Study: Cannabis Compound Reduces Cigarette Consumption In Tobacco Smokers

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 3, 2013

    The inhalation of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) significantly mitigates tobacco smokers’ desire for cigarettes, according to clinical trial data published online in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

    Investigators at University College London conducted a double blind pilot study to assess the impact of the ad-hoc consumption of organic CBD versus placebo in 24 tobacco-smoking subjects seeking to quit their habit. Participants were randomized to receive an inhaler containing CBD (n=12) or placebo (n=12) for one week. Trial investigators instructed subjects to use the inhaler when they felt the urge to smoke.

    Researchers reported: “Over the treatment week, placebo treated smokers showed no differences in number of cigarettes smoked. In contrast, those treated with CBD significantly reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by [the equivalent of] 40 percent during treatment.” Moreover, participants who used CBD did not report experiencing increased cravings for nicotine during the study’s duration.

    Investigators concluded, “This is the first study, as far as we are aware, to demonstrate the impact of CBD on cigarette smoking. … These preliminary data, combined with the strong preclinical rationale for use of this compound, suggest CBD to be a potential treatment for nicotine addiction that warrants further exploration.”

    Previously published clinical trials on CBD have found cannabidiol to be “safe and well tolerated” in healthy volunteers.

    Separate investigations of CBD have documented the cannabinoid to possess a variety of therapeutic properties, including anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-epileptic, anti-cancer, and bone-stimulating properties.

    Full text of the study, “Cannabidiol reduces cigarette consumption in tobacco smokers: Preliminary findings,” appears online in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

    24 responses to “Study: Cannabis Compound Reduces Cigarette Consumption In Tobacco Smokers”

    1. Chris in WI says:

      Nah… They were stoned and just forgot to smoke, I used to do it when I smoked cigs. Would take one out and 45 mins later realize I never lit it!

      [Paul Armentano responds: These subjects were not high. CBD is not psychoactive.]

    2. Patricia says:

      I’ve tried high CBD pot and found it makes me depressed the next day. How does CBD interact with PTSD? I would guess not at all or not well.

    3. Voice of the Resistance says:

      This is very interesting; I used to have a friend a non-smoker. He always said he loved the way pot expanded his lungs, you probably haven’t nosed he told me once, because you smoke cigarettes. Well I have,and isn’t it true that there is an inhaler on the market made with thc used to treat asthma?

    4. Voice of the Resistance says:

      sorry! haven’t noticed.

    5. Marijuana says:

      I can also attest that marijuana lessened my desire to smoke tobacco and made me not like it as much. It started tasting nasty after a while when I got used to good tasting herb.

      Also, I think there should be studies done about hash oil’s positive effects on the lungs. When I got into dabbing and starting dabbing every day, while still smoking cigarettes and herb, it made me spit out a lot of the tar out of my lungs and cleaned them out. While my experience isn’t “scientific”, it would be nice for science to follow up on the effects of vaporizing cannabis oils because I sincerely believe that high quality hash oil is good for the lungs.

    6. Dan W says:

      Rebuttal of the “CBD is not psychoactive”… here’s Wiki’s first paragraph:
      “Compared with THC, cannabidiol is psychoactive, and is considered to have a wider scope of medical applications than THC, including to epilepsy, multiple sclerosis spasms, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, nausea, convulsion and inflammation, as well as inhibiting cancer cell growth. CBD may decrease the rate of THC clearance from the body, perhaps by interfering with the metabolism of THC in the liver. Cannabidiol has displayed sedative effects in animal tests. Other research indicates that CBD increases alertness. CBD has been shown to reduce growth of aggressive human breast cancer cells in vitro, and to reduce their invasiveness.”

      Ok, so if CBD has previously been proven to help with anxiety disorders(for which I use CBD strains) then yes, it will decrease some patients desire for a cigarette. Many people smoke cigarettes to get away from undesirable people.

      I applaud the efforts, but with a case study of 24 people, it’s hardly conclusive evidence. Also, since most countries still consider cannabinoids a controlled substance, this would not be allowed. I don’t know what doses were used, but the “high” was probably comparable to how the body reacted to a nicotine fix, and went unnoticed or undocumented.

      [Paul Armentano responds: Again, CBD is not considered to be psychoactive. From the first paragraph of said study: “Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. CBD has a complex action at a number of receptors including an- tagonistic action at the cannabinoid 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) receptors and inhibition of the uptake and enzymatic hydrolysis of the endoge- nous cannabinoid ligand, anandamide. CBD has recently attracted inter- est for its anxiolytic (Crippa et al., 2011) and antipsychotic (Leweke et al., 2012) properties. The endocannabinoid system is now thought to be intrinsic to reward and reinforcement (Serrano & Parsons, 2011) and several lines of evidence suggest that CBD may also be a useful treatment in nicotine dependence.”

      I applaud the efforts, but with a case study of 24 people, it’s hardly conclusive evidence.

      Nobody said that it was. In fact, the very title of the study states that the findings are ‘preliminary’: “Cannabidiol reduces cigarette consumption in tobacco smokers: Preliminary findings”

    7. Gweedo says:

      Hasn’t it been documented before that cannabis can help smokers to quit? I’m certain that it has been shown to help people addicted to pain pills and opiates to quit that habit.

    8. W says:

      Then how do you account for how hashish is smoked in Morrocco? In Morocco looose tobacco is mixed with hashishish that is melted or shaved off from a block of hash. A hollow carbord filrt is put into the end of the paper behind the tobacco-hash mixture and the joint is rolled up. The joint is lit and people put the filrter in their habds as thry cup the hand like a box. The mixtrure is then deeply inhaled and held. Mind you the hash potency is about 20% thc, not the huge 70% thc found in more modern concentrates. The cannabis is always smoked as mixed tobbacco and hash. Often after the joint is done people will light up a cigarette. How do you account for this if morroccan cannabis contains both thc and cbd?

      [Paul Armentano responds: This was controlled clinical trial involving CBD or placebo. Subjects were not smoking cannabis or imbibing THC. The majority of cannabis strains have negligible percentages of CBD (See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3118261/) so arguably any documented effect of CBD in this preliminary trial would arguably not be applicable, or at least not as applicable, to subjects consuming the overwhelming majority of strains of cannabis or hashish.]

    9. cotyb says:

      FINALLY! I have been sayin this for years! i never want to smoke a cig after a good bowl 🙂 could have saved them all the research i figured it out when i first smoked now i use cannabis to keep from smoking…. thc is a wonderful gift

    10. Galileo Galilei says:

      As I understand it, smoking both tobacco and marijuana increases your chances of developing lung cancer. Apparently the carcinogenic properties of tobacco overwhelm the anti-tumor properties of marijuana.

      Vaporize, vaporize, vaporize.