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Addiction Ask A Doctor CBD Research

Can CBD Help You Quit Cigarettes?

Written by Dr. Leah Zachar

Millions of people around the world want more than anything to give up smoking cigarettes. Can CBD Help You Quit Cigarettes?

Question: I am 52 years old and I have COPD from smoking. My doctor told me that if I continue smoking I am going to get lung cancer. I’ve been smoking for 35 years, and I want to quit, but it’s so hard. I want to see my grandchildren grow up. Help!

Lung cancer is still the biggest cancer killer by far in the United States, killing more people each year than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney & melanoma by far.

Cigarettes are one of the most addictive drugs known – more addictive than opioids, more addictive than cocaine, and more addictive than alcohol.
When you stop smoking, you go into withdrawal, and the most common symptoms are anxiety, insomnia, & irritability. This is because when you smoke, the nicotine stimulates the brain reward mechanisms and gives you a “good relaxed calm feeling”.

Question: Can CBD give you the same “good relaxed feeling” as cigarettes?

ABSOLUTELY. CBD is an excellent anxiolytic.CBD binds to the same receptors in the brain as nicotine. CBD stops the “craving” that compels you to “light up.”CBD affects the memory process called “reconsolidation”. Reconsolidation is when just seeing someone smoking, “triggers” you to remember the positive feeling you felt when you smoked, and you then reach for the nearest cigarette.CBD decreases the cues, or memories that hold the desire to smoke.CBD eliminates the anxiety you experience when you can’t smoke.

Question: How much CBD do I need to take to help me to quit smoking?

You don’t need high doses of CBD to prevent the withdrawal, or even to treat the addiction. However, you do need 24/7 coverage – because when the “craving” is felt, and you want to reach for that cigarette, the temptation is very hard to resist.

That is why CBD edibles are recommended. After 5-7 days of taking the CBD edibles at 25-mg/day, it builds up in your system and you now have 24/7 coverage. The CBD blocks the symptoms of withdrawal and calms you down, so you don’t feel the “pull” to smoke the cigarette. CBD also decreases the social cues to smoke, which means if someone near you lights up, you don’t automatically reach for the cigarette lighter to light one up yourself.

Ref: “Cannabidiol reduces cigarette consumption in tobacco smokers: preliminary findings.” Addict Behav. 2013 Sep;38(9):2433-6.

If you want to read more from Dr Zachar, check out: ‘Ask A Doctor – Case Scenarios For Children’s CBD Dosage’

[Image credit: Pixabay]

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About the author

Dr. Leah Zachar

Dr. Leah Zachar, M.D. is a physician who worked for nearly thirty years in Internal Medicine.
She currently is a scientific adviser to CBD Testers. Dr. Zachar believes that there is much that medical cannabis, and cannabidiol in particular can offer to traditional medicine.