July 12, 2023 9 min read
Can CBD Help You Quit Your Nicotine Habit?
As of 2020, 12.5 percent of U.S. adults (nearly 31 million people) smoked cigarettes—about 14.1 percent of men and 11 percent of women. Each day, 1,600 young adults smoke their first cigarette. As such, millions of adult cigarette smokers want to quit and are looking for ways to make this difficult process easier and more effective. Their methods include chewing gum, finding something constructive to do with their hands when the urge to smoke strikes, and quitting “cold turkey.”
Another avenue to smoking cessation gaining a lot of steam is CBD. Given the high volume of internet searches on this topic of “CBD to help quit smoking,” the masses are discovering CBD can help them with their addiction to nicotine and turbocharge their efforts to abstain.
While using CBD to quit nicotine is still lesser known than some other methods, it’s becoming a highly sought-after option to help kick the habit and with the nicotine withdrawals that accompany quitting.
Given that cigarette smoking is becoming less socially acceptable, CBD is fast becoming a go-to for people wanting a safe and healthy away to stop and, subsequently, to avoid the stigma that often comes with cigarette smoking these days.
Smoking Often Starts at an Early Age
According to a report from the Surgeon General, nine out of 10 adults who smoke started before the age of 18, and almost all adults who smoke started by age 26. The report estimates that three out of four high school students who smoke become adults who smoke—even if they start smoking with the intention of quitting a short time later.
From their first “hit” of the nicotine in a cigarette, many like the experience and can become hooked. And given the availability of cigarettes in gas stations and convenience stores alike, it can become difficult for those wanting to quit to avoid the visual cues that lead to continued smoking. Simply stopping smoking can work, but there is an arduous battle ahead. This cold turkey approach is an option for some, but many, understandably, need more help with this gripping addiction.
The first step towards quitting your nicotine habit is recognizing it’s a problem and wanting to stop. Once you decide to stop smoking, CBD could be an important resource and helpful companion. It can help with both the withdrawals and the accompanying cravings that come with the removal of nicotine from your system.
Incorporating CBD into your routine can help you quit smoking and, importantly, help protect your most valuable asset—your health.
CBD to Quit Smoking
If you’ve decided you’re done with nicotine and are committed to stopping smoking, CBD may become an all-important tool. In addition to helping you quit, you just may experience a return to the bounce in your step that often comes with regular CBD use.
Numerous studies show CBD can help with tobacco and nicotine cravings. When you quit smoking your body experiences both mental and physical changes, so first knocking down the cravings is the key to success. In other words, curb those urges and you’ll make the transition easier from smoker to non-smoker. This said, it’s helpful to be mindful that breaking any addictive habit takes time and you may relapse in the process, but you’ll find, over time, cessation becomes easier.
It may be instructive here to take a page from the Alcoholic Anonymous playbook advising you to be prepared to take your resolve one day at a time, and to forgive yourself if mistakes (i.e., relapses) happen. Rome wasn’t built in a day; good things take time. Therefore, with the help that CBD lends to controlling cravings you can quit smoking more quickly. Deciding to entrust CBD in your fight to end your nicotine addiction is a big step in the right direction, and a wise one at that.
A CBD Primer
Cannabidiol (CBD), discovered in 1940, is one of 113 identified cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, which also includes tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and accounts for up to 40 percent of the plant's extract.
CBD is the most prevalent active ingredient, and cannabinoid, in cannabis. The CBD used in supplements is derived from the hemp strain of cannabis, not the marijuana strain.
Hemp and marijuana are “cousins,” if you will, with marijuana having a high concentration of THC and a low concentration of CBD. Conversely, hemp is very low in THC and high in CBD, which is what is desired by providers of CBD products.
CBD has a very positive safety profile because it does not produce a high, thereby reducing, even eliminating, the chance it will be a substance of abuse. Additionally, it’s not addictive, you can’t overdose from it, and carries a minimal possibility for adverse reactions to prescription medications and other natural supplements.
According to the World Health Organization, "In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential,” and posits that there is “no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."
How does CBD work?
CBD binds to and balances a system of neurotransmitters throughout the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). A balanced ECS helps return your body to equilibrium. In doing so it helps stabilize important bodily functions from sleep to mood to addictive cravings.
Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids, but like with any nutrient, they can become depleted over time and require renewal. CBD helps block the breakdown of endocannabinoids, thereby allowing our bodies to draw on more of what it’s already naturally producing. Taking supplemental CBD replenishes this depleted ECS. As such it becomes a helpful response to life’s (physical, mental, environmental) changes and stressors.
The Endocannabinoid System
What does the ECS do? It’s more a case of what the ECS does not do. It’s ubiquitous in the body, involved in about every physiological or biological process and every disease and condition.
The ECS system involves the distribution of substances made in the body called endocannabinoids. These are signaling molecules that maintain balance within the body. The body makes two endocannabinoids that play an oversized role in keeping this balance, or homeostasis, called anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). These endocannabinoids enter cells through receptors on the cell’s surface, specifically CB1, which primarily can be found in the brain, and CB2, which are found throughout our body.
When our endocannabinoids bind with these receptors, they trigger activity in the cell which is thought to include reducing pain, lowering inflammation, and/or decreasing anxiety, all dependent on what receptor they land on and where that receptor is located. Once they done their job, the endocannabinoids are broken down by enzymes and excreted from your body.
When the endocannabinoid system is in balance, so are you—pain is controlled, anxiety is handled, and inflammation is lessened. When the ECS is out of balance, however, problems can occur.
Experts believe that our ECS produces a base level of endocannabinoids. The measure of this level is known as our “endocannabinoid tone.” This level can be determined by genetics and/or affected by lifestyle, but if it’s too low or too high, it can adversely affect our health. With this, it is difficult to overstate the effect of our ECS on our overall health, and in turn, CBD’s role. To put a finer point on this, researchers have identified a minimum of 65 different pharmacological actions of CBD.
How CBD Influences Our Addiction(s)
As addicts, our brain circuitry is out of whack. CBD disrupts and helps get that circuitry back in alignment, meaning it’s thought to break the psychological bridge that rewards addictive behavior by minimizing drug cues and triggers. Cravings typically occur due to exposure to a certain visual cue. CBD reduces addictions by reducing your cravings during those cues. It reduces drug-seeking behaviors and, in turn, can help reduce the chance of relapse.
Researchers believe that CBD interacts with our amygdala, an area of the brain area that deals with addictions. Its impact can vary depending on the type of addiction you’re battling. The advantages that CBD brings to this issue are that its effects are long lasting and its potential for abuse is limited. It bears emphasis that CBD holds potential for relapse prevention along two dimensions: reducing cue-induced behaviors and provides long-lasting effects with only brief treatment. With this, CBD can be an important part of a broad approach to quitting an unhealthy and addictive habit, be it nicotine, alcohol, or illicit drugs.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF STOPPING SMOKING
We all know by now that smoking is a danger to our health, but yet a large percentage (12.5 percent) of adults in our society is addicted to cigarettes. In the spirit of being helpful, let’s review the health benefits associated with quitting nicotine.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Every smoker faces a highly increased risk of developing cancer. Smoking affects the lungs, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, kidney, skin, and more. Fortunately, you reduce your chances of developing many forms of cancer as soon as you quit smoking. Remember, the longer you inhale nicotine, the higher the risk of cancer.
Enhances Blood Circulation
Cigarette smoking’s harmful effect on blood circulation can markedly increase the risk of developing heart issues. When you quit smoking, blood circulation improves and, in turn, significantly reduces your chances of developing these heart issues. After quitting smoking blood circulation can improve within as little as two weeks. Moreover, once you stop ingesting the harmful toxins found in nicotine products, you will also physically feel more active and energetic from your improved oxygen levels.
Improves Taste and Smell
As a smoker, you will never truly enjoy the taste of food and beverages until you quit. This sad-yet-true fact is due to damage smoking causes to your taste buds and nasal cavity. The good news is that after you stop smoking, your nasal cavity starts restoring itself back to health in a few days and you can begin to naturally taste and smell the foods or beverages you were once deprived.
Enhances the Immune System
Smoking damages your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds, the flu and other viruses. To improve your immune system, quit smoking and ingesting harmful cigarette toxins and in the process avoid the inevitable consequences. When you stop smoking your oxygen circulation improves tenfold, resulting in a healthier immune system and less inflammation throughout the body.
Lessens Nicotine Withdrawals
Smoking withdrawal symptoms tend to start a few days after your last cigarette. These symptoms will last a few weeks and will likely stress your mind and body. However, withdrawal symptoms—physical, emotional, and mental—can be reduced with the help of CBD.
The most common smoking withdrawal symptoms include headache, trouble sleeping, anxiety, increased food and nicotine cravings, and blood pressure issues. These symptoms will trigger you and tempt you to pick up another cigarette, if for nothing else than to simply minimize the aggravation. CBD can help you avoid this discomfort. Rather than picking up a cigarette, pick up some CBD instead to help dull the effect of your symptoms.
CBD FOR NICOTINE CESSATION
As you slog through the difficult process of quitting smoking, CBD can help in various ways. Specifically…
It’s no surprise that when you quit smoking your anxiety levels increase. To state the obvious, quitting is stressful. Your body enters fight-or-flight mode as it searches for a quick fix to answer the call of your cravings. CBD can be beneficial as it reduces stress and anxiety and helps restore your body to homeostasis. CBD can help relax you and help you handle stressful situations.
Reduces Physical Stress
CBD contains highly beneficial anti-inflammatory and antiemetic (i.e., anti-vomiting) properties. Due to this inflammation-reducing nature, CBD can help smokers reduce their physical stress through active pain relief. It can help relieve headaches and nausea, reduce swelling caused by drug deprivation, and improve mood which, in turn, leads to a more active lifestyle. Headache and nausea are typical withdrawal symptoms you will face as you quit.
Tamping down the cravings for cigarettes and nicotine products is arguably the most challenging aspect to quitting. There are plenty of distractions that smokers can try—hypnotherapy, acupuncture, putting your face in a bucket of cold ice, the list goes on. CBD can help ease your cravings by helping reduce the visual cues that give you the urge to smoke. So, instead of nicotine, take CBD to reduce the cravings and get back to good health.
CBD will help your body regulate its systems to provide you with a better night's sleep, especially during smoking withdrawal. Six-to-eight hours of sleep is crucial to everybody’s overall health and productivity, but smokes often fall well short of that amount. Health is not just physical; health is the summation of our mind, body, and soul and when one is out of balance, our whole being can suffer. Good physical and mental rest health is essential during the healing process and process and for your well-being and initiate a positive change is to create better sleeping habits.
CBD Products to Use
CBD products come in a variety of forms, including oils, capsules, drink powders, gummies, and more. You should choose the one that best fits your lifestyle.
Having said this, both CBD oil and capsules are convenient to use and offer a high degree of bioavailability, meaning they enter your body via the bloodstream quickly and efficiently, making them ideal choices.
As always, you should consult your doctor before taking smoking cessation supplements.
Some of the Research