Could CBD, THC and painkillers be substitutes for opiates? That’s the question researchers of the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) would really like to answer through a study. The goal is to find out if medical cannabis, in combination with painkillers, could be an alternative for opiates.
Just like CBD, opiates are of natural origin. These substances descend from opium, also known from heroin. Opiates are often being used as strong painkillers, for example after a surgery or when someone is heavily injured. It’s also used when people experience a very severe pain, like when they suffer from multiple sclerose, arthritis or cancer. The problem with opiates are the, often intense, side effects: constipation, drowsiness, dizziness and, above all, addiction.
Bediol of Bedrocan
During the study, they want to use a medical cannabis that contains a higher amount of CBD then THC. The company Bedrocan has the monopoly in The Netherlands on the cultivation of medicinal cannabis. Under the brand name Bediol, they supply cannabis with approximately 8% CBD and approximately 6,3% THC. However, the substitution of opiates by the use of CBD and THC has been studied before.
CBD and THC influence ‘opioid receptors’
Multiple studies have shown that both CBD and THC have a direct effect on the same receptors as opiates. For that reason, medicinal cannabis is used succesfully to treat people with an opiate addiction, even though this is still happening on a small scale. These substances also contribute to pain relief through the endocannabinoid system. By combining these positive properties with painkillers with less side effects, the scientists hope to find a good alternative.