Cigarette smokers face an incredible challenge when attempting to quit. Not only does nicotine enter the blood stream and stay in the body for a long time, but withdrawal symptoms affect focus, memory, sleep, appetite, mood, and heart rate. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it can take a person several times to quit smoking, and that the risk for different cancers and heart disease decreases greatly within the first couple of years after cessation. Because of this, nicotine withdrawal is one of the most difficult experiences a person can have, and any successful smoking cessation method should warrant further exploration. Luckily, a person may have a healthier alternative with CBD pre-rolls—also called hemp pre-rolls or hemp cigarettes—as recent studies show it can be more beneficial than other methods.
Hemp cigarettes offer people who spend a small fortune on nicotine an accessible way to quit. For some, nicotine patches and other aides don’t work for a variety of reasons: side effects, efficacy, affordability, and a lack of mental health support. Treating the withdrawal symptoms without addressing the root cause of nicotine addiction (anxiety, depression, mood disorders, other mental health conditions) doesn’t make long-term success feasible.
Because of this, having an alternative for smoking cessation that not only treats side effects of nicotine withdrawal, but also helps relax the body and reduce anxiety seems almost too good to be true. While the studies are limited, the research that does exist is hopeful that CBD pre-rolls could be a safe way to quit smoking. One small study found that CBD can reduce continued nicotine use by 40%.
To make the transition even easier, some companies like Bhang offer CBD pre-rolls that look like nicotine cigarettes. While it may be slightly more costly to buy a pack of CBD cigarettes, they last longer and are beneficial to your health (unlike nicotine). Tobacco use is one of the top preventable causes of death in the U.S., while there are no recorded deaths caused by CBD cigarettes or hemp pre-rolls. For many smokers, triggers like social settings, public speaking, stressful work conditions, and insomnia can derail any attempt at quitting, which is why CBD could be a crucial element for smoking cessation.
CBD can help maintain your body’s homeostasis, which keeps you balanced, but it has been shown to help with those specific triggers. For example, one report suggests that CBD can reduce the stress-inducing elements of Social Anxiety Disorder, while other studies show CBD can have the same impact as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications (without the nasty side effects). Furthermore, while nicotine can cause cancer, CBD has anti-cancer properties and has been shown to enhance the inhibitory effects THC has on glioblastoma cell proliferation in cancer patients.
Even more promising is the benefit CBD can have for those experiencing nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which can be so negative that a person will often use nicotine again because they are so desperate for relief. There is evidence that higher doses of CBD, which can be found in hemp cigarettes, can enhance the quality and length of sleep, while smaller doses can make concentration and mindfulness easier. Additionally, CBD lessens the impact visual triggers and memories have on a smoker. In other words, the pleasant associations and social aspects that can make a person recall smoking in a nostalgic manner are weakened, making it easier to abstain from nicotine long-term.
While there are many cessation methods that can work, CBD cigarettes show promise as an option that won’t exasperate nicotine withdrawal symptoms. In a recent Merry Jane article, Dr. Michele Ross says that people who inhale CBD by smoking it are 50% less likely to smoke another cigarette. Furthermore, Dr. Ross points out CBD can be helpful in activating the body’s dopamine receptors and boosting anandamide. What this means is that the “bliss” molecule in the endogenous system is stimulated, creating the euphoric feeling many people feel when they first light a tobacco cigarette.
When someone inhales nicotine, the effect is felt within the brain in ten seconds. Initially, this boosts the dopamine and neurochemical receptors, leading to the happy, relaxed feeling. Over time, however, the brain is only able to release dopamine when it receives the nicotine. This results in the brain being unable to produce dopamine when the smoker tries to quit, leading to worsened depression, anxiety, irritability and a host of other nasty side effects.
Hopefully, more research will surface supporting CBD pre-rolls for smoking cessation, because we need a safer alternative. If you are thinking of quitting nicotine, trying this method could be the path of least resistance.
As part of its commitment to customers’ health, bud.com is planning to introduce hemp pre-rolls to its menu. For now, check out Bhang’s collection of CBD cigarettes, and stay tuned.
Diana-Ashley Krach is a freelance writer, journalist, and content creator whose work can be found on Everyday Feminism, Ravishly, and Playboy. She is the co-host and creator of Your Highness Podcast and founder of Good Vibes Marketing Agency. You can find her on Twitter or on her website.