Mindfulness & Anxiety

Can a CBD pre-roll help you quit smoking?

By Marc Lewis

Hold a CBD pre-roll and you’re aware of what you don’t have. It looks like a joint, smells like a joint, but won’t get you high. You’d have to smoke a thousand of them to get to a place one marijuana cigarette will take you. If you’re coming at a hemp joint from that place, you’ll be disappointed.

While a pre-roll won’t get you high, it is something to smoke. And a lot of smokers who want to quit, those who have decided against sucking on a USB drive, will tell you something else to smoke might help them get over the hump.

Because when a smoker is done, when he’s tired of smelling like hell or wants his kids to grow up smoke-free, he starts counting, rationing cigarettes to the bitter end. He cuts back to the two or three favorite cigarettes of the day—the one with coffee, maybe the one after work. It’s a long process that brings the smoker to his last, favorite cigarette. The smoker (this writer included) knows the last cigarette is the hardest to quit.

So how can CBD help quitters quit that last cigarette?

The smoker gets down to his last cigarette of the day and all he’s got to do is quit one more. It sounds simple. Just one day on the ride home: don’t smoke, be done. But the smoker hangs on to his one-a-day habit. Then someone cuts him off in traffic, the oven breaks, or he stubs a toe and one-a-day becomes full-fledged smoking again. If only he could get over that last one.

Evidence is mounting that CBD has can lessen the signs of withdrawal.

  • In people trying to overcome opioid addiction, CBD is shown to lessen the amount of reward the brain gets from the drug it craves, thus loosening the dependency.
  • CBD calms the nerves and helps with depression, which is a plus to any smoker trying to quit.
  • The compound may also combat social anxiety, a nervous feeling that has driven more than a few smokers to the porch at every party ever.

All these are positives for the smoker who wants to quit.

“But what about CBD and smoking specifically.”

In addition to the impact CBD may have on an addicted brain, research published in Addictive Behavior showed CBD may help people quit smoking. In a double blind study, 24 smokers were given an inhaler to take when they had the urge to smoke. Then they were asked to record cravings and the number of cigarettes they smoked. Half of the participants were given a placebo inhaler, and the other half an inhaler with CBD in it. Results showed CBD may have positive impact on reducing cigarette cravings. The participants that had the CBD inhaler smoked 40% less cigarettes. The group with the placebo saw no change.

“But I need more than evidence to quit.”

That’s where the pre-roll comes in. When I was quitting, despite all the knowing-smoking-is-bad-for-me, inevitably, I’d get off the couch, put on my shoes, and drive to the nearest convenient store to stand in the lonely white glow next to the ice chest and smoke. Truth—both knowledge and advertising—helped people like me get to the point of wanting to quit but in that lonely heat of addiction, information was insufficient. I wanted to smoke. I wanted something to hold. Something to put between my fingers to inhale when I was alone at night. A stick of hemp, for me, would have been a welcomed reprieve. Something different to put in my mouth.

That’s why Gold Standard CBD’s Hemp Stix caught my eye at the Carolina Hemp Festival. The pre-rolls come in a pack of 10, cost $30, and are formulated for relaxation. In addition to having some of the beneficial properties of hemp that we’ve discussed, each pre-roll is also—for quitters like the one I was—the size of a cigarette. It feels like a cigarette between your fingers. It’s something to hold. It’s a distraction.

Negatives to replacing a cigarette with Gold Standard CBD Hemp Stix are:

  • You’re still smoking. Putting anything into your lungs other than air is bad.
  • Cost. Some CBD products are costly. These come out to $3/smoke. For a person trying to quit cigarettes—especially one who wrestles with the ending for months—this is a small price considering how many “last packs” a smoker might buy.
  • Convenience. You’ll want to think about where and when you’re smoking a hemp pre-roll. They smell like cannabis. If you smoke them in the office parking lot, people will sniff and stare. Your clothes will also briefly smell like cannabis.

Those are the cons, and they’re real. But weigh the risks associated with cannabis against the dangers of smoking. If you can replace some of your final cigarettes with hemp and release tobacco for good, your health will benefit.

“But what about the farmers? At least my future-lung-cancer employs farmers.”

Hemp positively impacts farmers. In some places, farmers who are replacing tobacco with hemp are getting $1 more per pound. An okay hemp crop may even beat a great tobacco crop, according to a recent Forbes story.

For farmers, folks who work early, long, and often, more per acre matters. Rarely do we—people who shower before work, instead of after—understand that the farm economy is opposite what we feel. Agriculture is entering the fourth year of a recession while the general economy has been up-and-to-the-right for years. So choosing a product that gives farmers new and different options may shift some of the recovery outward.

Again, No Smoking is “Healthy”

Smoking is bad for you. Putting anything in your lungs other than air introduces damaging and potentially harmful molecules to your lungs. What we’re talking about is getting over the hump, finding a temporary alternative that helps someone quite smoking.

Debates about medically-assisted treatment for all forms of addiction are on-going. But opinion is shifting toward the notion that one size does not fit all. If a hemp pre-roll full of quality CBD offers a brief, light feeling in the head and arms—not a buzz, but a sensation—and that sensation helps a person smoke one less cigarette, it’s something to consider.

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