Marijuana and the components derived from it are already known to treat a myriad of medical conditions, but researchers now think that it might also help smokers drop the habit.
Cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis also known as CBD, has already shown promise in treating anxiety and even seizures, but researchers believe that it can help people cut down on smoking, according to a study from the Addiction journal. An earlier study showed that CBD oil users reduced smoking by 40 percent after a week compared to people who were given a placebo.
In the new study, 30 nicotine-dependent smokers were asked to stop from smoking cigarettes overnight, and randomly assigned to groups that would receive either a 800-milligram dose of CBD oil or a placebo.
Researchers then observed that those who were given the placebo had a stronger response to photos related to smoking than those who were given CBD. This meant that people who use CBD have fewer intrusive thoughts about smoking, and therefore have a better chance of kicking the habit.
“A single 800‐mg oral dose of cannabidiol reduced the salience and pleasantness of cigarette cues, compared with placebo, after overnight cigarette abstinence in dependent smokers,” the study concluded.
The researchers report that “cannabidiol did not influence tobacco craving or withdrawal or any subjectively rated side effects,” however.
“Cannabidiol can reduce some aspects of nicotine withdrawal in dependent cigarette smokers, which include the attentional bias to and liking of drug cues, but did not affect craving withdrawal, cognition or impulsivity associated with withdrawal,” said Hindocha to PsyPost. “This is likely because we gave people a single dose of the drug.”
Hindocha said that it’s possible that if patients continued to use CBD over a longer period of time, or perhaps at a higher dose, they could start seeing more improvements. It’s clear that there are benefits to using CBD oil as a tool to quit smoking, but there are still many questions about its effectiveness in comparison to smoking cessation drugs.
Hindocha also noted that it will take more research to fully explore cannabis’ effectiveness as an aid to smoking cessation. “Many questions still need to be addressed such as what is the efficacy of CBD in comparison to leading smoking cessation drugs? Can CBD be used as an adjunct to smoking cessation drugs? What dose of CBD oil is actually required for the desired effect on craving and withdrawal?