Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the US.(1) But it remains one of the hardest habits to kick.
You’re here because you’ve heard about the relief CBD could provide for many wellness concerns. Less anxiety. Reduced pain. Better sleep. These are just a few of the benefits CBD enthusiasts have experienced from this little cannabinoid.
But does it help you quit smoking? Can it abate the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking cessation?
Let’s clear the smoke on whether CBD can help you set those ciggies aside for good.
Why’s it so difficult to quit? The answer has to do with nicotine.
Nicotine is an addictive substance. So when you stop smoking, not only do you continue to crave nicotine, you also start experiencing some other uncomfortable sensations.
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms:(2)
Withdrawal symptoms begin within the first 24 hours after your last smoke. The symptoms generally hit their peak by the third day, then gradually lessen in intensity. Withdrawal isn’t forever, but it can be incredibly unpleasant and last up to 3-4 weeks.
Before we get into how CBD can help with drug addiction, we need to briefly mention the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system has an essential role in regulating our body’s processes and maintaining homeostasis.
Researchers believe that the ECS regulates the rewarding effects of addictive drugs.(3)
It’s thought that CBD interacts with your ECS to produce varying effects. One of which is helping to reduce drug addiction.(4) Put another way, CBD can interrupt or modify how your body interprets those addictive drugs so that they don’t seem so rewarding. It could help lessen their grip on you.
CBD is short for cannabidiol — the second most prevalent cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It’s the most prevalent cannabinoid in the hemp subspecies so you’ll find lots of hemp-derived CBD products. Though it comes from the cannabis plant, CBD does not have any intoxicating effects.
CBD has demonstrated its potential as a wellness supplement through numerous studies on various mental and physical health conditions.
So, it may come as no surprise that CBD may help ease some of the challenges of quitting tobacco. Here’s the unfiltered lowdown on what we know so far.
A 2013 study by University College London demonstrated CBD’s potential to help smokers stop their use of tobacco.(5) In the study, 24 smokers were given either an inhaler of CBD or an inhaler with a placebo. They were told to use the inhaler when they had the urge to smoke. At the end of the week-long study, those given the CBD inhaler smoked 40% fewer cigarettes.
Now put that in your pipe and (don’t) smoke it!
Another study looked at the effect of CBD on the brain chemistry aspects of tobacco addiction.(6)
Participants who were given 800mg of CBD orally, showed less “attentional bias” (i.e, paid less attention) to cigarette and tobacco-related pictures than those given a placebo. The CBD group also rated the tobacco-related pictures as less pleasant than the placebo group.
These results suggest that CBD may have an impactful effect on the brain pathways involved in altering addiction.
Circling back to nicotine withdrawal. Research has shown that CBD could help alleviate those cloying withdrawal symptoms. CBD may offer extra support as you go through your withdrawal phase because it has the potential to:(7, 8)
The more we study CBD, the more we find out about the many different bodily functions it helps regulate. And, correspondingly, we gain a greater understanding of how CBD may aid would-be non-smokers become actual non-smokers.
You may be worried that using CBD to quit smoking will result in a new addiction. Obviously you don’t want to trade one addiction for another. That’d be like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Well, you can rest easy. Simply put, CBD is not addictive.(9) So, by switching from using cigarettes to taking CBD, you’re not going to get addicted to CBD.
It’s thought that this is because CBD — unlike THC — has no intoxicating or drug-like effects. In fact, several studies suggest that CBD has promise as a treatment for drug addiction.
CBD may give you the added support you need to go from a >0-packs-a-day habit to a 0-packs-a-day healthier lifestyle for good. With that in mind, here are a few tips for using CBD products to battle nicotine addiction and withdrawal.
Stopping smoking can be hard, but having a plan helps. If you’re looking for a natural ally as you ditch tobacco, CBD might be an effective aid.
Research suggests that CBD may:
If you do decide to work CBD into your smoking cessation plan, be sure to choose hemp-derived CBD products for optimal support.
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