Quitting cigarettes can be one of the hardest things a person ever does. And there’s a whole industry out there dedicated to smokers who are trying to kick the habit. Maybe you’ve tried everything from gums, patches, and pills to nicotine vapes, acupuncture, and hypnosis, but relapse is still just a stressful event or a happy hour away.
Have you tried CBD?
In recognition of World No Tobacco Day on May 31st, I want to share with you some new hope – CBD to help you quit smoking.
More and more scientific evidence and testimonials are piling up touting CBD as everything from a useful tool to a downright miracle for smoking cessation.
A Difficult Reminder
Now I know that you know that cigarettes are bad for you. But I think it’s important to be reminded every now then just how bad they really are.
According to the American Lung Association, there are approximately 600 ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, cigarettes create more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, and many more are extremely toxic.
Many of these chemicals also are found in consumer products, but these products have warning labels.
- Acetone—nail polish remover
- Acetic acid—an ingredient in hair dye
- Ammonia—a household cleaner
- Arsenic—rat poison
- Benzene—found in rubber cement and gasoline
- Butane—lighter fluid
- Cadmium—active component in battery acid
- Carbon monoxide—car exhaust fumes
- Formaldehyde—embalming fluid used to preserve dead bodies
- DDT: An insecticide banned worldwide in 2001 by the Stockholm Convention
- Hexamine—found in barbecue lighter fluid
- Lead—used in batteries
- Methoprene: Insecticide
- Naphthalene—an ingredient in mothballs
- Methanol—a main component in rocket fuel
- Nicotine—used as an insecticide
- Polonium: Cancer-causing radioactive element
- Tar—material for paving roads
- Toluene—used to manufacture paint
Tried and Failed Before? You’re Not Alone
Studies show that smokers think about quitting a lot. According to the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation 4-Country Survey, around 40.1% of smokers report at least two attempts to quit every year. For most people, popping the rubber band around your wrist doesn’t do much besides raise stress levels and leave a bruise.
And ingesting nicotine in other forms such as patches, gums, or vaping is still harmful. Nicotine causes cancer. Period.
Replacing the Habit
As a former smoker myself, I know first-hand that it’s not just a chemical addiction, but a behavioral addiction as well. It’s the ritual. And this can be one of the most difficult things to give up. Whether you use it as a chance to be social with other smokers or an opportunity to have a few minutes alone, it’s often the act of smoking that we’re addicted to the most.
A lot of folks have tried to fill this need for ritual by replacing cigarettes with nicotine vaping. But the harmful effects of common vape juice is becoming more and more evident:
- ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs.
- flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease.
- volatile organic compounds.
- heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead.
Researchers are using CBD in several different delivery methods. These include vaping pure CBD (no THC), which many find helpful in replacing the smoking habit, and CBD capsuls and tinctures.
CBD helps the quitting smoker in three major ways:
- CBD can lessen the signs of withdrawal. In people trying to overcome opioid addiction, CBD is shown to lessen the amount of reward the brain gets from the drug and therefore loosens its addictive grip.
- CBD acts like an antidepressant, boosting the production of happy chemicals in the brain thus combating the depression which can often occur when a smoker tries to quit.
- CBD calms the nerves and helps us deal with the anxiety and stress that goes hand and hand with quitting smoking.
There are also some really interesting studies being conducted at universities around the world.
Dr. CJ Morgan, a member of the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit at the University College of London, conducted a very encouraging research study published in 2013 in the journal, Addictive Behaviors.
Over the treatment week, placebo-treated smokers showed no differences in the number of cigarettes smoked. In contrast, those treated with CBD significantly reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by 40% during treatment.
“Dr. CJ Morgan believes that the amazing result they got may be due to how CBD alters the memories associated with smoking. Normally, when someone has the urge to smoke, often after seeing or smelling someone else smoking, or during a stressful moment, they have a vivid memory of how good it feels to have that dopamine-induced pleasure portion of their brain stimulated. This memory is so intense that the craving for that cigarette (or cigar or e-cigarette) becomes so strong, it is near impossible to ignore or overcome.
It is thought that CBD can make a memory trace more flexible when a memory is recalled. This allows the user to either get rid of that memory or modify that memory. This is sometimes called reconsolidating a memory.” CJ Morgan et al
Another study conducted by Dr. C. Hindocha, also at the University College of London more recently had half of a group of participants take an 800mg CBD pill and the other half took a placebo. The participants were then shown triggering photos meant to mimic high-pressure social situations where someone might be influenced by others smoking, such as a party. What they found was that the CBD reduces the “pleasantness” of the trigger photos. Scientists believe that this is because nicotine and smoking addiction is not only a physical addiction but a mental one too, and the CBD oil reduces the anxiety and stress that might lead someone to smoke again, especially in these high-trigger situations where temptation is at a maximum.
According to Dr. Tom Freeman, Kings College London Senior Academic Fellow, who worked with researchers on the study, “These findings suggest that cannabidiol has promise as a novel treatment for tobacco addiction. 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.”
According to Professor Yasim Hurd, the director of the Addiction Institute at New York’s Mount Sinai hospital, “Taken together, these studies suggest that CBD could play a key role in helping people quit smoking.”
It’s Time to Try Again
Maybe you’re afraid to try or maybe you’re afraid to try again. You’ve been burned before. Please don’t give up! Vaping and/or ingesting CBD could be what finally does the trick. I’m not saying that it won’t be hard – it definitely will be. But all of us at Irie Bliss are here to help you! Give us a call and let us set up an attack plan that will work!
Happy World No Tabacco Day! You got this!