Motivation and Education

Can CBD Help Nicotine Users Quit?

Can CBD Help Nicotine Users Quit?
Photo Credit: Pexels User Akshat Soni

The decision to stop using nicotine can seem relatively simple, compared to navigating the subsequent cravings and anxiety.  Fortunately, there are a number of methods commonly used to cope with this. These range from support groups such as Kill The Can to relaxation techniques. More recently, CBD has been added to the list of potential tools to help ease the anxiety and cravings associated with quitting nicotine..

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in the cannabis sativa plant, which is known to have anti-inflammatory and relaxing properties. Some products contain this compound only, while others (like Joy Organics) also contain THC.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive substance in marijuana that produces a “high”, but unlike unregulated street drugs, the levels of THC  in properly regulated and tested CBD products is only found in small amounts.

The Link Between CBD and Nicotine Cessation

A recent study from Washington State University suggests that CBD can restrict the body’s ability to metabolize nicotine, lessening its effects and therefore creating a delay effect between using nicotine and the need to use more.

While more research is needed to confirm effects in humans and assess dosage levels, this is promising news for those trying to quit nicotine. Besides this research, the calming effects of CBD products can also help lower stress and anxiety levels.

CBD Products

CBD can be taken using a number of methods, including:

  • Transdermal absorption using topical treatments for issues like muscular aches.
  • Absorption via mucous membranes in the mouth (eg. tinctures, vapes or oils).
  • Absorption into the bloodstream via the digestive system (edibles or capsules).

Are There Any Risks?

Regulation of CBD products remains inconsistent, so it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re getting. Currently a prescription oil called Epidiolex is the only CBD product by the FDA.  You can check the label of your CBD product (which should be labeled as a “food supplement”) for a COA (certificate of authenticity), indicating third-party testing.

Potential Side-Effects Of CBD

While CBD is generally well-tolerated, like any treatment it carries a number of possible risks, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight or hunger fluctuations
  • Liver problems

Potential Side-Effects of THC

While CBD itself is not habit-forming, THC can be addictive if used long-term or in  large amounts. Avoid using THC if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if you are undergoing surgery, or  if you have epilepsy or heart disease.

As a psychoactive compound, THC also poses a risk of panic attacks and cannabis-induced psychosis, particularly in those with (or with a family history of) conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Other Risks

Edibles can take time to affect the system after being eaten, so accidental ingestion and overconsumption is another risk associated with CBD, particularly in older and younger people who may accidentally mistake the gummies for ordinary candy.

Similarly to other vaping products, vaping CBD oil poses a risk to lung health, especially since mislabeling and inconsistent regulation continues to be an issue with these products.

When starting any form of treatment, speak with your doctor to check for suitability and potential interactions with any medications you may already be taking, as well as any potential side-effects and finding the correct dosage for your needs.

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