Study: Cannabis Compound Reduces Cigarette Consumption In Tobacco Smokers

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 thoughts

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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.

  5. 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”

  6. 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.

  7. 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: 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.]

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. I can personally vouch for this study. Once I figured out the correct dose I needed to be on, to relieve my bipolar symptoms, I noticed I started naturally disliking everything about cigarettes. They started tasting absolutely disgusting, they started making me sick & I overall just started not liking it.

    @Galileo Galilei: There’s credible research that concludes cannabis doesn’t cause lung cancer, even though cannabis has four times the carcinogens as cigarettes.

    Dr. Donald Tashkin pulmonary specialist and Federal Government researcher from UCLA Geffen School of Medicine finds that marijuana does not cause lung cancer in his study on the effects of cannabis and the lungs.

  11. Iknow, Joe, but apparently this is not enough protection if you smoke tobacco, too. I’m constrainded by my ethics to make this known.

    I’m 63 and can still run windsprints on the track. I wonder if Bill Bennett can say the same.

  12. @ Dan W:

    Your first FLAW in your statement was citing ANYTHING written on Wikipedia! It is not a TRUE encyclopedia, and it has been proven to CONSTANTLY state incorrect information. For example, I PERSONALLY can go to ANY Wikipedia page and “add” ANYTHING i want (Fact OR Fiction). I can literally go onto George Washington’s page and “edit” stating he was openly gay (or something/anything like that).

  13. Patricia, I have PTSD as well resulting from my service in the Army as a Paratrooper(Iraq Vet)and I love indica, don’t care for sativa, and do not like marinol. CBD is the component that I think I don’t care much for either, It also makes me depressed the next day as well, hopefully we will one day find the answer, it is very interesting

  14. Hi Matt, not really. If you have nothing to reference your false additions into Wikipedia will be erased. So, sure there is incorrect information added by screwballs, but it is also constantly being removed by folks that do know what they are talking about.

    This is why Wikipedia has a list of their source material–if you actually want to know about the subject you read those books or articles.

  15. Hats off to all who work towards finding a cure for cigarette smokers i wish i never started and im glad it was weed to provide it now what can all the nay sayers about weed have to say they need to take it off that schedule 1 bull s#$# i say out with the old and in with the new weed is not bad … get the point

  16. Wow. First of all, Genesis 1:11&29. Read it. Love it. Obey it. If science is a must for people to believe, obtain your information from OBJECTIVE sources. Pharmaceutical companies stand to lose way too much if marijuana is legalized. They will conduct their studies based on their profits. They make no money if you are not sick!! Listen to those who seek truth, not money. Studies have revealed that cannibis is CURING CANCER!! It does not cause cancer. Please, people. Stop being so naive. You have been lied to for far too long. Does anyone know why marijuana and hemp were outlawed in the first place? I do, and it pisses me off. Do your own research. Start with the Bible.

  17. As for the effects of marijuana use vs cigarettes…

    The CBD in this case was extracted and dispensed in an inhaler, so I can’t compare my situation. But I smoke both, and the first thing I want after a joint is a cigarette. I have read studies that indicate that regular marijuana smokers have better lung function than non-smokers. This is because while marijuana causes no lung damage, the smoking itself (toking, holding) is a lung exercise.

    God put this here for us. What man shall stand greater than God and deny the gifts He has given to us? (Here’s a hint: the greedy one).

  18. Previous studies have indicated similar findings involving the addictive centers of the brain relating to cocaine and alcohol being alleviated with marijuana use. Here is to hoping there is relief in there as well for the explosively expanding opiate addiction rates. Lastly, huge fan of Mr. Paul Armentano, thank you.

  19. Willie Nelson was on NPR a few weeks ago telling how he was smoking weed, cigarettes, and drinkin too much wiskey when he was young, so something had to give. He stuck to smoking weed and never smoked another cigarette again.
    I smoked for a year when I was 17. It started with this girl I liked who smoked a pack a day. I did not like what it was doing to my lungs and stomach. I was 18 when I smoked my first joint. Without even trying, I stopped smoking cigarrettes, and have never craved one to this day, even though I only smoked cannabis about once a season, going through months or years without even smoking weed again.
    There’s your case study.

  20. @Mandy,
    If you think Genesis is the spiritual source for cannabis in the bible, have you ever wondered what was in the holy anointing oil that a priest places on the sick? The original recipe goes back to Exodus ordained by Moses himself, written in the old testament, and contained cannabis as an essential ingredient. Jesus later used the holy anointing oil on the apostles and sent them to use it on the sick. Get a load of this:

    A Biblical Etymology of Cannabis,
    A study by Julian Olinick
    Exodus 30:23 “Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure MYRRH five hundred shekels, and of sweet CINNAMON half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet CALAMUS two hundred and fifty shekels,(about 9 pounds) 24 And of CASSIA five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of OIL OLIVE an hin: 25 (Between 4 and 6 liters) And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary : it shall be an holy anointing oil.”
    The original Hebrew for calamus, is Kaneh-bosem or Qaneh (Kaw-naw) Bosem.  Some translations have this as “fragrant cane” or “aromatic cane.”  Some researchers have argued that this is actually  Sweet Cane or Sugar Cane, but who would truly place sugar cane all over their bodies mixed with a “hin” or about 4-6 liters of olive oil? In a place in the desert where water was so scarce that part of the ritual described in Exodus is in washing only the hands and feet after preparing the holy altar. I imagine being covered in sugar cane from head to toe would be inviting to desert ants and wasps. This erroneous translations derived from the Greek-to English version of the bible where letters like “k” and “l” get confused.
    In the more direct Aramaic to English translation of the bible we receive the translation of the word “calamus.” If “calamus” is not an error of translation to mean “kaneh-bos” (cannabis), then the bible is telling us the literal latin translation of “calamus” wich is a small, yellow, asian flower that when metabolilzed through the liver produces the hallucinogen trimethoxyamphetamine or “ecstacy.” Being that cannabis was easier to grow and harvest and less psychoactive during the times of Jesus, and perhaps even less in the times of Moses, and because kaneh-bos was used so frequently for holy anointing, one can use deductive reasoning from agricultural and chronological context that the ingredient of kaneh-bos that is lost in translation is in fact what we know today as cannibis.
    All the other 3 of 4 ingredients of the holy anointing oil kaneh-bos(myrrh, cinammon and cassia) translate the same to English from Aramaic (the original language of Jesus)or from the Greek version that translates from Hebrew.
    In 1936, Sara Benetowa, later Known as Sula Benet, an etymologist from the Institute of Anthropological Sciences, in Warsaw wrote a treatise, “Tracing One Word Through Different Languages.” This was a study on the word Cannabis, based on a study of the oldest Hebrew texts. Although the word cannabis was thought to be of Scythian origin, Benet’s research showed it had an earlier root in the Semitic Languages such as Hebrew. Benet demonstrated that the ancient Hebrew word for Cannabis is Kaneh -Bosem.
    Prohibition is predicted in the Bible: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter matters times, some shall… speak LIES and HYPOCRISY… commanding to abstain from meats.” –(“meats”: meaning “every herb bearing seed”-Genesis1:29-31) –“which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth (Paul:1, Timothy 4:1-3)
    “Behold, I have given you every herb-bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth…. to you it will be for meat.”…. And God saw what he had made, and, behold, it was very good. (Genesis1:29-31)
    Even the word “Christ’ is Greek derived from the Hebrew word Messiah, which translated to English means “anointed one.” The anointing oil Kaneh-Bosem, as discussed earlier, contained 9 pounds of cannabis flowers, and 1 hind, (about 6.5 liters) of olive oil as well as other herbs and spices. (Exodus 30:22-23)
    “The twelve apostles are sent out among their fellow men casting out demons and anointing the sick with the oil.” (Mark 6:13)
    In Conclusion, even the incarceration of people who use the holy ingredient of cannabis is condemned by the Bible:
    “Lord when did we see the sick or in prison and came unto thee? “And the King will answer and say unto them, “Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it unto one or of the least of these my brethren, ye have done to me.” (Mathew 25:39-40)
    God Bless Cannabis.

    References and works cited:
    1. Aramaic translation to Englilsh of the Old testament of the Bible.
    2. Hebrew to Greek to English translations of the Old Testament of the Bible.
    3. 2003 issue of “High Times Magazine.”
    4. “Tracing One Word Through Different Languages,” 1936, Sarah Benetowa

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