Introduction: Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a major public health crisis worldwide. Patients with OUD inevitably experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to taper down on their current opioid use, abstain completely from opioids, or attempt to transition to certain medications for opioid use disorder. Acute opioid withdrawal can be debilitating and include a range of symptoms such as anxiety, pain, insomnia, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Whereas acute opioid withdrawal only lasts for 1-2 weeks, protracted withdrawal symptoms can persist for months after the cessation of opioids. Insufficient management of opioid withdrawal often leads to devastating results including treatment failure, relapse, and overdose. Thus, there is a critical need for cost-effective, nonopioid medications, with minimal side effects to help in the medical management of opioid withdrawal syndrome. We discuss the potential consideration of cannabidiol (CBD), a nonintoxicating component of the cannabis plant, as an adjunctive treatment in managing the opioid withdrawal syndrome. Materials and Methods: A review of the literature was performed using keywords related to CBD and opioid withdrawal syndrome in PubMed and Google Scholar. A total of 144 abstracts were identified, and 41 articles were selected where CBD had been evaluated in clinical studies relevant to opioid withdrawal. Results: CBD has been reported to have several therapeutic properties including anxiolytic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic, analgesic, as well as reduction of cue-induced craving for opioids, all of which are highly relevant to opioid withdrawal syndrome. In addition, CBD has been shown in several clinical trials to be a well-tolerated with no significant adverse effects, even when co-administered with a potent opioid agonist. Conclusions: Growing evidence suggests that CBD could potentially be added to the standard opioid detoxification regimen to mitigate acute or protracted opioid withdrawal-related symptoms. However, most existing findings are either based on preclinical studies and/or small clinical trials. Well-designed, prospective, randomized-controlled studies evaluating the effect of CBD on managing opioid withdrawal symptoms are warranted.
- nonopioid adjunctive treatment
- opioid use disorder
- opioid withdrawal syndrome
- withdrawal management