Study finds CBD oil limits cravings and anxiety in heroin users

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An interview with Dr. Michael Lewis, MD

Founder of the Brain Health Education and Research Institute

Listen HERE

New weapon arrives in the war on drug abuse:

Study at:

Individuals suffering from heroin and opioid use disorder may have a new, natural, non-prescription medication for breaking their drug addiction: CBD oil extracted from the hemp plant.

In a study published in the May, 2019 online edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers at Mount Sanai Hospital reported that CBD (cannabidiol), a non-psychoactive chemical compound naturally occurring in hemp and cannabis plants, was able to reduce cravings and anxiety for individuals attempting to break their addiction to heroin drugs and showed significant promise for treating individuals with heroin and opioid use disorder.

“Researchers looked at 42 drug-abstinent men and women with heroin use disorder,” says Dr. Michael Lewis, founder of the Brain Health Institute. “Half of the group, who had recently stopped using heroin, received CBD — 400 mg or 800 mg once daily — and the other half received a placebo. Participants were then exposed to pictures designed to trigger drug cravings.”

Dr. Lewis says that individuals who received CBD had significantly reduced drug cravings. Researchers also found that the participants reported less anxiety when looking at pictures of people using drugs. Additionally, CBD seemed to have a lasting effect — the drug continued to reduce cravings and anxiety for seven days, well beyond the time the drug is expected to be present in the body.

Measurements of vital signs including skin temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation were obtained at different times during the sessions. To the researchers’ surprise they found that CBD reduced heart rate and salivary cortisol levels, which typically increase when anxiety provoking images are shown to addicts.

“These findings support the idea that CBD may be a promising tool for curbing opioid addiction,” says Dr. Lewis, who uses CBD oil in his own practice to mitigate patient anxiety and depression which typically accompany the concussions and traumatic brain injuries which he treats at his clinic.

Dr. Lewis says the specific effects of CBD on drug craving and anxiety induced by the environment are particularly important in the development of effective addiction therapies because environmental cues are one of the strongest triggers for relapse and continued drug use.


1. What is CBD? (cannabidiol)

2. Why is CBD able to curb heroin cravings?

3. The use of heroin seems to be increasing. Why is its use on the rise?

4. Does CBD curb cravings for other drugs?

5. What amount of CBD is recommended for curbing drug cravings?

6. Does CBD have any adverse side effects?

7. Can you share examples of how you use CBD at your clinic?

8. In addition to reducing anxiety and cravings, what are some other health benefits that are available by supplementing the diet with CBD?

9. For your patients you recommend a CBD product called PlusCBD Oil. Why is this CBD formula preferable for therapeutic applications?

10. How can listeners get more information about CBD and its uses?


Dr. Michael D. Lewis is an expert on nutritional and holistic interventions for brain health, particularly the use of omega-3 fatty acids and hemp-derived CBD oil for the prevention, management, and rehabilitation of concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI). He founded the Brain Health Education and Research Institute ( in late 2011 upon retiring as a Colonel after a distinguished thirty-one-year career in the US Army. His pioneering work in the military and since has helped thousands of people around the world and is regularly featured in the media, including CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, MD, show and numerous radio shows and podcasts. A graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and Tulane University School of Medicine, Dr. Lewis is board-certified and a fellow of the American Colleges of Preventive Medicine and Nutrition. He completed postgraduate training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Johns Hopkins University, and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. He is currently in private practice in Potomac, Maryland (BrainCARE,; is a consultant to the US Army and Navy as well as several organizations, institutes, and nutrition companies around the world; and is a founding member of the Pop Warner Youth Football Medical Advisory Board.

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