Dentist day today.
Nooo! It is not the International Dentist’s day.
It’s the day I have my mouth hygiene checked. I hate it as much as you do. I am lucky enough, though, to have Marina as my dentist.
Marina, as a person, is the exact opposite of her profession. Tender, loving, she suffers from the pain she -inevitably-causes to her patients. She is a wonderful woman with lots of interests and our discussions can last for hours- if only we had more time…
When I left her office, I came straight home and started writing this article. I had to. I had to respond to her questions. What are the effects of CBD on tobacco addiction? Can I quit smoking with CBD?
Marina, here it is! You ask, I deliver!
The Mechanism of Addiction
Before examining and understanding how CBD can help you fight nicotine addiction, let’s take a look at the mechanism behind addiction and addictive behavior.
The human brain contains a “reward system”, based on a complex neurotransmitter called dopamine. It is considered the brain’s “happy” chemical and is able to create cravings.
Cravings aren’t always a bad thing. Their primary role is to help us survive. For this reason, there are cravings for food or sex which are very important for our survival as individuals and as species.
Giving in to cravings means being rewarded with sensations of pleasure. This is caused by other neurotransmitters acting in specific areas of the brain often called “hedonic hotspots”.
So, how does tobacco work?
Tobacco is highly addictive. This makes it the leading cause of preventable death, according to NIDA. Nicotine is the main addictive chemical in tobacco. It causes an increase of adrenaline when entering the bloodstream or inhaled via cigarette smoke.
Nicotine triggers an increase in dopamine.
Dopamine starts flowing using a complex pathway to various areas of the human brain with various effects to the individual.
As you can see, dopamine stimulates the area of the brain associated with pleasure and reward. Nicotine temporarily stimulates dopamine production, increasing feelings of pleasure after smoking. The use of tobacco over time can cause physical and psychological addiction.
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Ways to Kick the Habit
Nicotine is regarded as one of the hardest” drugs” to quit. Statistics show that traditional methods to stop are rather inadequate:
- The Cold Turkey Method. A highly ineffective method. Smokers quit with no treatment support or replacement medications. Of the 90% of people going cold turkey only 5-7% manage to quit. Why is so? Addiction undermines willpower while quitting cold turkey is based on willpower.
- Nicotine Replacement Method. Smokers substitute the nicotine contained in cigarettes with nicotine contained in gums, patches, inhalers or sprays. This means they remain addicted to nicotine. There is a failure rate of 85-90%.
- The Behavioral Method. A rather expensive method which focuses on the behavioral aspect of addiction but does nothing to fight the physical addiction to nicotine. The success rates vary from 10% to 45%.
Can CBD help you quit smoking?
Let’s hear what science has to say.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, one-week study was conducted in 2013, trying to examine the impact of CBD in smokers who wished to stop smoking.
The 24 participants (all smokers) were divided into two groups of 12. The first group was given a vaporizer containing CBD and the other was given a placebo containing one. They were instructed to use their vaporizer whenever they felt the urge to smoke. They weren’t told not to smoke any cigarettes though.
Over the treatment week, participants treated with placebo showed no differences in the number of cigarettes smoked. Those who were treated with CBD reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by 40%. Some maintenance of the effect at follow-up was also noticed.
In 2018, a similar study tried to examine the effects of CBD for smoking cessation. 30 non-treatment seeking smokers were either given 800mg of CBD orally or a placebo in the morning after overnight nicotine abstinence. 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.
The results showed that a single 800-mg oral dose of cannabidiol reduced the salience and pleasantness of cigarette cues, compared with placebo. 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 level.
Researchers concluded that CBD was a promising option to treat tobacco addiction and CBD may interfere with some of the underlying mechanisms behind addiction. (more information about CBD and addiction you can find here)
At the same time, they cautioned that more studies are required to confirm all recent claims.
How Can You Take CBD Oil?
People who want to try CBD oil can consume it in many ways.
Some of these intake methods include using an inhaler, consuming edibles that contain CBD (gummies, candies, even CBD-infused beer!!) or taking CBD oil directly from a dropper.
To Smoke or to Vape?
CBD IS NOT smoked. It is not a dry herb as tobacco. It usually comes in a liquid form.
While smoking is not an option, vaporizing is an option.
Vaporizing CBD oil is a popular method of consuming the oil.
Vaporizing has some benefits over other CBD intake methods because of its high level of bioavailability.
CBD is hydrophobic, which means that it is not water-soluble. Because of this, it is hard to keep it in the bloodstream. It is also reduced by the liver if it passes through the digestive system. So it has few chances to enter the bloodstream.
Vaporizing CBD bypasses the liver because it enters the lungs and is diffused directly into the bloodstream. This allows for maximum bioavailability, which is around 34-46% (recently reported up to 56%)
Vaporizing provides beneficial effects with a smaller amount of CBD product, much more quickly. It is a very effective and efficient way to consume CBD.
It also has a psychological and behavioral aspect smokers need. It mimics the hand-to-mouth habit they have. By vaping they experience the same subconscious comfort that smoking provides, to them
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How Do Vaporizers Work?
Vaporizers work by heating CBD oil to its vaporization point. This is around 320°F to 356°F ( 160°C to 180°C). Its combustion point is at 450°F (232.2°C)
Remaining below the combustion point, we are sure that what is produced and inhaled is vapor, not smoke. This helps the CBD user to avoid toxins, carbon monoxide that smoking introduces to his body.
On the contrary, when smoking a cigarette, the temperature of the burning tobacco can reach up to 900°C or 1652°F. This arrives far beyond tobacco’s combustion point!! Knowing this, it is easy to understand why smoking is so unhealthy for our lungs and our bodies.
Tobacco-free Future with CBD
Clearly, there may be a lot of potential for CBD oil and its positive effects on overcoming nicotine addiction and smoking cigarettes. The studies mentioned show that CBD can help people quit smoking and change their lives.
CBD oil may be able to help. If it is able to help even a few people kick their dangerous smoking habit, then it has made a difference in their lives.
If you have any questions or want to share your personal experience with CBD, leave a comment below.
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DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.The information provided is not meant to alleviate or cure any disease or disorder. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider for any medical condition.