It’s been ages since smoking was considered cool and sophisticated and, now that we know about the dangers of smoking, many former smokers have quit their bad habit. Even so, tobacco remains one of the leading causes of health problems in the world and 20% of Earth’s population stillsmoke – that’s 1 BILLION people, for those who are counting.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 14% of Americans over the age of 18 still smoke cigarettes (that’s over 34 million adults!) and over 8 million use smokeless tobacco. The CDC reports that smoking is the number one preventable cause of death and one of the hardest addictions for consumers to quit.
Quitting Smoking – It’s Hard!
According to www.smokefree.gov, because of nicotine addiction, withdrawal and triggers many ex-smokers report that quitting was one of the most difficult things they’ve ever done. Quitting smoking is a struggle to both the physical and psychological well-being. Some of the more common nicotine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Depressive feelings
- Slowed heart rate
- Intense Cravings
- Sore throat
- Nausea and abdominal cramping
- Thinking problems
In addition to the physical withdrawal symptoms, the psychological symptoms of nicotine withdrawal include:
- Low mood and mood swings
- A strong craving for nicotine
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased stress
Can CBD Help You Stop Smoking?
If you’ve ever tried to quit smoking then you know just how difficult it can be and how easy it is to relapse after you quit. There are plenty of products in the marketplace that assist and promise success to potential “quitters” and even a few prescription drugs marketed for smokers. Unfortunately many of these methods, especially vaping, are also harmful to the emotional and physical well-being of the user. But what if there was a natural and safe alternative that helped people quit smoking and tackled both psychological and physical roadblocks? CBD may just be that alternative.
ECS, CBD and Addiction
Recent studies indicate that there may be a link between the endocannabinoid system and addiction, and CBD may be one of the keys to breaking addictive, harmful habits. Brain endocannabinoid signaling influences the motivation for natural rewards (such as food, sexual activity and social interaction) and modulates the rewarding effects of addictive drugs, like nicotine.
Studies done at The Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai in New York City found that CBD reduced drug cue-induced craving and anxiety in the opioid-addicted participants, signaling a possible treatment to heroin, oxycodone and various other opioid addictions. Two follow-up studies are being presently undertaken: one to examine how CBD affects the brain; and another to pursue development of CBD-based treatments for opioid addiction.
Could it also be an effective alternative to help a person quit cigarettes? As is evidenced above, CBD is becoming a widely used treatment for an array of addictions and for pain medication but may also curb the urge to smoke by reducing “reward memories” which cause people to want to smoke when they witness others smoking.
Research Into CBD as a Tool to Help Quit Smoking
In a study published in 2018, Freidbert Weiss shared the potential of using CBD to overcome addiction. The study, which focused primarily on cocaine and alcohol addiction, Although the test was done on rats with regard to cocaine and alcohol addictions it indicated the effectiveness of CBD in that “the results provide proof of principle supporting potential of CBD for relapse prevention“.
There is a long-held belief among the scientific community that if they were able to control the endocannabinoid system then they’d be able to fight addiction. In addition to Weiss’s 2018 study, there were two additional studies undertaken at the University College London on the effectiveness of CBD treatments.
The first study researched smokers who were attempting to quit and were each given an inhaler with either CBD or a placebo vaping CBD cartridge. The smokers were all instructed to utilize the inhalers each time they felt the urge to smoke over the course of a week. . The study’s results showed that the CBD group reduced the number of cigarettes they consumed by about 40 percent while the placebo group showed no reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked. Researchers deduced that “(t)hese preliminary data, combined with the strong preclinical rationale for use of this compound, suggest CBD to be a potential treatment for nicotine addiction that warrants further exploration.”
The next study featured thirty smokers, each of which was given either an 800mg oral dose of CBD or a placebo. Participants were given visual “pictorial tobacco cues” which represented the real-life “tobacco cues” that would cause a smoker to desire a cigarette or situations that would cause a nicotine urge such as alcohol consumption or “social” smoking. Results showed that the group using the 800mg dose of CBD was able to reduce the “pleasantness” of a cigarette to a much greater degree than the placebo group.
How does CBD Help Quit a Habit?
As most smokers and researchers alike know, quitting smoking is more than just overcoming a physical addiction. It’s also about breaking a strong emotional habit that is biologically reinforced by the endorphin release one gets when they light up. This psychological element makes it incredibly hard and stressful for the person trying to quit smoking. Many methods for quitting use replacements for smoking include items that replicate the feeling of holding a cigarette, but these tools don’t offer much in the way of stress relief in the body.
People often keep smoking just because they enjoy the act of inhaling a substance to help them relax. Because it has been proven to relieve anxiety, quality CBD oil could relieve this kind of stress significantly in a way that’s also beneficial to the body.
How to Use CBD to Quit Smoking
Using cannabis as a means to quit is not necessarily a modern concept. People have been replacing their nicotine with cannabis for years. Traditionally people trying to quit smoking Find that the THC present in cannabis, in addition to the CBD, creates a reduced feeling of anxiety and stress. This is obviously problematic for many because of THC’s psychoactive properties. Not only is it illegal in many states but often potential “quitters” do not want the feeling of “high” that accompanies THC intake.
That’s where THC-free CBD comes in. It differs from regular cannabis in that it’s not psychoactive and doesn’t make you ‘high’. It still, however, provides most of the same benefits of cannabis, including stress and anxiety relief associated with nicotine withdrawal.
Vaping….Does It Work and Is It Safe?
As was mentioned above, many theories for quitting smoking are based on replacing regular tobacco smoking with something that is similar but less harmful, like vaping. Vaping has become massively popular, especially among young people but e-cigarettes usually contain nicotine and can be just as harmful to the lungs if used frequently.
Smoking CBD, or “vaping” may offer an alternative to e-cigs and there are some consumers who prefer this form of delivery. Smoking allows CBD to bypass the digestive tract and enter the system through the lungs, making it a fast-acting form of relief but, because of the dangers associated with vaping, Purelix Wellness does not offer smokables and doesn’t recommend this method of ingesting CBD.
Much more research must be undertaken to uncover all of the potential benefits of CBD on the body and the mind. CBD as a tool to combat ALL types of addiction, including nicotine, is a topic that scientists are finding both exciting and promising. We will continue to share what we know so that you, too, can take advantage of CBD as a way to get healthier.