepsy.
Phillipe Gattone, President and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation, stated:
"Epidiolex represents hope for the many individuals living with intractable seizures and rare epilepsies, who every day face incredible challenges and disabling seizures, and live with the continual risk of serious injury and death."
Over the counter CBD products are already available for purchase all over the country. Through further research and education, the use of CBD products could save countless lives by replacing harmful prescription medications like opioids.
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