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I think it’s safe to say that through countless online websites, tv adverts, doctors’ advice, and even from the disturbing warning images you see on certain cigarette packs, the majority of people are aware that smoking tobacco can lead to numerous diseases, disabilities and harms such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Even if you are not a smoker, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported in 2016 that it is estimated that second-hand smoke exposure contributes to over 40,000 deaths among non-smoking adults and 400 deaths in infants each year, which is mind-blowing if you think about it.
The global pharmaceutical industry has responded to the combat of tobacco addiction with nicotine patches, pharmaceuticals, nicotine gum, and other smoking cessation means. The issue with these smoking cessation procedures is that is still leaves the consumer with an addiction to nicotine, and while nicotine is naturally found in vegetables and in our bodies, it can be an incredibly addictive substance that can cause some serious withdrawal symptoms – symptoms that usually lead to consumers relapsing on there journey to quitting smoking.
Intense Cravings (For Nicotine)
Increased Hunger, Or Weight Gain
Tingling In the Hands And Feet
Slower Heart Rate
Nausea And Abdominal Cramping
Constipation And Gas
Many studies, previously referenced in our blogs, have shown that CBD can reduce levels of stress and anxiety. Taking into account the above-mentioned withdrawal symptoms, CBD can be a great ally for smokers who are looking to quit, thanks to the perceived calming effects of the cannabinoid.
Morgan et al. (2016) study focused on regular smokers who were looking to quit. The participants were given an inhaler with either CBD or a placebo vaping CBD cartridge. The participants would use the inhaler to combat their urge to smoke. Over the course of the study, the group of participants that were taking the CBD inhaler reduced the number of cigarettes consumed by about 40% (!), while the placebo group showed no reduction.
The research showed how CBD interactions with CB1 receptors could potentially cause a reduction in the boosting properties of nicotine. They also raised speculation that the action of CBD in reducing attention on contextual cues that may be involved in maintenance of nicotine consumption.
A similar study was conducted in 2018 by Hindocha et al. examined a variety of potential positive effects of CBD on smoking behaviour. This randomized study consisted of 30 dependent smokers. Each of the smokers were given 800mg of CBD orally or a matched placebo. The findings showed that a single 800mg dose of CBD could help to reduce the “pleasantness” of tobacco cues compared to the placebo group, especially when participants had abstained from cigarettes overnight as part of the study.
Dr. Englund commented on the findings of this study on iNews UK: “These findings are exciting as they suggest CBD may interfere with some of the underlying mechanisms behind tobacco addiction and could potentially be a treatment for people who are trying to quit.”
Hindocha et. al. (2016) looked at how vaping cannabis is associated with a reduction in tobacco consumption. According to these researchers: “there could be reason to be optimistic about the potential of vaporizers. If vaporizers can reduce cannabis and tobacco co-administration, the outcome could be a reduction of tobacco use/dependence among cannabis users and a resultant reduction in harms associated with cannabis/tobacco. Indeed, if vaping cannabis becomes commonplace in the future, the next generation of cannabis users might never be exposed to nicotine or tobacco in the first place”.
Quitting smoking is a such huge commitment, and not all the traditional solutions work for everyone. While research on CBD effects is still limited, it has been shown that CBD can become a viable solution for cigarette quitters.