Mount Sinai Study Finds CBD Treats Opioid Addiction By Reducing Cravings and Anxiety

Mount Sinai study finds CBD is effective at treating opioid addiction by reducing cravings and anxiety without harmful side effects

Cannabidiol (CBD) reduced cue-induced craving and anxiety in individuals with a history of heroin abuse, suggesting a potential role for it in helping to break the cycle of addiction, according to research conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published May 21 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The study also revealed that CBD tended to reduce physiological measures of stress reactivity, such as increased heart rate and cortisol levels, that are induced by drug cues.

The wide availability and use of heroin and prescription opioid medications in the United States during the past decade has resulted in an unprecedented epidemic involving more than 300,000 deaths. Despite this staggering toll, limited non-opioid medication options have been developed. Two of the current options, methadone and buprenorphine, are opioid substitution therapies which work on the same opioid receptors (mu receptors) as heroin and other potent opioid agonists.

These medications, however, carry a stigma as well as their own addiction risk, are mired in tight governmental regulation, and therefore are underutilized by the millions of people diagnosed with opioid use disorder. Such a treatment gap highlights the urgent need to develop novel therapeutic strategies that do not target the mu opioid receptor.

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“To address the critical need for new treatment options for the millions of people and families who are being devastated by this epidemic, we initiated a study to assess the potential of a non-intoxicating cannabinoid on craving and anxiety in heroin-addicted individuals,” says Yasmin Hurd, PhD, the Ward-Coleman Chair of Translational Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai and first author of the study. “The specific effects of CBD on cue-induced drug craving and anxiety are particularly important in the development of addiction therapeutics because environmental cues are one of the strongest triggers for relapse and continued drug use.”

Previous preclinical work conducted by Dr. Hurd and her lab team at Mount Sinai, in animals with a history of heroin self-administration, demonstrated that CBD reduced the animals’ tendency to use heroin in response to a drug-associated cue. To determine whether the preclinical work could be translated to humans, her lab then conducted a series of clinical studies that demonstrated CBD was safe and tolerable in humans.

The current study used a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled design to explore the acute (one hour, two hours, and 24 hours), short-term (three consecutive days), and protracted (seven days after the last of three consecutive daily administrations) effects of CBD administration on drug cue-induced craving and anxiety in drug-abstinent individuals with heroin use disorder. Secondary measures assessed participants’ positive and negative affect, cognition, and physiological status.

Through the study, 42 drug-abstinent men and women were randomly assigned to receive either 400 mg or 800 mg of an oral CBD solution or a matching placebo. Participants were then exposed to neutral and drug-related cues during the course of three sessions: immediately following administration, 24 hours after CBD or placebo administration, and seven days after the third and final daily CBD or placebo administration. Neutral cues consisted of a three-minute video showing relaxing scenarios, such as scenes of nature, while drug-related cues included a three-minute video showing intravenous or intranasal drug use and exposure to heroin-related paraphernalia like syringes, rubber ties, and packets of powder resembling heroin. Measures of opioid craving, anxiety, positive and negative affect, and vital signs (skin temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation) were obtained at different times during the sessions.

The study team found that CBD, in contrast to placebo, significantly reduced both the craving and anxiety induced by drug cues compared with neutral cues in the acute term. CBD also showed significant protracted effects on these measures seven days after the final short-term exposure. In addition, CBD reduced the drug cue-induced physiological measures of heart rate and salivary cortisol levels. There were no significant effects on cognition, and there were no serious adverse events. The capacity of CBD to reduce craving and anxiety one week after the final administration mirrors the results of the original preclinical animal study, suggesting that the effects of CBD are long-lasting, even when the cannabinoid would not be expected to be present in the body.

Our findings indicate that CBD holds significant promise for treating individuals with heroin use disorder,” says Dr. Hurd. “A successful non-opioid medication would add significantly to the existing addiction medication toolbox to help reduce the growing death toll, enormous health care costs, and treatment limitations imposed by stringent government regulations amid this persistent opioid epidemic.”

Dr. Hurd’s research team is working on two follow-up studies: one delves into understanding the mechanisms of CBD’s effects on the brain; the second paves the way for the development of unique CBD medicinal formulations that are likely to become a significant part of the medical arsenal available to address the opioid epidemic.

Article published by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

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Big Pharma Exec Pushing Opioids Found Guilty of Racketeering

By Arjun Walia

In Brief

  • The Facts: The CEO Insys-Therapeutics and four other executives have been found guilty of racketeering with regards to opioid drugs. They falsified information and bribed many doctors, among other things.
  • Reflect On: When it comes to pharmaceutical products and our federal health regulatory agencies, along with pharmaceutical companies, there is no shortage of deceit and fraud. Why do we continue to trust and use their products?

The term “big pharma” is really making its rounds as more and more people become aware of the fact that the major corporations that manufacture the majority of our “medicine” are actually criminals. The latest example comes from a recent case where a federal jury found multiple top executives of Insys-Therapeutics, a well-known pharmaceutical company that sold a fentanyl-based painkiller (opioids), guilty of racketeering charges and contributing to America’s current opioid epidemic.

Racketeering is a crime committed through extortion or coercion. Intimidation and force are also associated with this charge, and it’s often linked with organized crime, which seems to be a fitting definition for our modern day medical industry. This corporate domination is exactly why, in 2014, the current Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet stated that “the case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.” (source) It’s why Arnold Symour Relman emphasized that the “medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research.” He thought it was  “disgraceful” that the academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry.” (source)

This isn’t a secret, but it’s quite odd how substances like opioids get approved by our federal health regulatory agencies, which have clearly been compromised as well.

In this case, the jury deliberated for two weeks before issuing a verdict against the company’s founder, John Kapoor, as well as four former executives of the company. They found that not only did these people conspire together on how to drive sales of their drug in several unethical ways, but they bribed doctors to prescribe their product and mislead insurers about patients’ needs for the drug as well.

According to the New York Times:

The verdict against Insys executives is a sign of the accelerating effort to hold pharmaceutical and drug distribution companies and their executives and owners accountable in ways commensurate with the devastation wrought by the prescription opioid crisis. More than 200,000 people have overdosed on such drugs in the past two decades. Federal authorities last month for the first time filed felony drug trafficking charges against a major pharmaceutical distributor, Rochester Drug Cooperative, and two former executives, accusing them of shipping tens of millions of oxycodone pills and fentanyl products to pharmacies that were distributing drugs illegally.

Shortly after Insys was given approval to sell their opioid drug, they found one very significant problem. Their drug, a sprayable form of fentanyl called Subsys, was designed to treat cancer patients with acute pain. However, they soon found that their market of cancer patients wasn’t quite big enough to match their profit goals, so they started falsifying information to make it look like patients had cancer so they could sell more of their drug.

The U.S. Department of Justice document reads:

Several pharmaceutical executives and managers, formerly employed by Insys Therapeutics, Inc., were arrested today on charges that they led a nationwide conspiracy to bribe medical practitioners to unnecessarily prescribe a fentanyl-based pain medication and defraud healthcare insurers.

Pretty wild, isn’t it?

This is great, but how deep does the deception go? How much power do these corporations and their executives hold? Below is a great quote from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that explains the issue quite well:

The pharmaceutical companies have been able to purchase congress. They’re the largest lobbying entity in Washington D.C.. They have more lobbyists in Washington D.C. than there are congressman and senators combined. They give twice to congress what the next largest lobbying entity is, which is oil and gas… Imagine the power they exercise over both republicans and democrats. They’ve captured them (our regulatory agencies) and turned them into sock puppets. They’ve compromised the press… and they destroy the publications that publish real science. (source)

We don’t really live in a democracy, we are living in a ‘corporatocracy.’ There are many products manufactured by pharmaceutical companies that are highly questionable in light of evidence like the example above. Take, for example, when pharmaceutical companies were not disclosing all information regarding the results of their drug trials. Researchers looked at documents from 70 different double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) and found that the full extent of serious harm in clinical study reports went undocumented.  (source)

Another great example comes from documents showing that pharmaceutical companies are deliberately concealing information for the sole purpose of getting us to comply with an “official” vaccination schedule. They show that British health authorities have been engaging in such practice for the last 30 years. The 45-page paper with detailed evidence can be downloaded here: The vaccination policy and the Code of Practice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI): are they at odds? by Lucija Tomljenovic, who was part of the Neural Dynamics Research Group, Dept. of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada at the time.

A few years ago, a group of more than a dozen scientists from within the CDC put out a public statement, while remaining anonymous, outlining the big problem of corporate influence and the effect it has on health policy decisions. The documents were referred to as the Spider Papers.  The authors really stressed just how big of a problem this is.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that fraud and corruption exist within many powerful pharmaceutical companies and within other major corporations that manufacture the products we use and consume.

This particular case with regards to opioids is a great step in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go.

Just as we would street-level drug dealers, we will hold pharmaceutical executives responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic by recklessly and illegally distributing these drugs, especially while conspiring to commit racketeering along the way,” said Andrew E. Lelling, the United States attorney in Massachusetts who pursued the case. (source)

But we still have to ask important questions, like why did the FDA just approve a painkiller 1,000 times stronger than morphine?

In the CE article ‘Study Reveals Big Pharma Paid Doctors Millions of Dollars To Push Opioids,’ Kalee Brown makes a cogent argument that the opioid epidemic, which is responsible for at least two thirds of the record 72,000 overdose deaths in the U. S. last year, is the product of a carefully crafted strategy that stems from a sinister alignment of  self-interest between Big Pharma, doctors, and the government. This strategy, it would seem, has no limits to its wickedness:

It’s no secret that Big Pharma is a money-making machine. Many even suggest that they design drugs with negative side effects so you remain sick, thus growing their market of sick consumers — a view supported by the reality that doctors get compensated for selling you drugs, not for getting you off of them.

Something to think about…

The Takeaway

Awareness on such issues is important. We live in an age where spreading information like the evidence shared in this article is incredibly difficult, as information is now heavily censored and blocked. Mainstream media controls the perception of the masses, and big pharma is one of multiple corporations who have been able to compromise them. At the end of the day, our ‘medicine’ makers can be corrupt, but there is a solution, and that’s us. There is no doubt about the fact that people are becoming more health conscious, more interested in alternative health, and more likely to seek out better ways to treat/medicate themselves instead of simply believing a doctor who only relies on pharmaceutical drugs without questioning them.

Arjun Walia — I joined the CE team in 2010 shortly after finishing university and have been grateful for the fact that I have been able to do this ever since 🙂 There are many things happening on the planet that don’t resonate with me, and I wanted to do what I could to play a role in creating change. It’s been great making changes in my own life and creating awareness and I look forward to more projects that move beyond awareness and into action and implementation. So stay tuned 🙂 [email protected]

This article was sourced from Collective Evolution.

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For the First Time, Fmr Big Pharma CEO Arrested for Conspiracy for Fostering Opioid Crisis

By Matt Agorist

From the Sackler family — who has made billions from selling opioids to the masses — to the doctors arrested for pushing their pills on unwilling Americans, lawsuits and charges in the opioid crisis abound. However, the companies responsible for distribution of these drugs have largely gone on unscathed, until now.

In a first in the government’s battle against the opioid crisis, the former CEO of one of the largest opioid distribution companies in the country, Rochester Drug Cooperative, and the company itself have been criminally charged with conspiracy.

According to Federal prosecutors, Rochester Drug Cooperative was charged Tuesday with narcotics conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the United States. The former CEO of the company, Laurence Doud III was charged with narcotics conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York charged Rochester Drug Cooperative (RDC), one of the country’s largest distributors of opioids, with “knowingly and intentionally” violating federal narcotics laws “by distributing dangerous, highly addictive opioids to pharmacy customers that it knew were being sold and used illicitly,” according to a press release, as reported by ABC.

Doud, according to the charges, distributed tens of millions of oxycodone, fentanyl, and other opioids, knowing there was no legitimate need for them.

“Today’s charges should send shock waves throughout the pharmaceutical industry reminding them of their role as gatekeepers of prescription medication,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan said in a statement. “DEA investigates DEA Registrants who divert controlled pharmaceutical medication into the wrong hands for the wrong reason. This historic investigation unveiled a criminal element of denial in RDC’s compliance practices, and holds them accountable for their egregious non-compliance according to the law.”

With all the “shock waves” created by the charges, RDC agreed to non-prosecution consent and will pay a fine of $20 million. As for Doud, who was led away in handcuffs on Tuesday, he faces up to 10 years if convicted.

While many folks might see this as some sort of victory, arresting people to solve a drug problem has never worked. The United States has constantly kidnapped and caged people for selling various substances it deemed illegal, which has created the opposite scenario of the intended outcome.

Instead of deterring drug use, it’s been expanding, getting worse, and drugs have become more available and more dangerous.

This is not to say that companies like RDC shouldn’t bear some of the responsibility for helping to create this opioid crisis. However, what led us into these dark times was trust in a system rife with corruption and ill will.

There are legitimate needs for opioids just like there are legitimate needs for cannabis. But when people are taught their entire lives to blindly trust the medical industry, who clearly chose to deceive them, we end up with problems like we have today.

The government making drugs illegal does absolutely nothing when a person puts blind trust in a medical establishment who then deliberately addicts them to opioids to make billions. Even when it’s illegal, after these people have been duped into their addictions, they still seek it out. This is why we see soccer moms over dosing on dangerous black market fentanyl in front of Hobby Lobby.

The answer lies in legalization and information — not government violence and prohibition. Had these soccer moms and college kids who were duped into believing 100 oxycodone pills, with 5 refills, was needed for a sprained ankle, actually questioned the medical establishment, the likelihood of this opioid crisis ever existing is reduced — and it has nothing to do with whether or not the state says it is legal.

The fact is that some people are freely allowed to market potentially deadly drugs, while others are thrown in a cage for the same activity. This highlights the notion that not all people are equal in the eyes of the state or the law. If you are rich and wear a white jacket and push dangerous drugs on people who don’t need them, you were just fine. However, if you sold a plant, like cannabis, to a willing customer, without the approval of the state, you are a dangerous criminal who needs to be kidnapped, caged, or killed.

It is this utter lack of logic, blind trust in the establishment, and egregious application of state force which has created this opioid crisis in the first place. Continuing to apply these same tactics will only make this problem worse.

Government violence has not and never will be able to stop the sale and use of substances deemed illegal by the state. Granting monopolies on the sale of these drugs to “trusted” sources like the medical industry hasn’t curbed their use either — it’s only created monopolies in the criminal world too. And both the illegal and legal monopolies are thriving thanks to the state.

To be clear, no one here is advocating that the US end the drug war and then start promoting drugs. In fact, if government simply spent a tiny fraction of the money it spends on enforcing the drug war, on educating children, and health and treatment programs instead police action via the drug war, the results would be incredible.

The evidence is there and some states are already considering it. Last year, as TFTP reported, Oregon proposed legislation to decriminalize all drugs, including heroin, cocaine, meth, and ecstasy—because they can see how throwing people in cages for these substances only makes things worse.

Sadly, however, there are far too many people in high places who profit from the prohibition of these substances. The crime created by the drug war is used to justify the need to constantly grow police departments across the country. The drug war has allowed police departments the ability to steal property from otherwise innocent people, making themselves rich in the process.

The illegal drug trade is also used to warrant spending massive amounts of money on people and equipment in the government which do nothing to curb drug use but do everything to oppress citizens. Case in point: the current opioid crisis’ existence in spite of the largest police state in US history.

What’s more, cartels need drugs to be illegal so they can maintain their monopolies on distribution and cultivation to enrich themselves while oppressing citizens around them. The government needs drugs to be illegal so they can rationalize the ever increasing police state.

Big pharma needs drugs to be illegal because many of these illegal drugs are far safer and far more effective than their patented chemical compounds and they hate competition. And the prison industrial complex needs drugs to be illegal so they can enjoy the massive taxpayer-funded windfall they receive from throwing users and small-time dealers in cages.

Unfortunately, neither the left nor the right is able to see this and take proper action. Until we overcome this massive hurdle of state and corporate sponsored prohibition, we can expect to see more soccer moms overdosing in Walmart parking lots and more pharmaceutical companies pushing opioid products.

Indeed, this is already happening. The Sackler family — whose made billions hooking Americans on opioids — already has and FDA-approved cure for the crisis they helped to create, which happens to be manufactured from, you guessed it, more opioids.


Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appeared. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Minds.

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Johnson & Johnson Exposed as “Kingpin” Supplier, Seller, Lobbyist of Opioid Epidemic

By Elias Marat

Transnational corporation Johnson & Johnson has been accused of playing the role of “kingpin” in the nationwide opioid epidemic that continues to claim thousands of lives every year, according to an Axios report.

The pharmaceutical, medical, and consumer goods giant–which holds a range of properties including some of the most recognizable U.S. brands such as Band-Aids, No More Tears baby shampoo, and Neosporin, among others–has been accused by officials in the state of Oklahoma of playing the role of supplier, seller and lobbyist in the global opioid market.

J&J’s work in the painkiller market was done through two subsidiaries, Noramco and Tasmanian Alkaloids, which it sold to a private equity firm in 2016 for $650 million, according to Axios.

The company has long depicted itself as a “family company” operating under the credo:

We are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well.

But the new revelations cast, in sharp relief, how the company pulverized entire communities and destroyed families while raking in massive profits from a crisis that has fed waves of crime and a crisis of addiction and deadly overdoses that claim over 100 lives per day.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has requested that the state release a vast tranche of confidential documents numbering in the millions of pages that Johnson & Johnson was forced to submit during the discovery phase of Oklahoma’s legal fight against the key companies who sparked the opioid crisis.

In his request, Hunter noted:

Oklahomans deserve answers … [we] need to know about how one particular company, J&J, inserted itself into our State and sought to influence every opioid-related decision the State made or considered – from scheduling to swallowing … J&J continues to fight to keep those answers concealed. In the dark. Away from the public.

He added:

The public … deserves to know the full extent of J&J’s efforts to influence policymakers at all levels of government in order to increase sales of their (and their co-conspirators’) drugs.

The litigation hints at how the culpability for the opioid epidemic can hardly be restricted to companies such as Purdue Pharma, the producer of OxyContin. Purdue is currently being sued by Massachusetts for its role in deliberately misleading the public over the lethal dangers of its opioid painkillers.

Yet the new report shows how J&J played a key role in producing the plant materials–such as the raw narcotics from Tasmanian poppy fields–which were turned into the active ingredients of popular opioids, including those produced by Purdue Pharma.

In investor slides, the company also openly boasted of the addictive qualities of its products, noting that its opium poppies “enabled the growth of oxycodone,” while the morphine content of its other poppy was among “the highest in the world.”

In the meantime, the company also reportedly provided funding for pro-opioid advocacy groups such as the Pain Care Forum. Brochures for seniors produced by a company subsidiary also made the ludicrous false claim that “opioids are rarely addictive.” Such propaganda and promotional efforts, referred to as a “pro-opioid echo chamber” in the motion, were a part of the company’s concerted effort to target vulnerable demographic groups, including children.

J&J has lambasted the attorney general’s motion as containing “baseless and unsubstantiated” allegations meant to generate “sensationalistic headlines and to poison potential jurors.” The company has also argued that its subsidiaries, which were sold to private equity firms years ago, “met all laws and regulations.”

Yet it remains obvious, based on the once-confidential material that Oklahoma now possesses, that the company had been making billions of dollars hand over fist while trafficking and hustling addictive substances through what it called its “pain management franchise.”

And as increased calls to tackle the opioid crisis grow louder, from the White House to state legislatures and the streets, it remains clear that the big players who caused the crisis should be exposed from top to bottom, along with their nefarious practices and concerted attempts to mislead and deceive the U.S. public.

This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.

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