In 2013 a study found that in two groups of people who wished to quit smoking, those treated with CBD oil reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by approximately 40%.(National Institute of Health)
There’s been some buzz about CBD oil being helpful to people trying to quit cigarettes, and one small, short-term study published in 2013 in the journal Addictive Behaviors supports this idea. A group of 24 smokers received inhalers with either CBD or a placebo substance and were encouraged to use those inhalers for a week whenever they felt the urge to smoke.
Those with the placebo inhaler did not reduce their cigarette consumption at all during that week, but those with the CBD inhaler reduced theirs by about 40%.
The results “suggest CBD to be a potential treatment for nicotine addiction,” the study authors wrote—but they also admit that their findings are preliminary. Ryan Vandrey, PhD, a cannabis researcher and associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University (who was not involved in the 2013 study), agrees that larger, longer-term studies are needed to know if CBD might be helpful for smokers looking to kick the habit.
Studies suggest there may be a link between the endocannabinoid system and nicotine addiction, and CBD may be the key to breaking the habit. CBD hemp oil may help curb the urge to smoke by reducing “reward memories” which cause people to want to smoke when they see another person smoking.
According to a 2015 report put out by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a division of the National Institutes of Health, nicotine is often as addictive as heroin and cocaine. Nicotine stimulates the release of dopamine, a powerful neurotransmitter, in the pleasure circuits of the brain. Once a person is addicted to nicotine, their brain continually craves the nicotine so more dopamine will be released and give them those intense pleasurable sensations again.
The report goes on to say that about thirty-five million people know that smoking is bad for their health and want to break their nicotine habit. However, more than eighty-five percent of those who try to stop using tobacco products end up having a relapse, often within the first week when the withdrawal symptoms are the most severe.
Can CBD help break the nicotine habit?
A small research project designed to investigate this very question strongly suggests that CBD (cannabidiol) can indeed help break a nicotine habit. This is huge news because breaking a nicotine addiction is obviously no major feat! CBD, scientifically known as cannabidiol, is the primary non-psychoactive cannibinoid found in therapeutic cannabis plants. This should not be confused with THC (tetrahydrocannabidiol) found in recreational marijuana that gets people high. CBD will not get you high at all, nor will it give you a buzz like nicotine.
The research study was led by Dr. CJ Morgan, a member of the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit at the University College of London. It was published in 2013 in the journal, Addictive Behaviors.
Twenty-four smokers were chosen at random and split into two equal groups. All smokers were given an inhaler and also given instructions on how to use it. They were told to use the inhaler any time they felt the urge to smoke for a period of one week. Note, they were not actually told to stop smoking or to reduce their smoking habits, only to use the inhaler any time they felt the urge to smoke. This is a key point so keep it in mind.
Half of the inhalers contained CBD and the other half contained no CBD, only a placebo. None of the participants knew if their inhaler contained CBD or not. Even though this was a small study, with only twelve participants in each group, the results were very convincing.
The group that received the placebo in their inhaler showed no significant difference in how many cigarettes they smoked that week. HOWEVER, the group that received CBD in their inhaler reduced their cigarette consumption by about forty percent. This remarkable result was achieved without even telling them to stop or reduce their smoking! It’s also good to note that the effect seemed to linger past the one week experiment, indicating that the positive effect of the CBD continues even after people stop taking it, at least for a while.
This is very encouraging and backs up the anecdotal accounts of how vaping CBD and using CBD oil under the tongue, reduces the withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings when one is attempting to break the nicotine habit.