Not only does CBD reduce the cravings for opioids, thus aiding with withdrawal symptoms, but it also is a natural pain reliever in and of itself. Doctors prescribe opioids for the management of chronic and severe pain on a regular basis. These opioids bind to the opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. Although opioids are very effective for this reason, they’re also terribly addictive and every day in America 78 people die from overdose.

Animal studies have proven that CBD can aid with withdrawal symptoms. Not only that, but CBD also reduces the rewarding properties of opioids, reducing cravings even more. “If you look at both drugs and where their receptors are, opioids are much more dangerous in part because of the potential for overdose.

The opioid receptors are very abundant in the brainstem area that regulates our respiration so they shut down the breathing center if opioid doses are high,” one doctor involved in the animal studies claims. “Cannabinoids do not do that. They have a much wider window of therapeutic benefit without causing an overdose in adults.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, sales of opioids has quadrupled from 1999 to 2014. The opioid epidemic is only set to get worse. CBD, on the other hand, is non-addictive and does not cause overdose. Researchers are urging doctors to prescribe CBD to their patients rather than opioids. Reducing pain and reducing opioid cravings? What’s not to like?

Even with recent medical marijuana legislation, cannabis is still being neglected as an option for pain management due to a lack of clinical trials. Cannabis needs be tested more on humans, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Unfortunately, clinical trials are hard to get, due to cannabis’ Schedule I classification under the Controlled Substances Act.

Not only is CBD a great alternative to opioids, but think of all the medications being used for anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation, and so much more. These days, doctors throw pills at anything, because there’s a lot of money involved and there are few other effective alternatives. CBD represents a natural alternative that is truly effective, non-addictive, and incredibly safe. The hurdles that stand in CBD’s way can be surmounted, but it will take much time and effort, for both doctors and consumers.