In the last two decades almost 400,000 Americans have died opioid-related deaths. That’s roughly the entire population of Oakland California. And it’s just short of the total number of American military and civilian casualties from all of World War II.

The opioid monster is real in this country, and it’s gobbling people up from coast to coast.

Luckily, we may have yet another tool in the fight against that fiend. One that is wholistic, natural and non-addictive. New research published in The American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that CBD might be the next big thing in opioid addiction treatment. Not only because it can offer alternative pain relief, but because it can even diminish an addict’s craving for opiates, scientists say.

Just add it to the list of incredible things this miracle cannabinoid is good for.

"It's not addictive. No one is diverting it. It doesn't get you high, but it can reduce craving and anxiety," study author Yasmine L. Hurd told CNN. “This can really help save lives."

Currently, the most popular treatment options for opioid addiction are 1. Methadone or 2. Buprenorphine, both of which are opioid derivatives. They act as “safe” substitutes for harder opiates like Oxycontin and Vicodin. So, essentially people using them just shift their addiction from one opium-based drug to another and we call it “treatment.”

This new evidence, however, suggests that isn’t the only option — CBD can offer an effective alternative.

For the study, researchers recruited 42 adults from social service groups, halfway houses and treatment centers, all of whom had used heroine for an average of 13 years. Most of the study participants hadn’t even gone a full month since the last time they’d used.

Participants were divided into three groups: one group that was given 800 mgs of CBD, another that was given 400 mgs and a placebo group. Each group was dosed with CBD (or the placebo) once a day for three weeks straight, over which time they were alternatively shown images of nature scenes and images of drug use/heroin-related paraphernalia and asked to rate their cravings/level of anxiety.

Both of the CBD groups experienced a two- to three-fold reduction in their cravings for heroin.

That is huge news for anyone suffering from heroin or opioid addiction. It suggests that there is an effective, wholistic option for prying that monkey off your back. And at the very least, it’s an alternative to try out before resorting to Methadone or Buprenorphine. It can’t hurt right? The most severe side effect the participants reported was mild diarrhea — which is a small price to pay to treat one’s addiction.

CBD’s potential to reduce cue-induced craving and anxiety provides a strong basis for further investigation of this phytocannabinoid as a treatment option for opioid use disorder.” The study concludes.

So, there’s more research still to come, before people start to opening up CBD clinics for opioid and heroin addicts. But for people out there looking for alternative treatments, this is really hopeful news and something that can be experimented with, without a prescription and without the fear of getting addicted to something else.

Which is dearly needed in this country right now.

So many people are dying,” Hurd says “There is a need for developing medications.