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CBD Research Shows Potential for Helping Reduce Nicotine Withdrawal

August 2, 2021 08:00 am ET
CBD Research Shows Potential for Helping Reduce Nicotine Withdrawal

Have you recently given up smoking substances that contain nicotine? Well, you may have noticed that it’s really hard to stop because of your nicotine dependence. When you feel as though you need nicotine and can’t go without it, you are being held hostage by nicotine dependence. Fortunately, cannabidiol (CBD) was suggested to help reduce the withdrawal symptoms associated with nicotine dependence in an animal study.

More on Nicotine Dependence and Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

According to the Mayo Clinic, nicotine is a chemical in tobacco that produces pleasing effects but makes it hard to quit. The chemical triggers these pleasant effects in your brain but they are only temporary, which is why one ends up opting for another. However, the more you smoke, the more nicotine you feel you need. By the time you decide to quit smoking, the nicotine withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant, mentally and physically. 

Symptoms of nicotine dependence Include:

  • A craving for and inability/difficulty in stopping use of tobacco products
  • Changes in mood including irritability
  • Restlessness and shakiness
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty Sleeping and fatigue
  • Continued use after health complications arise

If you are uncertain whether you are addicted to nicotine, you can ask yourself questions such as, ‘am I able to stop smoking?’, ‘do I have any of the symptoms when I try to stop?’, ‘do I keep smoking despite health problems?’ as well as ‘did smoking lead to giving up on some social activities?’. If your answer is mostly yes, then you are most likely dependent on nicotine. 

Research Suggests That CBD May Help Reduce Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

A team of researchers found that “cannabidiol reduces withdrawal symptoms in nicotine-dependent rats”. The researchers stated that the goal of the study was to “test the preclinical efficacy of a chronic CBD treatment” in the reduction of withdrawal symptoms as a result of nicotine dependence. The rationale behind conducting the study stems from the fact that CBD has proven to reduce cravings associated with alcohol and cocaine use and due to the fact that CBD is known to modulate nicotinic receptor function”. All of which points to the potential to alleviate the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. 

The team made use of three groups of nicotine-dependent male and female Wistar rats who were administered CBD injections for two weeks. The team recorded the body and weight of the rats as well as the dosage and collected serum for determining CBD and nicotine concentrations in the rats. 

The study found that CBD prevented the rats from presenting withdrawal symptoms “during acute and protracted abstinence” from nicotine. The study also found something interesting, their findings suggest that there is a “ceiling effect at the doses” due to the fact that they observed, “no dose-response” for CBD. They concluded by stating that their preclinical trial is suggestive of CBD as an effective strategy to “alleviate withdrawal symptoms upon nicotine cessation”. 

Dangers of Nicotine Addiction

Smokers can attest to the fact that not succeeding at multiple attempts to stop smoking is likely and that success depends on the integration of and compliance with a treatment plan. Nicotine is a common vice for many people across the globe due to its ability to provide that pleasant and quick buzz in the body and mind. However, the pleasantries are not worth the effects of nicotine addiction. 

Healthline explains that smoking for the nicotine can lead to a variety of health problems including lung and other respiratory cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, leukemia, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, eye problems, infertility, impotence, miscarriage, weakened immune system, respiratory infections, loss of taste and smell, gum disease, dental issues, premature aging and more. 

Using Cannabis for Nicotine Cessation

Since you are trying to quit smoking, consuming cannabis through means of inhalation (joints and vaping) may not be the best avenue. Better options may include edibles, capsules, and oils. Edibles, in my opinion, can be the best choice since consumers can make their own candies and treats to eat during triggering situations. They can also be consumed more discreetly with the benefit of tasting good. Check out these six things one can do with cannabis besides smoking it as well as a recipe for a versatile coconut cannabis oil

It is important that individuals trying to quit make efforts to avoid triggers and common social places associated with smoking. These can include ‘coffee’ breaks at work, talking on the phone, drinking alcohol, driving your car, and spending time with friends. While it is not possible to avoid these triggering situations, one can prepare for them. This can include, for example, putting gum in your car to chew while driving, taking breaks at work in non-smoking areas, and squeezing a stress ball while on the phone. 

Gaining weight is a common effect of quitting smoking because of snacking. Some use snacking as a way to distract the nicotine craving or even as a reward for not giving in. To help avoid this, one can even make use of high CBD cannabis strains (such as Willie Nelson) with sufficient quantities of CBD, or use THCV-rich strains to whip up some goods which promote weight loss.

Cannabis has become well known for treating withdrawal associated symptoms such as uplifting one’s mood, alleviating nausea and vomiting, improving sleep, energizing (when the right strain is consumed) as well as reducing anxiety. More holistic approaches can also be adopted such as combining the therapeutic powers of cannabis and psilocybin or practicing mindfulness with cannabis throughout the day. We do not advise self-treatment with psilocybin, especially where illegal and illegal market purchases would be necessary. 

If you have any questions or concerns and would like to consult medical professionals on using cannabis to curb nicotine addiction and withdrawal, be sure to see your personal physician or make an appointment with one of our many professionals. Remember that talking about cannabis with your physician is 100% allowed and encouraged, no matter its legal status.

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