Research from Washington State University suggests that low concentrations of CBD could inhibit the metabolism of nicotine in tobacco smokers.
The researchers tested enzymes associated with nicotine metabolism and concluded that CBD could cut cigarette cravings.
CBD may help someone stop smoking for several reasons, including anxiety reduction, lower cravings, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Experts believe CBD may offer a non-addictive substitute, but suggest using it alongside other methods when trying to quit smoking.
If you’ve decided to quite smoking it can be difficult to know where to begin. Do you try nicotine patches, hypnosis, or simply go cold turkey? New research suggests that CBD may be able to help.
The study, conducted by a team of Washington State University researchers found that CBD – the non-psychoactive component of cannabis – could inhibit the metabolism of nicotine. The researchers tested CBD on microsomes from human liver tissue and specialized cell lines to see how it influenced nicotine metabolism.
The team found that several of these enzymes, including CYP2A6 – a major one for nicotine metabolism – were inhibited, leading them to conclude that CBD could curb the urge for a cigarette.
Research suggests that more than 70% of nicotine is metabolized by this particular enzyme and that it could be inhibited by relatively low doses of CBD.
How CBD use may be able to help people quit smoking
Jon Robson, CEO and founder of medical cannabis clinic Mamedica, believes CBD has the potential to be a non-addictive substitute for cigarettes and could help people quit smoking in a number of ways, including:
Ease stress and anxiety
CBD is often used to ease anxiety, and Robson says this can be particularly beneficial for smokers. “CBD has been shown to have anxiolytic effects, meaning that it can reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. By reducing anxiety, CBD may help people cope with the withdrawal symptoms that can occur when quitting smoking,” he says.
If smoking has been long used as a crux to manage stress and anxiety, a reduction in these feelings may see people reaching for a cigarette less and less as well.
Reduce nicotine cravings
“CBD may also help with craving reduction,” says Robson. “CBD has been shown to have a potential as a treatment for drug addiction, and may help reduce cravings for nicotine,” he says.
Vaporized CBD in particular may be a good alternative. As users must inhale the vapor, they are mimicking the action of smoking; a habit they might repeat several times a day. In this way, CBD could become a replacement for the repetitive motion of smoking.
In addition, CBD has anti-inflammatory effects, which are beneficial to your overall health and may make quitting easier.
“Chronic smoking can lead to inflammation and damage to the lungs, which can make quitting smoking even more difficult,” Robson explains. “The anti-inflammatory properties in CBD may help to reduce inflammation and promote healing in the lungs.”
Is CBD use habit-forming?
One concern, of course, is that by using CBD to quit smoking, you’re simply replacing one harmful habit with another.
Robson says these fears are unfounded, noting that CBD side effects are often mild and temporary and that the substance is not harmful or addictive.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that CBD “exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential” in humans,” he notes. “Additionally, subsequent reviews of CBD safety and side effects have found that CBD has a “favorable safety profile” and is well-tolerated in humans.”
Therefore, CBD could be an effective method of replacing a habit without becoming habit-forming itself. Of course, this new research is only one study and further research is needed to explore CBD as a quitting smoking tool.
A controlled studyTrusted Source published in 2013 found that consumption of cannabidiol reduced cigarette consumption in tobacco smokers. Participants who were treated with CBD significantly reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by 40% during treatment, and some maintained this new frequency at a follow-up.
Abbas Kanani, a pharmacist from online pharmacy Chemist Click, says that while the current studies are certainly “promising”, the theory needs to be further tested in smokers to see if it can actually help people stop smoking for good.
Robson agrees. “There are a few possible avenues to facilitate our understanding of how CBD can be used effectively to help people quit smoking, including clinical trials or comparative and long-term studies,” he says.
By Victoria Stokes on March 28, 2023 — Fact checked by Dana K. Cassell