Want To Quit Tobacco? Cannabis Can Help, New Study Finds

If you want to give up smoking tobacco in the new year, cannabis may be able to help. 

This is the finding of a new retrospective survey that found medical cannabis use was associated with greater reductions of tobacco and nicotine use in nearly half of study participants.  

Personally, I can attest to the power of cannabis for help quitting tobacco. I used cannabis (particularly CBD-rich cannabis) to quit smoking tobacco three years ago.  

The study

Published in the journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, the study was set up to examine how the initiation of medical cannabis impacted tobacco and nicotine use. 

Participants were asked to self-report patterns of tobacco and nicotine use before and after starting their use of cannabis by completing an online survey. Subject were prescribed medical cannabis to treat either chronic pain, mental health conditions or insomnia.

Of the 2,102 participants involved in the study, 650 were current or former tobacco/nicotine users. Following initiation of medical cannabis use, 320 (49%) of tobacco/nicotine users self-reported reductions in use, with 160 (24.6%) reporting no use in the 30 days prior to the survey. 

Read: What’s The Best Substitute For Tobacco In Joints?

Odds of tobacco/nicotine cessation were highest among those who were aged 55 or older, or those who reported less than 25 tobacco/nicotine uses per day before the study. 

Interestingly, those who had a specific intention to use medical cannabis in order to quit tobacco or nicotine had significantly greater odds of reducing consumption. 

Additionally, using traditional tobacco or nicotine cessation treatments was negatively associated with cessation.

Better than current strategies

Current strategies for reducing or quitting tobacco include nicotine replacement therapy using vape pens or nicotine patches, talk therapy and sometimes prescription drugs. Each has proven to only be slightly effective. 

Speaking to Mugglehead Magazine, study co-author Philippe Lucas said that the success rate of tobacco cessation following cannabis use “would be equivalent to, or better than, a lot of the current tobacco cessation strategies, whether they are psychological such as talk therapy, pharmacological, such as the patch, or the use of nicotine gum or prescription drugs in order to reduce tobacco use.”

My experience

I personally used cannabis to quit tobacco over three years ago. I already consumed THC-rich cannabis, but I found that smoking CBD flower (hemp flower) was a satisfying substitute for tobacco in my joints and cigarettes. 

In fact, I found it surprisingly easy to give up tobacco thanks to CBD flower, with virtually no withdrawal symptoms or cravings. I wrote an article about how I used CBD flower to quit tobacco – read it here: How Smoking Hemp Flower Helped Me Quit Tobacco With No Withdrawal Effects

Using CBD to quit tobacco

Research has found CBD to be effective at reducing anxiety, a potent anti-inflammatory, and a neuroprotectant (protects the brain). These effects make CBD useful in the treatment of anxiety and mental health conditions, insomnia, diabetes, acne, Alzheimer’s and addiction. 

There is also evidence suggesting it can reduce cigarette cravings.

It seems that, by interacting with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system – a bodily system that is in every mammal – CBD has the ability to alter the attention bias of the brain. That means it can help you to ignore things that previously were impossible to ignore, like cravings and habitual thinking patterns.

Read: Why Do The British Mix Their Weed With Tobacco?

Take this study, for example, which gave a group of smokers an inhaler that administered doses of CBD. They were told to take a puff anytime they fancied a cigarette. The researchers didn’t tell the participants to not have a cigarette, just to have a dose of CBD first via the inhaler. Another group were given a`placebo.

Remarkably, the subjects given CBD lowered the amount of cigarettes they smoked by 40% during the study and had reduced cravings for nicotine! 40%, and that’s not even trying. 

CBD and withdrawals

CBD may also help reduce withdrawal symptoms. This review published in Neurotherapeutics found that CBD reduced some symptoms associated with substance use disorders including anxiety, unstable mood, pain, and insomnia.

Read: The 10 Best CBD Hemp Flower Shops In The UK

Rather than tobacco, however, the subjects in the study were abstaining from opioids, which are notoriously hard to get off. The withdrawal effects from nicotine should be far less severe and CBD should help make them very manageable. 

For more information on using CBD to quit tobacco, see this article: Using CBD To Quit Cigarettes And Tobacco: The Ultimate Guide (UK)

Summary

A new study has found that medical cannabis patients consumed less tobacco once they started using cannabis. It was especially powerful in subjects who had an intention to use  cannabis to reduce tobacco consumption. 

This backs up my own anecdotal experience of using CBD-rich cannabis to quit smoking tobacco three years ago. 

Therefore, if you are planning to stub out your tobacco habit this new year, cannabis may be one of the best tools around to help you. 

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