Updated: Aug 3, 2019
Tobacco in figures
According to a 2014 report from the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful to health and at least 69 of them are known to cause cancer. According to this same report, among the spectrum of diseases that smoking can cause are the following medical problems: shortness of breath, exacerbated asthma, respiratory infections, cancer (larynx, oropharynx, esophagus, trachea, bronchi, lung, acute myeloid leukemia, stomach, pancreas, kidney, urethra, colon, cervix and bladder), coronary heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoporosis, blindness, cataracts, periodontitis, aortic aneurysm, atherosclerotic peripheral vascular disease, fractures of hip, infertility and impotence.
Nicotine addiction or smoking habit?
Although it seems that the accepted theory about drug addiction is that it is a chronic and recurrent disease of the brain, characterized by the compulsive desire to seek and use drugs, producing a deterioration in the control over their consumption despite of the negative consequences it produces on the individual and those around him, the truth is that this view of addiction as a brain disease is increasingly questioned by many experts. In fact, at least two studies have found that the percentage of people recovering from their addiction throughout life exceeds, in almost all cases, 80%. From the results of these studies, it is also found that tobacco addiction has the lowest dropout rates.
The problem of drug addiction in general, and of tobacco addiction in particular, is, attributing the problem to a disease of the brain caused by a pharmacological agent, when at the base of all the addictive behaviors what is established is a habit. A habit that is established, not so much by the effects of the substance itself, but by the behaviors that are carried out around its search and consumption. And habits, because they are behaviors. In the specific case of nicotine, in fact, in animal models it is very difficult to train them to become addicted to the substance. And tobacco cessation rates by pharmacological means (including patches, gum or any other nicotine-based pharmaceutical preparation), as we have seen above, are desolately low.
Then, of all the reasons why tobacco is addictive for so many people, the fact that it carries nicotine is probably the weakest. It is precisely the fact that it is a habit, which is usually established for a long time, lasting in most cases for years, so it is so difficult to correct. Human beings establish our daily behavior through habits and the more established a habit is, the more difficult it is to change. And all the more so as habit, as in the case of tobacco, is so versatile for an individual who serves him both when he is in a lively conversation, when he is in a depressed state, or waiting for the bus, and, In short, generalized to almost every aspect of his life, except sleep. This versatility and generalization makes the habit of smoking so special in the sense of difficult to modify.
Vaping cannabis as an alternative to smoking tobacco
As cannabis users become aware of the health hazards of smoking, some of them try to move from the smoked (where combustion is generated) to the vaporized (where not) way. In fact, as is known, the risks of smoking derive precisely from the combustion of what is smoked, not from the products contained in what is smoked. Even so, if surveys based on the preferred routes of cannabis use are consulted, the vast majority (more than 90%) of users continue to use the smoked route, although at the same time they consider vaporization the most Effective harm reduction.
Even in states such as California, which is famous for its citizens' special health care, the preferred way to consume cannabis in medical marijuana dispensaries is via smoked (used by 86.1% of respondents) above vaporized (used by 21.8%). It is possible that these results are partly biased because many of the interviewees were previously tobacco users, and then, when they start using cannabis, they also smoke it. It is also known that many consumers of smoked cannabis manage to stop smoking not only "joints" but also tobacco when they start to vaporize cannabis. In a recent letter published in the journal Addiction, Hindocha and collaborators show a series of examples according to which the "vaping" of cannabis is accompanied by a reduction in tobacco consumption. According to these researchers: "there could be reasons to be optimistic about the potential of vaping. If vaping can reduce the co-administration of cannabis and tobacco, the result could be a reduction in tobacco consumption/dependence among cannabis users and a resulting reduction in cannabis-related harm.
Indeed, if in the future cannabis vaping becomes a common practice, the next generation of cannabis users may never be exposed to nicotine or tobacco beforehand. "
Conclusions on CBD in the treatment of smoking
CBD can reduce levels of anxiety, therefore lowers the need to smoke, since smoking is a habit born due to the stimulus in the environment around the smoker, such as stress.
By interacting with the receptors involved in regulating our mood (such as the Serotonin and Adenosine receptors), CBD can alleviate stress, calm the mind, and improve cognitive functions. These three things combined, greatly contribute to how your mind perceives its current situation and can have a significant impact on your mood.
Findings from a 2018 study revealed that CBD can actually help combat addiction by preventing relapses. In the study, researchers found that after administering CBD once a day for seven days, patients no longer displayed “addictive behaviors” and it deterred the patient from relapsing for five months.
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