People who have quit smoking often say that it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done. Some say quitting smoking is comparable to quitting heroin. Any way you look at it, quitting smoking isn’t easy and is very likely the reason that over 1 billion people in the world (20% of the global population) still light up every day, despite cigarettes being responsible for innumerable negative health risks.
Smokers interested in kicking their habit for good might be interested to know that CBD could help. A 2013 study found that CBD could help smokers along the (often rough) road of cigarette cessation. Already known for its countless health benefits, could CBD really help you quit smoking cigarettes?
Using CBD to Quit Smoking Cigarettes: Study Finds CBD Effective in Helping Smokers Cut Down on Their Habit
There’s rising evidence that CBD can help individuals struggling with addiction. A 2015 review, for example, found that CBD acts on several neurotransmission systems that are involved in addiction. The review highlighted that CBD contains various therapeutic properties that could be useful in addiction treatment, such as its positive effect on stress and neurotransmission.
Of the many studies the review looked at, there was one study in particular that looked directly at the impact CBD could have on cigarette smokers. This University of London study took 24 smokers and split them into two groups of 12. Each partaker of the study was given a vaporizer and instructed how to use it. They were then told to use it any time they had an urge to smoke a cigarette.
Over a one-week period, one group received a placebo in their vaporizer and the other received a vaporizer that contained CBD. Participants were not instructed to quit smoking, nor were they instructed to attempt to cut down the number of cigarettes they typically smoke in a given day. All they were to do was take a hit of the vaporizer whenever they felt that demanding urge to smoke a cigarette.
At the end of the week, results were split as evenly as the two groups. While the group given the placebo didn’t cut down on the number of cigs they smoked at all, things were a bit different amongst the group that received CBD in their vaporizer. The CBD group cut down their consumption by a whopping 40 percent.
How Does CBD Work for to Help You Quit Smoking?
Dr. CJ Morgan of the University of London Clinical Pharmacology Unit led the groundbreaking study. He believes that CBD has a special affect on the triggers that hold the urge to smoke.
“We found that CBD seems to reduce the salience of cues,” says Morgan. “It also can reduce anxiety and may affect a memory process called ‘reconsolidation,’ which is when a memory of the reward of smoking is re-activated by seeing someone smoking, it is rendered vulnerable to destruction.”
There are countless reasons it is hard to quit smoking. Addiction is never easy to overcome, especially for someone who finds themselves addicted to nicotine. One of the reasons several people speculate cigarettes are so hard to quit is because of the effect nicotine has on the brain…specifically on serotonin levels. After someone smokes a cigarette, serotonin levels do increase but only for as long as the cig is being smoked. After that, they plummet to levels below “normal.” One reason it might be so hard to quit is the fact that after a person stops smoking is that serotonin levels drop in half. And without balanced levels of this “feel good” neurotransmitter, a person’s mood and emotions can take a serious negative turn. It can take up to three weeks or longer for serotonin levels to stabilize after someone quits smoking.
In steps CBD with the ability it holds to balance serotonin levels in the brain. CBD is a subtype of the serotonin molecule and a 5-HT1A agonist. An agonist is a substance that initiates a psychological response when combined with a receptor, and 5HT1A is a subtype of the serotonin receptor. One of the primary functions of serotonin is the inhibition of stress and anxiety.
When CBD is introduced to someone trying to quit smoking, it acts the same as actual serotonin molecules. This may help reduce the crippling anxiety so many are faced with when trying to kick their cigarette addiction for good.
Will CBD Help You Quit Smoking?
CBD isn’t a magic potion that will suddenly make the urge to smoke vanish. It could help, however. Ask anyone who’s tried to quit smoking in the past. It can be agonizing. But it can be done, and CBD could help dramatically reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke when attempting to do so.
If you’re interested in seeing for yourself how CBD might help you quit smoking, the Alternate Vape Kit is a great place to get you started. The kit includes everything you need including a vape pen, battery, charger, and refill bottle of 500mg of CBD vape oil. Each time you get the urge to light up a cigarette, take a hit off the vaporizer instead. We’d love to hear about your experience.
Written by Jen Keehn
Jen Keehn is a Colorado-based writer focused on inspiring others to live their best lives. She writes regularly about recreational and medical cannabis, holistic health, addiction, and psychedelic healing.