It’s no secret that tobacco is a big killer. That’s why I want to share with you how smoking CBD-rich cannabis (or hemp, as it’s known by most) helped me easily quit smoking tobacco while experiencing no withdrawal effects.
Up until 18 months ago, I had smoked tobacco in the form of cigarettes and roll-ups since I was a teenager. My whole family smoke and it felt like something I would never be able to go without. Then I discovered hemp flower.
Mixing tobacco with weed
I also smoked weed mixed with tobacco, along with an estimated 90% of weed-smokers in Europe.
Studies have shown that those who mix their weed with tobacco have greater rates of dependency, and mixing the two can cause a higher increase in heart rate and blood pressure than smoking weed alone, which can, in turn, result in anxiety.
Nicotine also causes spikes of “feel good” chemicals in the brain, instantly relaxing and giving you a pleasant, lightheaded feeling. You also feel these sensations with weed, along with more powerful, psychoactive and muscle relaxing effects.
Despite many attempts to quit tobacco (and cannabis) over the years, my longest successful stint on the waggon was three weeks, with 10 of those 21 days spent at a meditation retreat where smoking was prohibited.
It’s no surprise people mix their weed with tobacco, though, when you look at the price of weed in Europe. In the UK, an ounce (28g) will set you back around £180-250. And thanks to Europe’s penchant for smoking joints rather than bongs or pipes – which are most popular in the US and Canada (both of which have legalised weed to some extent) – who can afford to smoke their weed pure?
Desire to quit
Despite my history of smoking, I take my health seriously – particularly when it comes to diet and exercise – which is why I tried to knock smoking on the head so many times.
Deep down, however, I really wanted to continue consuming weed, just not tobacco. This saw me explore some supposedly safer alternatives, such as herbal mixtures and natural tobacco. None were particularly pleasant and, to be honest, I felt like I was 13-years-old again, smoking dry oregano from mum’s herb cupboard (come on, we’ve all been there).
I’ve now been tobacco-free for one year. All thanks too hemp…
What is hemp?
So-called ‘industrial’ hemp, which is widely available in the UK and the rest of the world, is simply the term given to cannabis with low levels of a naturally occurring chemical called THC. THC is what cannabis is usually grown specifically for, as it is the compound that gets you ‘high’. When a cannabis plant has less than 0.2% THC, as stipulated by the UK government, it’s classed as hemp and is completely legal to grow, provided you have a licence.
Hemp is traditionally grown for industrial purposes such as for rope, paper, and textiles. Its seeds are also very nutritious and are cultivated for food and supplements.
These days, it’s being grown for CBD, since there is no limit or regulation on this particular in-demand cannabinoid.
Now that research is expanding and results of studies are widely shared via the Internet, people around the world are realising the potential of CBD, and therefore hemp, for a variety of purposes.
I won’t go into all the potential benefits of CBD, but this directory of peer-reviewed, scientifically-sound studies is a good place to start if you want to delve into the subject further.
How to use hemp to quit tobacco with no withdrawal effects
As a smoker, I personally smoke high-CBD hemp buds pure in roll-ups and as a substitute for tobacco in my joints. Pre-rolls are also useful if you can’t roll your own.
And do you know what? From that first joint, I have not missed tobacco at all. Hemp smells better, it tastes just like weed, and even has relaxing, calming effects.
When mixed with weed, hemp has the ability to counteract the negative effects of THC, such as anxiety and paranoia, and can even make the beneficial effects more pronounced and longer-lasting. This study shows when CBD and THC are consumed together, there are higher concentrations of THC in the blood.
And what’s more, thanks to the therapeutic effects of CBD and hemp, I experienced zero withdrawal effects. Not even any cravings! After researching why this might be, I discovered that CBD has been found to be effective at treating various substance addictions, including alcohol, amphetamines, and even opiates like heroin.
My weed-induced anxiety and paranoia have also reduced dramatically and my social skills are noticeably less impaired.
High-CBD hemp flower on sale in the UK
Cannabis Sativa L. with low levels of THC and high levels of CBD (or hemp) is currently being sold in the UK. There is some confusion surrounding its legality, but there have been no prosecutions for people selling it and many are openly importing it into the UK.
As there is very little THC in these buds, you don’t get ‘high’ after consuming them like you do with regulator cannabis. You see, CBD binds to different receptors than THC. It is also antipsychotic (meaning it counteracts the negative effects of THC), as well as anxiolytic (anxiety relieving) and anti-analgesic (pain relieving).
Therefore, CBD does not get you ‘stoned’, ‘baked’, ‘lean’, ‘bombed’, ‘twisted’, or any other term that refers to an altered consciousness. It is, in fact, very safe even in very high doses and has never killed anyone! That is remarkable, especially considering paracetamol overdoses alone cause over 120 deaths each year in the UK and Wales.
I have, therefore, been on the hunt for the very best hemp buds for some time. And I found them.
Hemp in Switzerland
At first, a lot of the hemp flower I was getting had a lot of seeds and was a bit ‘stringy’. It didn’t take long until my Googling led me to the mountainous and liberal country of Switzerland, however. Not literally, unfortunately, but to this press release from Reuters.
The report explains how Swiss entrepreneurs are cashing in on the surging popularity of high-CBD, low-THC cannabis (hemp), which it has named “marijuana-light”. This high-grade hemp has suddenly taken off in recent months, six years after the country legalised low-potency cannabis.
This high-CBD hemp is cultivated in hydroponic grow warehouses across Switzerland. It is being sold in pots and pouches, marketed as a tobacco replacement, and is growing in popularity at a fast rate.
My excitement at finding these growers was short-lived, however, as this hemp was still considered illegal in the UK due to its THC content being above the 0.2% threshold imposed by the UK government – a threshold which is holding back the European hemp industry and hurting the environment, according to this article. I was back on the hunt.
Since then, a number of shops, both online and physical, have appeared in the UK selling high-grade hemp flowers with less than 0.2% THC. This is what I was looking for!
Here’s an updated list of every one of those shops.
I go into further detail on smoking hemp in my new book, Overcoming Cannabis Dependence, as well as a number of other cutting edge techniques that have helped me cultivate a healthy relationship with cannabis. The book is short, concise, and highly practical. It’s available on Amazon at this link.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this article makes no attempt to diagnose or treat any health condition. This article is in no way intended to offer medical advice. It is merely a report of my own experiences with hemp and of the available research on CBD.
CBD is not a ‘cure’, it is a very complex chemical derived from an infinitely more complex plant, that we – mankind – know relatively little about. Please employ your own investigative skills and explore the subject yourself. Here are some reputable sources to start you off: