Every year on the 31st of May, the member states of the United Nations observe World No Tobacco Day. The event consists of campaigns, broadcasts, and demonstrations in dozens of countries, while the World Health Organisation publishes a themed report on an area of research into the damage of tobacco.
CBD has been used for a huge range of problems, from anxiety and depression to MS, chronic pain and arthritis. A 2013 study has suggested that CBD may also be of use to those who wish to quit smoking.
Tobacco and Heart Disease
This year, the theme chosen by the UN is ‘Tobacco Breaks Hearts’. This is a reference to the high proportion of heart diseases caused by tobacco smoking. We often associate smoking with lung diseases like lung cancer, emphysema, and COPD. Heart disease is, however, the second-biggest killer of smokers, and is also the cause of one-third of deaths worldwide. More than 80% of heart disease mortalities occur in low- to middle- income countries.
Out of the seven million deaths a year caused by smoking, around three million of these are through heart disease, while over half of the 890,000 second-hand smoking deaths are also caused by heart disease.
How Smoking Causes Heart Disease
Heart diseases are caused by smoking in three ways:
- Tar and chemicals damage blood vessels, making the heart work harder to keep the body functioning.
- Nicotine increases heart rate and blood pressure, fatiguing the cardiovascular system.
- Carbon monoxide replaces some of the oxygen in the blood, again making more work for the heart
CBD and Tobacco
A trial was carried out at University College London, in 2013, to study the effects of CBD on cigarette consumption in 24 smokers. 12 were given CBD to take when they felt the need, while 12 were given a placebo.
While none of those on the placebo treatment had a reduction in cigarette smoking, the average smoker using CBD had a 40% reduction in cigarettes smoked.
The researchers suggest that this data, along with many other preclinical trials already done, shows that CBD may have an important role in helping people to quit smoking.
CBD and Me
As well as today being World No Tobacco Day, it’s also the 90th day since I, personally, gave up smoking! As well as sleeping better, breathing easier, and now being able to run regularly, I have saved a ridiculous amount of money, and not smoked almost 1,800 cigarettes. The advantages are endless.
Arguably, I may not have succeeded without CBD. I had attempted to quit 10 times in the past, and never lasted more than a couple of weeks. I tried patches numerous times, as well as cold turkey.
In fact, ‘Day 1’ of my current quit happened directly after I had been off smoking for eight days. A chance encounter with a bearded bicycle mechanic found me and my partner in a cosy, if very smoky, flamenco and poetry bar in Seville, Spain (where we lived at the time). As the poetry recital progressed and the smoke continued to fill the room, it wasn’t long until we both had cigarettes in our hands. Thus ended attempt 10.5.
The next morning, my roommate suggested I try some of his CBD-infused butter. I had serious pain issues with a new wisdom tooth – leaving me barely able to think or get out of bed, as well as serious cravings for tobacco. I put a small amount on the tooth area and under my tongue and waited.
An hour later, both pain and cravings had subsided a little, so I made a sandwich with some Spanish jamon, tomatoes, and far too much CBD butter. The rest of the day was a breeze, with barely any tooth pain, and hardly any cravings.
For the next two weeks – the hardest part of quitting – I sporadically used the CBD butter whenever I had a bad craving. I have not smoked since, and know I never will.
World No Tobacco Day 2018: Tobacco breaks hearts – choose health, not tobacco. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018 (WHO/NMH/PND/18.4). Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.