Can CBD really help you quit smoking? Studies show that CBD can ease smoking withdrawal. Here’s how goodleaf CBC vapes and drops help you quit the habit. Although cannabis has long been considered as a “drug of abuse”, in recent years an increasing number of studies published in the biomedical literature indicate that either the plant itself or some of its compounds may be of use in treating addictions. For example, a recent review sets out the current evidence on the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in modulating
Can CBD Help You Quit Smoking?
Can CBD help you quit smoking? More importantly, how does it help you quit?
Although your pack a day habit may not seem that bad in the greater scheme of things. Smoking may be as socially normalised as alcohol – it is still one of the most addictive substances out there, however.
Like any other addiction, cigarette dependence is caused by habit and is highly influenced by several environmental (external) and internal triggers. The brain creates links to certain visuals or behaviours (like seeing someone smoking in a movie, or associating a cigarette with having your morning coffee) that amplify one’s desire to smoke.
Because smoking is legal, and cigarettes are widely available at every single store in the country, it is even harder to stop smoking.
Simply stopping is half the battle. Once you decide to make the decision, you will need to get through withdrawal. This can be a challenge for many soon-to-be-former-smokers. Mentally and emotionally, it is also hard to adjust after breaking a habit.
The good news is that it gets easier the longer you go without smoking. And the even better news is that CBD can help you quit smoking.
Using CBD to quit smoking
If you are thinking about using CBD to quit smoking, there are numerous benefits that it can offer as you go through the process of quitting. Studies show that CBD helps with cravings as well as withdrawal symptoms that make it so easy to slip back into the habit.
Just like quitting any other addictive substance, quitting smoking is a process. It is a mental, emotional and physical challenge.
Getting through the process with the help of CBD and other strategies can make it far easier to not only stop the habit but also avoid relapsing later down the line.
Before we share some studies and show you how CBD drops and vapes can help you quit, let’s take a look at why it is so important to ditch those cigarettes.
How does CBD powder work?
As we mentioned above, CBD is not soluble by nature. Cannabinoids are hydrophobic, which means that they do not bond to water.
To make it able to dissolve in liquid, CBD has to be isolated into tiny molecules that can dissolve more easily. When it is broken down into small particles, it becomes water-compatible and able to blend with water molecules.
The process of emulsion enables the tiny oily cannabinoid nanoparticles to dissolve in liquid without beading. It also helps to fast-track absorption in the body, as the CBD is broken down enough to pass through the bloodstream and into the cells.
This means that dissolving CBD sachets can have a faster effect than other types of edibles. Let’s have a look at the science behind faster absorption.
Health benefits of quitting smoking
Health benefits of quitting smoking include the following:
Reduced cancer risks.
Cancer is one of the biggest risks for all smokers. Although the risk won’t happen for a few years, eventually you will lessen your risk of lung, oesophagal, kidney, pancreatic, and bladder cancer. The longer you continue to avoid nicotine, the lower the risk of cancer gets
Improved blood circulation.
Heart issues are a major risk with smoking. Blood circulation starts to improve from as early as two weeks after you quit. Your risk of heart attacks is reduced and it will be easier to be active. You’ll have more energy, too, thanks to the increased oxygen levels in your body.
Better taste and smell.
Food, beverages and everything else will taste and smell better, too. As smoking causes damage to the sensitive nerve endings in the nasal cavity and mouth, these senses are dulled. They can regrow within a few days after quitting.
Stronger immune system.
As smoking affects your immune system, it is easier to catch colds and every other virus doing the rounds. When you stop, your circulation is improved, inflammation is reduced and oxygen levels are increased.
Does CBD really help with nicotine addiction?
Research is still fairly limited. But, from studies that have been done, CBD really can help with nicotine addiction.
A study by researchers at the University College of London indicated that CBD could act as a deterrent against smoking. This 2013 pilot study took place over a week. It tested the potential effect of CBD on 24 dependent smokers by dividing them into two groups. 12 were provided with a CBD inhaler and 12 were provided with a placebo inhaler, and the participants were told to use the inhalers whenever they had the desire to smoke.
The results were very encouraging: participants that made use of the CBD inhalers smoked 40% fewer cigarettes than they usually did per week – a drastic contrast to those who made use of the placebo inhalers.
Another recent study (conducted specifically on cocaine and morphine addiction) also displays “therapeutic potential” for CBD breaking the cycle of other kinds of addictive behaviour.
“These results provide evidence for the disruptive effect of CBD on reconsolidation of contextual drug-related memories, and highlight its therapeutic potential to attenuate contextual memories associated with drugs of abuse and consequently to reduce the risk of relapse.”
Although further, larger-scale research needs to be done to fully investigate the benefits CBD can have on tobacco addiction, these preliminary findings display immense potential for vapes in particular as an effective way to curb those nicotine cravings.
How CBD eases smoking withdrawal symptoms
Smoking withdrawal symptoms typically start within a few days of your last cigarette and last for a few weeks. They include physical, mental and emotional symptoms.
Common symptoms include headaches, anxiety, sleep issues, mood issues, irritability, increased appetite or food cravings, and high blood pressure.
The problem with withdrawal symptoms is that they make it easy to go back to smoking, to avoid the discomfort they cause. Easing the withdrawal process is therefore essential.
This is where the benefits of CBD start to come into effect when dealing with tobacco withdrawal.
It reduces anxiety.
It is widely known that cigarette smokers are often triggered to smoke by stressful, anxiety-provoking situations. CBD oil helps reduce stress and anxiety and is a much more sustainable and healthier option for helping a person relax, considering the non-existent long term effects of CBD in comparison to smoking.
It eases physical discomfort.
The anti-inflammatory and antiemetic properties of CBD make it incredibly helpful in alleviating headaches and nausea , which are commonly reported withdrawal symptoms from those trying to quit smoking.
It promotes better sleep.
CBD can also help with providing a good, restorative sleep – something that is during withdrawal. A good rest should never be underestimated for its vital importance to healing and overall well-being.
It reduces cravings.
Fidget spinners, elastic wrist snappers, stress balls, and various other distracting tools are all used by smokers trying to quit. Part of the craving process is simply having something to do with your hands during times that you would have lit up.
CBD vapes can help ease the cravings by giving you the equivalent of a cigarette to smoke. Instead of smoking harmful nicotine, you are inhaling all the goodness of CBD, however.
That brings us to our next point. which is best – CBD vape pens or CBD oil drops?
CBD vape pens vs drops
Whether you choose CBD vape pens or drops, both will offer plenty of benefits as you go through the process of quitting. Here are a few advantages that each offers.
CBD oil benefits range from pain relief to anxiety relief, better sleep and many others. Drops are taken orally, under the tongue. The goodleaf CBD drop collection includes the 600mg CBD Oil Drops as well as the 600mg CBD Oil Drops Isolate .
CBD oil benefits include their convenience – they can be taken quickly and easily and can be added to food. They also allow for fast absorption into the bloodstream.
CBD vapes are compact, discrete pens that can be easily kept in a pocket or purse. The pens contain pure CBD isolate and coconut-derived MCT oil. They are concentrated and also absorb quickly into the bloodstream.
The goodleaf CBD vape pen collection includes the Calm Vape Pen infused with soothing cinnamon and the Awaken Vape Pen infused with refreshing green apple.
Other CBD products to try
Along with our selection of premium CBD oil drops and CBD vape pens, we also offer several other CBD products that can help ease your withdrawal symptoms.
Our CBD beverage range includes a variety of naturally flavoured sparkling CBD water as well as water soluble CBD powder that can be added to tea, coffee, smoothies, and other beverages.
Our CBD topicals range includes the Natural CBD Sleep Cream by Dr Kerklaan , which contains full-spectrum hemp oil and melatonin along with citrus and lavender essences. This cream helps to ease anxiety and give you a better night’s rest.
CBD to stop smoking
As you can see, there is great evidence showing that CBD benefits can help with nicotine addiction. If you’re looking for natural ways to stop smoking, CBD and overall lifestyle changes can make a big difference. You will find a wide range of CBD products in the goodleaf store to ease withdrawal symptoms.
Shop online now and see how you can use CBD to stop smoking, and improve your well-being.
4 thoughts on “ Can CBD Help You Quit Smoking? ”
We only sell our disposable single-use vapes at present. These cost R295 each or R500 for two.
These will last roughly the same amount of time as the others though. If you are looking for a longer term solution, we would recommend our 1000mg or 1500mg CBD drops.
Good morning. I would like to find out if you guyz have reusable vapes and vape oils. Also what is your price for these products. I did purchase 2 of your vapes. They helped both myself and hubby with pain,relaxation and sleep but got finished quick. So we looking for something that will last awhile longer.
Hi Thando. Thank you for getting in touch! No, our CBD contains pure CBD diluted only with pure MCT oil. Take care – The Herbalist.
Hi there, just would like to know I’d your oils are pure CBD oil or if it mixed with anything like glycerine.
CBD for treating tobacco addiction?
José Carlos Bouso is a clinical psychologist and a doctor of pharmacology. His areas of interest are psychopharmacology and the therapeutic properties of entactogens, psychedelics and cannabis. He has conducted therapeutic research with MDMA, pharmacological research with several substances of plant and synthetic origin and has also performed studies on the long-term neuropsychological effects of substances such as cannabis, ayahuasca and cocaine. He is author of the book “Qué son las drogas de síntesis” [What are synthetic drugs?], and co-author of “¿La marihuana como medicamento? Los usos médicos y terapéuticos del cannabis y los cannabinoides” [Marihuana as medicine? The medical and therapeutic uses of cannabis and cannabinoids] and “Ayahuasca y salud” [Ayahuasca and health]. His research has been published in scientific journals. He is currently the director of scientific projects at Fundación ICEERS.
Although cannabis has long been considered as a “drug of abuse”, in recent years an increasing number of studies published in the biomedical literature indicate that either the plant itself or some of its compounds may be of use in treating addictions. For example, a recent review sets out the current evidence on the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in modulating addictive behaviour, looking at the results of research with animals on the potential role of some cannabinoids in treating psychostimulant addiction 1 . More specifically, there is evidence to indicate that pharmaceuticals that are CB2 receptor agonists may be of use in treating cocaine addiction 2 . Certain observational studies have also been published showing that cannabis may be a substitute for more dangerous drugs, including alcohol 3 . Finally, another recent review compiled current studies focusing on the possible properties of CBD (cannabidiol) as an intervention for addictive disorders 4 . This article will review the current evidence for considering cannabis in general, and CBD in particular, as a possible aid for quitting smoking.
Tobacco in figures
According to a report published in 2014 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) 5 , tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemical substances, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful for health and at least 69 are known to cause cancer. According to this report, the spectrum of medical problems that can be caused by smoking include: shortness of breath, exacerbated asthma, respiratory infections, cancer (larynx, oropharynx, oesophagus, trachea, bronchus, lung, acute myeloid leukaemia, stomach, pancreas, kidney, ureter, colon, cervix, and bladder), coronary heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoporosis, blindness, cataracts, periodontitis, aortic aneurysm, atherosclerotic peripheral vascular disease, hip fractures, infertility and impotence.
According to another WHO study, tobacco continues to be the principal preventable cause of death in the world, killing approximately 6 million people each year and causing economic losses estimated at over half a trillion dollars 6 . The latest report of the Global Tobacco Surveillance System, which gathers data from 22 countries representing nearly 60% of the world’s population, shows that there are approximately 1,300 million smokers in those countries, of whom 205 million had made some attempt to quit smoking in the last 12 months 7 . According to the American Cancer Society, only 4-7% of people are capable of giving up smoking in any given attempt without medicines or other help while around 25% of smokers using medication manage to stay smoke-free for over 6 months. Psychological counselling and other types of emotional support can boost success rates higher than medicines alone 8 .
Nicotine addiction or tobacco habit?
Although the accepted theory on drug addiction appears to be that it is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, causing a deterioration in control of consumption despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her 9 , an ever larger number of experts are beginning to challenge this view of addiction as a brain disease 10 . At least two studies have found that the percentage of people who recover from their addiction throughout their lives is, in nearly all cases, over 80% 11 . The results of these studies also indicate that tobacco addiction is the one of the forms of addiction with the lowest cessation rates.
One of these reasons may be the extent to which conventional wisdom in our society ascribes tobacco addiction to the pharmacological effects of nicotine. If attributing addiction to the substance used is a problem for understanding drug addiction in general, in the case of tobacco addiction it becomes especially paradigmatic. The problem with drug addiction in general, and tobacco addiction in particular, is, as we have explained, the problem tends to be attributed to a disorder of the brain caused by a pharmacological agent, when at the base of all addictive behaviour, what is actually introduced is a habit. And this habit is established, not so much by the effects of the substance itself, as by the behaviours involved in seeking and consuming the substance. And it is these habits, as forms of conduct, that are difficult to correct. Indeed, in the specific case of nicotine it is very difficult to train animal models to be addicted to the substance. And as we have seen, the rates of tobacco cessation by pharmacological means (including patches, gum and any other nicotine-based pharmaceutical preparation) are distressingly low 12 . Therefore, of all the reasons for which tobacco proves addictive for so many people, the fact that it contains nicotine is probably the least significant. It is precisely the fact that it is a habit, which is generally established over a long time –in most cases over several years– that makes it so difficult to correct. As humans, we establish our everyday behaviour by means of habits and the more ingrained a habit is, the more difficult it is to change. This is all the more true, insofar as the habit –as in the case of tobacco– offers such versatility for that the individual can indulge it when engaged in an animated conversation, in a state of depression or when waiting for a bus – in short, in nearly every aspect of his or her life, except sleep. This versatility and generalisation make the habit of smoking so especially difficult to correct.
Vaping cannabis as an alternative to smoking tobacco
As cannabis users increasingly become aware of the health dangers of smoking, some of them are trying to replace the smoking of cannabis (which involves combustion) with vaping (which does not). Indeed, it is well known that the risks of smoking derive precisely from the combustion of the material smoked, rather than the products smoked. Even so, surveys on preferred methods of consumption indicate that the immense majority (more than 90%) of cannabis users still prefer smoking, even though they recognise that vaping is the most effective way of reducing the harm 13 . Even in states like California, whose citizens are famous for their worship of healthy lifestyles, the preferred means of consuming cannabis in medicinal marijuana dispensaries is by smoking (86.1% of those interviewed), far ahead of vaping (used by 21.8%) 14 . These results may be somewhat skewed by the fact that so many of those surveyed started out as tobacco consumers who when they subsequently began to use cannabis, also preferred to smoke it. It is also well-known that many consumers manage to give up smoking not only “joints” but also tobacco when they start vaping cannabis. In a recent letter to the journal Addiction, Hindocha et al. set out a series of examples in which vaping cannabis is accompanied by a reduction in tobacco consumption. According to these researchers: “ there could be reason to be optimistic about the potential of vaporizers. If vaporizers can reduce cannabis and tobacco co-administration, the outcome could be a reduction of tobacco use/dependence among cannabis users and a resultant reduction in harms associated with cannabis. Indeed, if vaping cannabis becomes commonplace in the future, the next generation of cannabis users might never be exposed to nicotine or tobacco in the first place” 15 .
Use of CBD in treating the tobacco habit
CBD is in vogue. Whereas in the 1990s seed companies vied to obtain the strain with most THC, they are now competing for more narcotic varieties – in other words, those with the highest CBD content. We don’t know the reason for this change: whether cannabis consumers have grown tired of such a strong high (THC concentrations in Dutch marijuana have been falling by 0.22% per year since 2005 16 ); whether it is a result of the industry’s marketing campaigns attributing the medicinal effects of cannabis to CBD; whether it simply reflects a market in which consumers want a varied product offering different experiences depending on what they are looking for at any specific time, or whether it is combination of all of these factors, or even some other reason. One other possible reason is the fashion for CBD oils which –albeit the labels do no state as much– also contain sufficient quantities of THC to possibly cause a consumer to test positive in a roadside saliva test. Moreover, for reasons we shall not go into here, the legality of these oils is decidedly dubious.
The way CBD acts on the endocannabinoid system is not yet fully understood. Indeed, some articles discuss mechanisms of action that others ignore altogether, and vice versa. I will therefore leave it to readers to search for the mechanism of action of CBD. A recent review on the possible role of CBD as an anti-addictive pharmaceutical, quoted above 17 , after appraising this mechanism of action, concludes that “CBD has been associated with many neural circuits involved in the acquisition of addiction and subsequent drugseeking behaviors, making it an interesting pharmacological candidate to treat substance-use disorders”.
Only one study has researched the role of CBD as a treatment for addiction to tobacco smoking. In a pilot clinical study, the effectiveness of CBD was compared against a placebo in treatment of tobacco addiction. (A pilot study is one with a small number of subjects, used to test a working hypothesis before moving on to a larger, and therefore more economically costly, sample). It was double blind (neither researchers nor subjects knew who received what treatment), randomised (patients were assigned one or other treatment at random) and placebo controlled (the active pharmaceutical was compared with an inactive one). 24 subjects were recruited who smoked more than 10 cigarettes per day and given an inhaler to be used whenever they felt the urge to smoke. Twelve subjects (6 females) received an inhaler containing CBD and the other twelve (6 females) received an inhaler with a placebo. Treatment lasted one week. During this time, they recorded their cravings for tobacco and anxiety on a daily basis. A follow-up interview was conducted 21 days after treatment. Following the treatment week, cigarette consumption in the CBD group had fallen by 40%, a significant contrast with the placebo group, but these differences were not kept up after 21 days. Both groups reported the same reduction in craving and anxiety over the 7 days the treatment lasted, but, again, by day 21 they had returned to the initial conditions. The authors conclude: “the preliminary data presented here suggest that CBD may be effective in reducing cigarette use in tobacco smokers, however larger scale studies, with longer follow-up are warranted to gauge the implications of these findings. These findings add to a growing literature that highlights the importance of the endocannabinoid system in nicotine addiction” 18 .
In their article, the authors of the study offer a series of explanations, based on the effects of CBD on the Endocannabinoid system, which might explain the results. These include the action of CBD on CB1 receptors (as a weak reverse agonist), and its properties as an inhibitor of the enzyme that breaks down the anandamide (FAAH). These actions may be related to a reduction in the boosting properties of nicotine. They also offer some speculation on psychological causes, such as the possible action of CBD in reducing attention on contextual cues that may be involved in maintenance of nicotine consumption.
However, there are doubts that remain to be clarified. As explained, in this study, reported tobacco craving fell by the same amount in the CBD and placebo groups, as did anxiety levels. These scores were taken once a day, but not after the inhaler was used in response to the desire to smoke a cigarette. It is possible that in general terms the placebo is capable of reducing the desire for consumption and anxiety, since the scores had normalised by the 21-day follow-up assessment, when neither group was using the device. Perhaps the CBD, by acting as an anxiolytic 19 , might be a substitute treatment for progressively quitting tobacco, due to the fact that the subject is not as anxious. This study did not assess the possible anxiolytic effect following inhalations. Nonetheless, this pilot study provides more evidence that tobacco addiction is more a habit than a pharmacological effect of nicotine. If tobacco addiction were a matter of nicotine addiction, after a week, when the desire for consumption had already disappeared and where the number of cigarettes –and therefore the nicotine– has been considerably reduced, there would be no reason for the withdrawal symptoms to reappear, inducing subjects to start smoking tobacco again. Finally, as we saw in the previous section, many people quit smoking when they start vaping. It is therefore possible that cannabis and/or CBD inhaled by some means other than smoking might be of use for people who want to quit smoking. As Morgan and collaborators conclude, more studies are necessary in this regard. What does seem clear is that smoking, more than an addiction to a drug (nicotine), is a habit, and like all habits, its interruption causes anxiety. In this regard, replacing tobacco with vaporised cannabis and/or CBD may be a useful substitute measure, although this requires more evidence before it can be confirmed.