They told us in school, they tell us on the news, they warn us every single package, so it’s no mystery—smoking cigarettes is definitely bad for your health.
Not to be a bummer, but each year, more than 8 million people die around the world because of tobacco products and secondhand smoke. We know the risks, the reasons to stop are clear, but the practical application of kicking an addiction to cigarettes is so difficult that every year, 50% of smokers attempt to quit, and only 6% are successful. Luckily, there may be a new source of help if you want to kick nicotine to the curb.
Whether you’re one of these aspiring quitters or just want to learn more about alternatives to cigarettes, we are here to encourage you and introduce you to our friend, CBD: a non-psychoactive byproduct of cannabis that has already made waves in the natural health community. Read on to uncover how CBD can help you stop smoking cigarettes.
Why is it so hard to stop smoking?
How many times have you heard, “this is my last cigarette” coming out of your mouth or from someone you love? Chances are, you’ve heard this more than a few times. No matter how much willpower you or anyone else has, quitting cigarettes is not as easy as it sounds.
Part of the reason quitting cigarettes is so freaking difficult is because of nicotine. Nicotine pollutes your neurotransmitters, making it impossible to get a rush of dopamine or serotonin from any other source besides a cigarette. In fact, nicotine users may start to experience cravings again in as little as four hours.
And the side effects of quitting are gnarly, to say the very least. If you’ve tried quitting before, you already know what to expect: Nausea, insomnia, irritability, weight gain, headaches, and depression all await you. Needless to say, you can start to quit cigs with the best intentions but it is incredibly difficult to make it to the finish line.
So what’s the deal with CBD and smoking?
CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, may be able to help get you on the right track.
CBD has the ability to act alongside our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) and help distract our nervous system from the intense cravings for tobacco. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) lives inside all of us, even if you don’t use cannabis.
Our ECS is crucial to helping our bodies maintain homeostasis by regulating processes like digestion and bone repair. When your body has an issue or is experiencing pain, the ECS kicks in to support you until you are well again. In some ways, the ECS is the link between the body and the mind!
Cigarette quitters can look to products like CBD oil or tinctures as a potential solution for kicking the habit. First, cannabidiol may control tobacco withdrawal symptoms like headaches, anxiety, insomnia, and difficulty concentrating. Simply place a few drops under your tongue, mix it into your daily cup of tea, or put a dropper into your food.
As a second option, you can smoke hemp joints or vape CBD concentrates as a temporary alternative to cigarettes on your way to overcoming addiction. This allows you to still smoke something if you’re feeling a craving coming on but won’t introduce more nicotine into your body.
As with all CBD products, just make sure to follow all directions and double-check that your CBD oil comes from a trustworthy source that uses organic hemp, makes full-spectrum products, and tests them in an independent lab.
Am I going to be trading one addiction for another?
The beautiful thing about CBD is that it is non-addictive. So while your body is experiencing withdrawals from cigs, CBD can swoop in and soften the blows that the lack of tobacco will leave you feeling.
The first three days without a cigarette are guaranteed to be the most painful. It’s best to give yourself a safety net and be prepared with some choice items that can help you through this difficult time, like CBD cigarettes, gummies, or tinctures.
Another thing people are addicted to when it comes to smoking cigarettes is the ritual around that spark-up moment. If a cigarette could be replaced with a different, yet similar smokable object, then maybe the difficulties that accompany quitting cold turkey don’t need to color your attempt at kicking the habit.
But what if I don’t smoke weed?
Keep in mind that CBD is not the same as the THC-laden weed you may be familiar with. Any products that contain hemp must contain less than .03% THC in order to make it completely non-psychoactive and safe. That amount of THC is negligible and will not affect your mental state—it is, however, enough to affect you physically in a positive way!
Show me the science!
There are still many things we don’t know for certain about the physiological effects of CBD, but there have been several studies done that lead us to believe that CBD may be the holistic solution that cigarette smokers have been looking for.
In a 2013 blind study of smoking cessation at the University College of London, half of a test group was given an inhaler containing CBD, while the other half was given a placebo inhaler. The groups were instructed to use the inhaler whenever they felt an urge to smoke. Over the course of a week, the CBD test group smoked 40% fewer cigarettes.
In 2018 Chandni Hindocha (also from the University College, London) built upon the aforementioned study by having people who are addicted to cigarettes go without smoking for one night. The next day, half of the group received a dose of CBD and the other half received a placebo. The group who received a dose of CBD experienced less urge to smoke based on salience and pleasantness of cigarette cues.
There have also been promising studies using lab rats that were given an addiction to tobacco and then treated with CBD. The CBD rats experienced less stress and physiological aggravation than the rats who were not given CBD and just had to deal with the withdrawal.
And more research is coming out all the time!
What are you waiting for?
Best of all, some form of CBD is legal in nearly every state! If you have tried all of the known tricks: the gum, the patches, prayer, and you STILL aren’t seeing results, do yourself a favor and grab some CBD-infused products at JARS. It might be the key you need to free yourself from tobacco.