CBD is a potent inhibitor of FAAH — an enzyme that breaks down the body’s natural endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain (CB1) that can influence mood, pain, sleep, and reward regions in your brain . Supplementing CBD oil helps you maintain a sufficient level of your own cannabinoids and thus reduces the dysfunction of the aforementioned processes.
To learn more about the general dosage guideline, read our post here.
4. CBD Reduces Cigarette Consumption
One study examined smokers who wanted to quit smoking cigarettes. Each smoker was taking an inhaler with either CBD or a placebo vaping cartridge. The participants were asked to use the inhalers every time they felt the urge to smoke. At the end of this week-long study, the CBD group showed a 40% reduction in cigarette consumption while the placebo group didn’t report a significant difference in the number of cigarettes smoked .
They may linger for up to several weeks. If the period of withdrawal were easy to overcome, smoking addiction wouldn’t become a global health problem.
Understanding how nicotine addiction works is paramount if you want to find an effective solution. Aside from the obvious physical addiction, smoking cigarettes is habit-forming and thus can trigger behavioral addiction.
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 .
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”.
Nicotine addiction or tobacco habit?
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.
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.
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.
Biochemical damages of smoking aside, inhaling smoke which is the result of combustion of solid matter is genuinely bad for the body because our lungs are not made to withstand such heat. When a cigarette or joint is burned, the temperature at which the smoke is inhaled creates an environment of stress for all the organs it passes through – the mouth, the esophagus, and the lungs. In time, these organs can suffer irreversible cumulative damage, which is why smoking is associated with higher risks of developing chronic health issues.
In conclusion, although CBD has to undergo more scientific verification as a tool for smoking cessation, the results so far, coupled with the myriad anecdotal reports, are quite encouraging. Finally, aside from using CBD oil for quitting smoking, you also stand to benefit from its numerous other medicinal properties. All in all, considering the dangers of smoking and the very low risks involved with using CBD oil, it is definitely worth a try.
The Health Risks of Smoking
The problem with quiting tobacco is not quiting. It is staying a non smoker. (Quiting is just the first step as all smokers know who struggle with quiting)
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The data becomes even more troubling if we look at the 2019 FDA & CDC National Youth Tobacco Survey, which shows that over 5 million American youth are active users of e-cigarettes. Although vaporizing is supposedly less harmful than using combustible tobacco products (this is debatable and with insufficient evidence; we will discuss it later), it does have its own risks. The critical issue is that many of these teenagers will develop long-lasting nicotine addiction, and some of them are likely to also start smoking regular cigarettes.