Can CBD Help You Quit Smoking?
Cannabis compounds such as cannabidiol (CBD) are increasingly popular with individuals looking to reduce the symptoms of a variety of common health conditions. These include anxiety disorders, chronic inflammation and even forms of sleep dysfunction. Among the multitude of ex-smokers turning to vaping as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes, many CBD consumers are wondering if they can take its neurophysiological benefits to the next level; namely, into the fight to quit smoking.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce a psychoactive high or any of its symptoms (e.g. diminished motor function, drowsiness). CBD is typically extracted from industrially grown hemp, either as a broad- or full-spectrum oil or even as a liquid or powder isolate containing no other cannabinoids or cannabis compounds.
Before its recent break into the global mainstream, CBD made national news across the United States by calming the epileptic seizures of a young child. Nearly a decade’s worth of research into its therapeutic potential later, CBD oil is now available to the public as a nutritional supplement, and people using it as such claim that it helps them with a wide range of conditions including chronic pain and mood disorders.
For its range of increasingly established benefits, many new CBD consumers often question whether it can play a role in the struggle to give up smoking. In this post, we go over frequently reported symptoms of withdrawal among individuals looking to quit smoking, some of their known root causes, and how CBD can help to reduce these symptoms with regular supplemental use.
Common Symptoms of Smoking Withdrawal
Whether you’re vaping a garden variety broad-spectrum CBD cartridge or dosing sublingually with the strongest CBD oil in the world, the cannabinoid has been shown to help with common symptoms associated with smoking withdrawal, including but not limited to:
- Anxiety or withdrawal-related stress can come in different intensities. For some people, it’s characterised by a constant loss of focus, irritability or difficulty concentrating. For others, it’s crippling and debilitating — manifesting in bouts of shaking, sweating or even intense nausea that can affect an individual’s ability to socialise or maintain productivity at work.
- Cravings caused by cigarette withdrawal can range from mildly distracting to a cause of self-destructive behaviours like overeating or undersleeping. Constant cravings can also cause hormonal imbalances in some individuals, leading to minor issues like irregular appetite or breakouts of acne.
- Headache or chronic migraines are a common side effect of withdrawal, whether related to cigarettes, sugar or even drugs. While some cases can be largely psychosomatic, the large majority are caused by neurological imbalances due to behaviours associated with poor coping (e.g. declining diet quality, irregular sleeping patterns etc).
How CBD Can Help
Regardless of the root cause, CBD’s anxiolytic properties are well-documented in scientific literature. Among cannabis consumers, anxiety is arguably the single most common use case for CBD supplementation. Symptoms of anxiety disorders such as erratic mood swings or irritability are also provably ameliorated, both by scientific studies and large-scale correlation of anecdotal testimonies among consumers diagnosed with conditions characterised by similar symptoms (e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic depression).
CBD & the endocannabinoid system in a nutshell
Cannabinoids like CBD derive their therapeutic potential via their interactions with endocannabinoid system (ECS) receptors in the immune system, peripheral organs and nervous system. By exerting a modulatory influence over these receptors, CBD can indirectly regulate the body’s production, response and sensitivity to hormones and signalling molecules like dopamine, serotonin, cytokines or prostaglandins.
CBD’s role within the ECS is key to understanding how it can help to reduce the severity of acute or chronic pain conditions, irregular appetite and neurotransmitter imbalances, all of which are common root causes of the most prevalent symptoms of withdrawal and its related behavioural disorders — whether tied to smoking or not.