Quitting smoking is hard, and the science behind why it’s so difficult to quit smoking is crystal clear: Nicotine is addictive. According to the World Health Organization(WHO), more than 1.1 billion people smoke globally. That is why smoking is the world’s leading preventable cause of death. So, how can you use cannabidiol (CBD) to quit smoking?
To successfully stop smoking, you’ll need to address both the addiction and the habits and routines that go along with it. But it can be done. With the right support in the form of CBD and a quitting plan, any smoker can kick the addiction — no matter how many times you’ve tried but failed before.
Yes, indeed, CBD has the potential to be or is the next big way to break smoking habits.
Since long, cannabis has been considered as a ‘drug of abuse’. However, in the recent past, an increasing number of research has indicated that either the plant itself or its compounds are beneficial in treating addictions. Cannabidiol features properties that act as an intervention for addictive disorders. In particular, CBD is an aid for quitting smoking.
How is tobacco affecting public health?
As per a report published in 2014 by the World Health Organization, tobacco contains more than 7,000 chemical substances. Out of these, 250 are known to cause harm to health and 69 are among the leading causes of cancer.
- Economic losses and deaths due to smoking: According to another study published by the WHO, tobacco continues to be the principal preventable cause of death across the world. Tobacco is responsible for killing 6 million people throughout the world each year. At the same time, it also causes an economic loss which is estimated at over half a trillion dollars.
- Health issues due to tobacco: According to this report, tobacco can cause medical problems such as shortness of breath, asthma, respiratory infections, cancer, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, pulmonary disease, osteoporosis, cataracts, hip fractures, vascular disease, infertility and impotence.
- Attempts to stop smoking by people: To further support this statement, the latest report released by the Global Tobacco Surveillance System shows that there are approximately 1,300 million smokers across the world. Out of these, about 25 million have made at least one attempt to quit smoking at some point in their life.
Is it the nicotine addiction or the tobacco habit?
Drug addiction is a chronic disease. Experts view addiction as a brain disease. Also, tobacco addiction is one form of addiction that has one of the lowest cessation rates. Drug addiction is a relapsing brain disease that leads to a situation where the compulsive drug seeking and using takes over a person’s life from time to time. This impacts the consumption, thereby, leading to harmful consequences to not only the addicted individual but also the ones around him or her.
As per the conventional wisdom of our society, tobacco addiction is more or less equal to the pharmacological effects of nicotine. When it comes to drug addiction in general and tobacco addiction in particular, the problem can be attributed to a disorder of the brain caused by a pharmacological agent, which, in layman terms, is defined as a habit.
Moreover, this habit develops over time and not because of the effects of the substance but, instead, because of the behaviours involved in seeking and consuming the particular substance. With time, it becomes increasingly difficult to correct these habits. In addition, the rates of tobacco cessation by pharmacological means are distressingly low.
Therefore, it is very much clear that tobacco proves to be addictive, but the fact that it contains nicotine is probably the least significant aspect of that. It is the habit, which generally develops over time, that makes it so difficult to correct and improve one’s behaviour.
As humans, we develop habits based on our everyday behaviour. And, the more ingrained the habit is, the more difficult it becomes to change it. Also, versatility and generalisation make the habit of smoking difficult to correct.
How can CBD be used to treat tobacco addiction?
There is ample evidence available to prove that cannabinoids help fight addiction. Multiple studies have proved that CBD and cannabis-based products can help fight alcohol addiction, tobacco addiction and opiate addiction.
If you’re addicted to smoking, CBD products such as a Vape Pen may help to reduce cravings, thus leading you on the path of success in regard to quitting smoking.
A 2018 study showed that CBD reduced attentional bias. Attentional bias is responsible for the obsessive thoughts that occur with addiction. It can also be used to predict how successful a person will be when he or she tries to quit smoking.
The endocannabinoid system plays a major role
The endocannabinoid system is a biochemical communication system that exists in every living being. It helps maintain homeostasis of the body. This system plays a major role in addiction, thus making people believe that adding cannabis and or CBD can reduce addictive behaviours and overall addiction to smoking or nicotine consumption.
Related: The Effects of CBD on the Human Body
Cannabis and CBD can help lessen and relieve many of the following symptoms associated with tobacco withdrawal: anxiety, headaches, tremors, excessive sweating, irritability and mood swings, difficulty in sleeping and gastronomical disorders.
CBD to quit smoking — what does the research have in store?
In the recent past, two interesting studies on the role of CBD in quitting smoking were conducted by the University College London.
The first study, which was published in 2013, gave dependent smokers a CBD inhaler while other smokers were given a placebo inhaler to use whenever they felt the urge to smoke. Researchers found that those using a CBD inhaler reduced their cigarette consumption by 40 percent, unlike those using a placebo.
Hence, it was speculated that drugs such as CBD alter the endocannabinoid system and are an effective treatment for nicotine addiction.
Another double-blind randomised study that was conducted in 2018, gave some dependent smokers 800 mg of CBD while others were given placebo. Participants were then shown ‘pictorial tobacco cues’ and were examined for signs of withdrawal, cravings, heart rate and blood pressure.
It found that the ‘pleasantness’ of cigarette cues was reduced in the group that was given CBD compared to the placebo group.
How to use CBD to quit smoking
You can consume CBD in a variety of forms. While some people prefer to ingest CBD tinctures orally, others prefer vaping. There are tons of CBD products available. They all come with their own set of characteristics, and their effects vary from individual to individual. But, in general, most of them will help with quitting smoking.
Quitting smoking is hard and it is not everybody’s cup of tea — however, where there is a will, there is a way.
Fortunately, there are many high quality CBD products available that have undergone lab tests and are free from all foreign particles.
If you’re addicted to smoking or tobacco, consider adding a little bit of CBD to your everyday routine and see which positive effects it will have on your quality of life and health.