There are tens of millions of Americans who smoke cigarettes and millions of others who are suffering from smoking-related diseases. It is not easy to quit smoking and those stuck in the throes of nicotine addiction are often looking for all the help they can get.
Increasingly, research suggests that CBD oil may be able to help people quit cigarettes where previous methods and attempts have failed.
If you’re looking to kick your nicotine habit, here’s what you need to know about how CBD oil might help.
Nicotine addiction is the number one reason cigarette smokers struggle to quit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that more people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than any other drug. What’s more, the research suggests nicotine may be as addictive as cocaine or heroin.
In a 2013 study, researchers tested the efficacy of inhaled cannabidiol (CBD) on smokers who wanted to quit cigarettes. The study lasted a week and included 24 test subjects. Half the group was given CBD, and the other a placebo; when the test subjects felt the urge to have a cigarette, they were told to use the CBD or placebo inhalant provided to them first.
In the end, the results were encouraging:
The 12 participants who received CBD reduced the number of cigarettes they smoked by about 40%, while the placebo group saw no reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked.
CBD oil is becoming well-known for its potential in the treatment of a wide variety of health conditions and diseases. When it comes to cigarettes, many smokers are triggered by stressful situations. If this sounds like you, CBD oil could be a much healthier tool for managing these emotions, as there have also been recent and promising findings on using CBD oil to manage anxiety.
The cycle of addiction can impact an individual in a number of different ways. Beyond triggers in the environment, addiction is impacted by both emotional and cellular memory.
The brain has a natural desire to create links. Anyone who has tried to quit smoking will know all too well that during that first coffee of the day, or perhaps after a meal, the desire to have a cigarette suddenly amplifies as the brain connects that activity to the action of smoking. Breaking this chain of learned memories and reinforced behaviors can be a long process, and is one which adds another hurdle to quitting cigarettes.
Encouragingly, there is evidence to suggest CBD oil may be able to help loosen the grip of these habitual triggers.
A 2017 study on rats found that CBD disrupted the process of forming and reinforcing a preference for a specific environment based on its ties to addictive substances (in the study’s case, cocaine and morphine). The study concluded with remarks on the significant “therapeutic potential” of CBD in breaking the cycle of addiction and relapse where reliance on drugs was shown to be contextual, tied to certain memories, environments, or situations. So when it comes to quitting nicotine, CBD oil may help reduce the addictive associations formed between cigarettes and certain situations in which you’d habitually smoke.
While initially quitting cigarettes can take an enormous amount of effort and self-control, continuing to stay away from smoking can be equally as challenging. While there’s yet to be studies on CBD oil’s effect on nicotine addiction specifically, ongoing research is producing promising results as far as using cannabidiol to stave off relapses.
Of note, a 2018 study on rats addicted to alcohol found that “CBD attenuated context-induced and stress-induced drug seeking without tolerance, sedative effects, or interference with normal motivated behavior.” With these results in mind, CBD oil may help you manage the urge to reach for a cigarette in especially triggering or stressful situations.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well-being and happiness. Nicotine triggers a release of serotonin, which translates to the feelings of calmness and contentment associated with cigarette smoking. However, in between—and while quitting—cigarettes, nicotine withdrawal starts to set in and the decreased levels of serotonin in your brain can result in decreased energy, moodiness, anxiety, and depression. This is when you start to crave that next smoke.
The cyclical and addictive nature of these serotonin peaks and troughs are one of the reasons nicotine users find it so difficult to quit.
CBD oil can activate the brain's 5-HT1A receptor, which boosts the availability of serotonin in a similar way to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. (CBD oil is also being researched as a potential aid in managing depression.) So, CBD oil may help reduce the stress, anxiety, and irritability associated with attempts to quit smoking.
More than just elevating mood, CBD oil can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of quitting cigarettes. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD oil may be able to reduce the headaches and other pains experienced when giving up nicotine.
Finally, people who find it difficult to go to sleep at night without a cigarette may find it easier to fall asleep with CBD oil. CBD oil has been found to help people reach and maintain restful, restorative sleep without the unwanted effects often associated with prescription sleep aids. And for those who need a cigarette to get moving in the morning, you’ll be relieved to hear that CBD oil, when taken in small doses, can have an energizing effect.
There are a few different delivery formats available for administering CBD oil. In general, they will all be effective but when it comes to quitting cigarettes, some will be better than others.
When using CBD oil to quit smoking, the best delivery method may be a CBD vape. Part of what makes it so difficult to quit smoking is the reinforced habitual nature of it. The ritual of smoking—being able to step outside and bringing the cigarette to your lips—is a big part of what makes cigarettes pleasurable and difficult to give up. CBD oil vapes provide a way to ease out of nicotine addiction without having to break the physical habit of smoking.
In periods of sudden stress, when someone would ordinarily go have a cigarette, they can vape instead. The inhale-exhale action will be largely the same, but a nicotine-free CBD vape pen can deliver calming, relaxing effects in a matter of minutes. The effects do not last as long as with other CBD oil delivery formats, but vaping CBD oil is ideal for on-the-spot relief and sudden nicotine cravings. And as a bonus, CBD vapes produce practically no odor, so you’ll enjoy the act of smoking without that infamous, lingering cigarette smell afterwards.
People looking to stop all smoking-related behaviors may find CBD oil drops or tinctures are the answer to sudden cravings. While drops do not take effect as quickly as vaping, they are still relatively quick to provide relief. The cannabidiol is absorbed into the bloodstream through the thin skin under the tongue, bypassing the digestive system and going to work typically within 30 minutes to an hour. What’s more, the effects of CBD oil drops can last for hours, meaning you likely will only need one or two doses in a day. CBD oil drops come in small, portable bottles making it easy to redose when needed.
Other CBD oil products like edibles and capsules can also be incorporated into your daily routine to reap the potential anti-inflammatory, serotonin-boosting benefits of CBD oil. Because these ingestion methods have to be metabolized through the digestive tract, they can take up to an hour to work, but the effects can last most of the day, meaning they will work in the background, subtly helping the brain and body maintain homeostasis.
Before using CBD oil to quit cigarettes, it is best to get advice from your physician, as cannabidiol can interact with certain prescription medications. You might also think about talking to a cannabis doctor who may know a bit more about using CBD to manage addiction. By doing so, you can determine the best dosage and the safest way to use CBD oil.
If you found this article useful, you may also like:
Get the Ultimate CBD Buyer’s Guide and you won’t look at CBD the same way again!