Can CBD help you quit smoking?
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It’s no secret that we all have bad habits. Whether it’s slouching, too much fast food, not exercising, or looking at a screen before bed (guilty), these rituals can be challenging to shed. Why are we talking about bad habits? Because some people are still trying to get rid of perhaps the biggest culprit of them all: Smoking.
According to a University of Waterloo paper, in 2017, the overall prevalence of smoking in Canada affected approximately 4.6 million Canadians. But there is a silver lining; Statistic Canada tells us that there has been a decline in smokers in 2018 from 20% to 18% in males and from 15% to 13% in females.
With these declines in smoking, there are bound to be individuals needing help with quitting smoking; as many know, quitting cold turkey is easier said than done. Why is smoking so difficult to quit? The main reason, unsurprisingly, is nicotine. There are products that help with steering you away from the act of smoking itself and lead you in the direction of a nicotine patch, vape, or gum, however, this fails to address the root cause and simply replaces one vice with another. These products still contain nicotine and may make it even harder to quit once a new method of delivery is established.
The good news is that there may be another way to help curb those cravings in an all-natural way: cannabidiol, or CBD for short.
Why are people addicted to smoking?
Nicotine is the prevalent drug found in cigarettes that creates dependence and makes you crave more. The effects of nicotine are similar to that of amphetamines, in that it speeds up a person’s reaction time and increases their attention and focus.
When you smoke a cigarette it only takes six to ten seconds for the nicotine to reach receptors in your brain and deliver its effects. This instant gratification is one of the main reasons smoking is so addictive. After smoking your last cigarette, someone addicted to nicotine will eventually experience a negative change in their mood; not surprisingly, this withdrawal from nicotine can be very uncomfortable. Many smokers report feeling anxious, irritable and restless when they try to stop smoking – and experience relief from these symptoms as soon as they smoke again, another reason this habit is so hard to kick.
Benefits of quitting
Kicking the habit is easier said than done, however looking at the benefits of quitting is often enough to commit to a change. Of course, you’ll save money however the health benefits to your body both in the short and long term are the most substantial. Some short-term benefits include improved sense of smell and taste, reduced blood pressure, reduced risk of heart attack, improved circulation, airways in your lungs relax, and teeth gradually stop yellowing. Longer-term benefits include reduced risk of gum disease, tooth loss, and perhaps most significantly, a drastically reduced risk of cancer, stroke, or heart attack. In fact, 15 years after quitting smoking virtually all of the damage previously caused by smoking has been restored to that of a nonsmoker.
There is no true treatment for nicotine addiction, and pharmaceutical companies typically tend to wean you off your nicotine addiction in a slow and consistent manner by using a patch or gum. One of the issues with this approach is that you are still getting that nicotine to which you are still addicted. These treatments are not foolproof and many individuals relapse due to a variety of issues, such as inaccurate dosing.
If you’re looking at the traditional treatments and you’re thinking “I’ve tried it and it didn’t work for me” or “Is there a natural way of quitting smoking?”, there may be a solution you haven’t yet considered that could help address your addiction: CBD.
Benefits of using CBD to quit smoking over traditional treatments
We already know the benefits of what CBD can do to the body such as help with pain management, sleeping, and dietary purposes, but can CBD really help you quit smoking? CBD has been proven to help the body in a variety of ways, and it may even help you curb nasty habits.
In a study conducted in the UK in May of 2018, they examined a variety of potential side effects of CBD on smoking behaviour. They used a double-blind method consisting of 30 dependent smokers. Each individual was given 800mg of CBD orally or a placebo. Participants were then shown picture cues such as parties, drinking, other people smoking and were examined for withdrawal, cravings, heart rate and blood pressure. In the end, the study concluded that a single 800mg dose of CBD helped reduce the craving of tobacco cues compared to the placebo group.
Dr. Tom Freeman, Senior Academic Fellow at King’s College London had this to say to iNews UK about the study: “These findings suggest that cannabidiol has promise as a novel treatment for tobacco addiction,” and later on added: “It might be particularly effective when abstinent smokers are exposed to cues that trigger a relapse, such as when they are with a friend who lights a cigarette, or in a particular place they associate with smoking.”
Colleague Professor Yasmin Hurd, director of the Addiction Institute at the Mount Sinai hospital in New York had this to add: “Taken together, these studies suggest CBD could play a key role in helping other people give up smoking.”
After reading these studies it is still clear that more research is needed to conclusively determine how CBD can help you quit smoking, however, we can safely say we are moving in the right direction. Finding the right CBD product for you can be a handful but to help you out we would recommend using one of the tinctures provided by resolveCBD. If you are unsure what concentration you should be taking we also offer a quiz that can help you determine what is the perfect dosage for you.
Ultimately, the preliminary research done on the effects of CBD to help you stop smoking are quite promising. CBD could truly help someone manage their cravings. This is just the tip of the iceberg. As the years go on and as more research accumulates relative to CBD and smoking addiction we will have more data relevant to CBD and addiction in general which will aid in making more educated recommendations. But at this moment in time, we can say that CBD could help you and fight this nasty habit afflicting millions of Canadians and is worth trying given the benefits.