(This article originally appeared in AskCBD! and is republished here with permission.)
What if CBD could help you quit smoking? Today, cigarette smoking remains the largest preventable cause of death among American adults over the age of 18. Each year, almost half a million Americans die from smoking-related diseases, including those related to second-hand smoke. Even as experts predict the global smoking cessation market to grow to $21.8 billion by 2024, large numbers of the population continue to puff away.
The truth is, quitting smoking is extremely difficult. Nicotine, after all, is one of the most addictive substances known to man. But researchers at the University College London think they may have found a way to help smokers begin to cut down or even quit for good using CBD.
A Dangerous Habit
Whether you are lighting up a cigarette or lighting up a joint, the pure act of inhaling burning plant material is dangerous to your lungs. According to Herb online, your lungs face two problems when you light up a cigarette. The first issue is heat; lungs are not meant to inhale hot air or cigarette smoke.
More importantly, the second issue is that when you light a cigarette, cancer-causing compounds are released into your lungs. Things like benzene, which is known to be very harmful to your health, cause the lungs to develop tar deposits.
After some time your body becomes dependent on the nicotine and other chemicals found in cigarettes; you become addicted. Of course, most people who smoke understand this and continue to smoke anyway.
Science says CBD may be able to help.
A Different Way of Quitting
Where most smoking cessation products on the market today attempt to use nicotine-replacement therapy, the use of CBD to quit smoking takes a different approach.
As per the article in Herb online, researchers out of the University College London believe CBD may work by affecting the brains memories that give us a desire to smoke.
“We found that CBD seems to reduce the salience of cues. It also can reduce anxiety and may affect a memory process called ‘reconsolidation,’ which is where when a memory of the reward of smoking is re-activated by seeing someone smoking, it is rendered vulnerable to destruction,” noted one of the researchers in Herb online.
In their study, one group of smokers received a CBD inhaler and another a placebo. Each group was told to use the inhaler whenever they had the urge to smoke. While the placebo group showed no difference, the CBD group reduced their cigarette intake by 40 percent.
What The Future Holds
While the results of this study are promising, scientists say that more research is needed. Still, for the vast swaths of the population who continue to struggle with nicotine addiction, it may be a ray of light in fighting the urge to smoke.