Seedsman Blog
cannabis tobacco
Home » Cannabis Can Help You Quit Tobacco – Here’s How

Cannabis Can Help You Quit Tobacco – Here’s How

It shouldn’t come as a newsflash that smoking tobacco is bad for you. In fact, rather than preach, it’s tempting to recall a bit by comedian Denis Leary, where he sarcastically quips, “Really? I thought these things had Vitamin C in them!”

Everybody knows the harmful effects of smoking tobacco. Yet it remains one of the most challenging addictions to manage due to the powerful pull of nicotine. Like many addictive behaviours, smokers regularly tout the stress-relieving properties of the drug, which delivers a powerful dopamine hit, but of the 1.1 billion smokers worldwide, around 8 million die each year due to the habit[i].

If quitting was easy, few would smoke. Ask any long-term cigarette smoker, and they’ll likely tell you how they either want to stop, tried to quit, or intend to quit at some point – but it’s not that easy. Willpower alone is not enough for many smokers, and nicotine replacement therapy is required. Those patches, lozenges, gums and sprays designed to wean smokers off nicotine slowly have spawned an industry that, in 2020, was worth an estimated $2.81b[ii]. 

You may be wondering how cannabis use factors into this conversation and how it can play a role in helping you break the spell of tobacco. Surely smoking can’t help you stop smoking?

How CBD Can Help Manage Nicotine Cravings

Tests have found that cannabidiol – the second most active cannabinoid in cannabis after tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – can play a role in satiating cravings in cigarette smokers.

A study conducted in 2013 by University College London delivered CBD to smokers via an inhaler. It resulted in a reduction in cigarette use of up to 40% in some participants. The randomised, double-blind placebo study measured the responses of 24 smokers, 12 of whom received CBD, with the other 12 receiving a placebo over a week. Those smokers who were administered the placebo showed no difference in the number of cigarettes smoked. Still, the smokers who received CBD showed a marked reduction in cigarette use, leading the study’s authors to conclude that even though the numbers tested were small, “CBD is a potential treatment for nicotine addiction that requires further exploration”[iii].

Studies Continue

Further clinical trials were carried out in Berlin in 2021. They showed that cannabidiol effectively prevented signs of nicotine withdrawal in animal studies involving rats (nicotine was delivered via an osmotic pump, just in case you’re wondering if the rats were given a packet of Marlboro each). The rats were then given injections of CBD, which was found to prevent somatic signs of withdrawal and hyperalgesia (extreme sensitivity to pain) during abstinence, leading the study authors to conclude that CBD may be beneficial to alleviate withdrawal symptoms upon nicotine cessation in the brain’s receptors[iv].

This isn’t to say you should be smoking marijuana whenever nicotine cravings strike. In doing so, you’re really only replacing one addiction with another. And if you smoke 10 to 15 cigarettes a day, you’re going to be blazing a lot of joints. Sure, you’re keeping the psychological satisfaction of the ritual alive with a significantly less harmful substitute. Still, if you’re using cannabis with moderate to high THC content, chances are you’re not going to get much done! Fortunately, CBD is available in numerous forms, including CBD oils, edibles and sprays that are non-psychoactive and therapeutic. If giving up smoking altogether seems too hard, Seedsman carries a range of CBD-dominant strains which are extremely low in THC. They also have several medical benefits.

Why Cannabis May End Tobacco Addiction

Aside from the obvious drop in blood nicotine levels, various situations seem likely to trigger the craving for a cigarette in smokers. Many smoking cessation methods ask smokers to identify the key moments where they feel the strongest impulse to smoke cigarettes. Most smokers will give similar answers:

  • In times of stress or anxiety
  • After a meal
  • First thing in the morning
  • In social situations
  • After sex

Cannabis’s usefulness in reducing anxiety can help with the first of these. If smokers can find a way to manage cravings throughout the day and use cannabis or CBD products for the bigger cravings, rather than replace a cigarette with a joint every time the craving strikes, this would go some way to help stop smoking tobacco.

One of the most important things to remember when quitting tobacco is that a degree of mental willpower is required to get over nicotine withdrawal symptoms. If you’re looking to quit smoking tobacco products, and CBD can indeed disrupt some of the mechanisms which cause smokers to crave nicotine, it’s certainly an avenue worth exploring.

How to Use Cannabis to Quit Smoking Cigarettes

As mentioned before, a cannabis strain high in CBD looks like a good bet to help overcome nicotine dependence and tobacco addiction. You can try replacing tobacco products with a joint or vape containing CBD that may help reduce tobacco cravings without filling your insides with the harmful ingredients found in tobacco – hydrogen cyanide, benzene, and formaldehyde are among the deadly substances in cigarettes that cause high blood pressure, lung cancer, heart disease, strokes and many more. You’re offering your body something with known therapeutic benefits for physical and mental health and satisfying your oral fixation at the same time without any of the side effects commonly reported by those using nicotine replacement products, such as sleep disturbance and nausea – in fact; cannabidiol has a reputation for aiding both of these ailments as well as improving general well-being. 

Quitting tobacco is stressful for most smokers as the mind and body enter a state of withdrawal – your mind knows you’re depriving it of something it’s used to, so there’s a likelihood of increased stress and irritability at this time. Smoking cannabis can help promote relaxation and may be beneficial in dealing with those tobacco withdrawal symptoms. By puffing on cannabis, you still receive that satisfying dopamine hit you’re used to feeling when smoking tobacco, but with the added bonus of knowing you’re no longer polluting your body with deadly chemicals and toxins.

Of course, smoking is still smoking, and combustibles in any form are unhealthy, but this is an excellent time to re-evaluate your choice of rolling papers, too – rice papers, for example, are decidedly less dangerous on your lungs. Although, If you’re already suffering from lung problems from years of smoking, you’re probably better to go with a different consumption method such as oils, sprays or tinctures.

References

[i] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tobacco

[ii] https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/nicotine-replacement-therapy-nrt-market-103362

[iii]https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S030646031300083X[iv]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nig.gov/33909102/

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

This post is also available in: French

Kyle Connolly